From the January 2009 Idaho Observer:

Never underestimate the petty wrath of a ____ scorned

On April 27, 2006, at 1:45 PM a document was confiscated from my cell by a Freemasonic officer of the FBOP (Federal Bureau of Prisons). This document was a speech that I had written for "Communications 1033—Public Speaking," a college class I was taking. I was assigned to give an informative speech. I chose to inform my class about the secret society, Freemasonry.

Throughout the previous week I reviewed the material with my instructor. After he learned the nature of my speech, he inquired about my interest and knowledge of the subject, to which I disclosed that I have spoken to several members of the organization who are officers here at the prison and who have openly discussed certain aspects of the Masonic Order and its religion.

My instructor recommended that if I were to mention these officers in my speech the student prisoners could better relate with the speech, which would improve my grade. I conceded and incorporated some of those individuals into my speech.

After my speech was confiscated, I approached the officer and solemnly asked for it back. He told me he would not return it and directed me to speak to the lieutenants.

Later that evening, I approached two lieutenants, one of whom is a Freemason and asked where I could retrieve my class assignment. Both claimed to know nothing about it, followed with smirkish grins.

The following morning I entered the lieutenants’ office and asked other lieutenants to hand over my speech, to no avail. An hour later, I successfully delivered the speech extemporaneously, being that I was unable to rehearse without my notecards, which were with the speech. Attending the speech were my instructor, eight other students and 12 or so guests. I received excellent critiques along with animated questions and feedback. I earned an "A."

At lunch time, I approached the warden in the dining hall concerning the illegal confiscation of my speech. He directed me to one of his assistant wardens who walked me to the captain. As soon as we approached the captain, the assistant warden walked away and the captain went to the phone and made a call. As soon as he ended his conversation, he became enraged and loudly scolded me in the center of the dining hall as he advanced toward the warden. They briefly exchanged words and the warden told the captain to place me in the special housing unit (SHU), another term for solitary confinement, or "the hole."

That night, as I sat in the SHU, the lieutenant (who was also a Mason) decided to stop in and pay me a visit. He approached my cell and gave me a malevolent smirk while nodding his head, as if to indicate that he was conceiving thoughts to retaliate against me.

Later I received an incident report for two violations of conduct; one for ‘insolence" and the other for "jeopardizing the security of the institution."

I sat there for another three days until the Unit Disciplinary Committee confronted me. They recommended some sanctions which included the loss of goodtime, phone and commissary, as well as additional "seg" time, which would result in the loss of my job.

I sat in the hole for 29 days until I was finally called to see the disciplinary hearing officer. A letter was sent by my instructor stating that he was the one responsible for asking me to deliver the Freemasonry speech with the addition of mentioning those officers as members. However, the DHO still held me ultimately responsible and imposed the recommended sanctions on me.

After my release from the SHU, a lieutenant sat me in his office and revealed to me that several officers, including the captain, were highly upset about my release from the SHU and I needed to watch my back, stay under the radar and avoid the captain at all costs.

Approximately two months had passed and I began to be harassed by various officers. Everything from my cell, up to my mail, was scrutinized. Plus my property was withheld for an entire month after I was released from the SHU.

The day after my property was returned, a lieutenant searched my cell and left it in disarray with my locker open and my legal files and research material exposed and deliberately disarranged. Some of my personal property was also confiscated by him.

Several weeks later, the unit manager demanded I remove all of my religious material from my shelf, including my King James Bible, and place them in my locker or in a box where they couldn’t be seen.

Then the next week, the unit officer searched my cell. He confiscated some food items assigned to me through the religious dietary program and wrote me up an incident report of "possession of anything unauthorized." I asked him why he did that, and he said, "I received a call and was directed to do it. Obviously someone up there [in the administrative office] doesn’t like you."

Two days later, I was stopped by another assistant warden who began to harass me over my religious attire. At that point, I was forced to remove my attire until I protested to the chaplain and resolved the issue.

On my way back to the unit, I observed the Masonic lieutenant eye-balling me across the compound with his infamous devious smirk. As I approached my unit, I heard him directing the unit officer on the radio to search me. The officer stopped me and patted me down, aggressively.

Many other incidents have occurred that are too numerous for me to elaborate on within the parameters of this letter. But I will tell you that this retaliation by the Masonic FBOP staff and their cohorts have caused me a lot of duress and grief. At times it becomes so overwhelmingly stressful that I have become susceptible to panic attacks, severe paranoia, and insomnia, among other things. After so many trips to the hole and unwarranted strip searches, I filed grievances with the FBOP and have brought a civil suit against the Masonic antagonists who instigated all this ill will against me.

Chad Bouman

Oxford, Wisconsin