Sailor to Spend 12th Christmas Behind Bars

What's the Matter with California,

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Ron Brown

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© Jack Cashill - November 29, 2007

Still a little drunk and almost assuredly drugged, Steven Nary regained his senses as Juan Pifarre climbed on his back and attempted to rape him.

“Please, stop,” the lanky, 18 year-old sailor begged as he struggled through a paralyzing stupor. The 53 year-old Pifarre would not.

Finally, in desperation, Nary grabbed a glass mug by Pifarre’s bedside and smacked the chunky, coked-up Pifarre in the head with it. Pifarre fought back.

When the young sailor finally subdued him, he grabbed his clothes and fled back through the deserted streets to his ship. That was nearly twelve years ago, and the last time Steven Nary would negotiate the world as a free man.

I recount Steven’s incredible story in my book, What’s The Matter With California, and his was the review I was most concerned about. Getting the book to him was not easy in the first place.

I had to send the book to the Catholic chaplain at the ironically named Pleasant Valley State Prison where Steven now resides. The chaplain, in turn, had to rip the covers off lest some contraband be smuggled within them.

“You did a great job in telling what happened to me,” Steven wrote in his customary longhand last week, much to my relief.

“Oh,” he added, “it was hard reading about me, but for some reason it is all the good things that people say that bring me to tears.”

Steven made an additional point. “Thank you,” he wrote, “for the extra insight into the political atmosphere in the city at that time.”

As Steven learned for the first time, the political stars were not in alignment for him that early March 1996 morning. Had he been in any other city at any other time and been assaulted by any other man he would not likely have been tried for anything let alone the preposterous charge of second-degree murder.

But this was San Francisco in a Clinton re-election year. After Steven reported what happened to a Navy chaplain, the politically sensitive Navy washed its hands of the young sailor in unseemly and likely illegal haste.

As to Pifarre, not only was he gay in America’s gayest city, but he was also among the most influential movers and shakers in the Hispanic community. As publisher of Horizontes, a Spanish language paper, he had real presence in the Latino community and serious pull at City Hall.

That Pifarre had secured his residency through a fraudulent marriage only burnished his star in this would-be sanctuary city for illegal immigrants. That he had several priors for sexual assault and exposure, a history of violent sexual encounters, and a cocaine jones seemed to many altogether normative.

So blind has the left become in a people’s republic like San Francisco, that they fail to see the obvious. A young sailor in the “homophobic” military of 1996 had no more chance for justice in San Francisco than the Scottsboro boys did in 1930’s Alabama.

Less actually. The U.S. Supreme court intervened on the Scottsboro boys’ behalf, freeing several. Finally even the Alabama governor commuted the death sentence of another. But to date, no official in this hyper-sensitive city or state has bothered himself on Steven’s behalf.

Steven Nary is no Leonard Peltier or Mumia Abu Jamal, both radical, cold-blooded killers who have become darlings of the left by sticking to the classic lie, “Some other dude did it.”

He is not looking for excuses. Not long after being handed over to the San Francisco authorities, Steven had a necessary awakening.

“I felt my life was over, nonexistent,” he tells me of that period. “I was a 18-year-old kid who was scared, alone, and hopeless. I had no contact with my parents or anyone else. The military at the time just abandoned me.”

Steven recalls his constant struggle to check his tears lest the hard cases in the jail sense a weakness. One morning, which started as grim as any other, several nuns walked by his cell and others asking if anyone wanted to attend church services.

Although not Catholic or particularly religious, Steven “couldn’t resist their precious, happily glowing nature.” He attended the service, which he found to be “beautiful.”

At this service, he learned that these were Sisters of Charity, Mother Teresa’s group, working out of San Francisco. Impressed, Steven started going every Saturday. To this day, he credits those sisters not only with his newly found faith but also with his sanity.

In his conversion to Catholicism he feels the need to accept responsibility for everything he has done, including the death of Pifarre, even if unintentional.

Besides, he knows that if he goes into his first parole hearing a few years hence playing innocent victim, even if true, “This system will never let me out.”

Now, finally, as he faces his twelfth Christmas in prison the world is beginning to pay just a little bit of attention. For those readers interested in sharing their Christmas wishes with Steven, please check my website at (see below) to learn how.

  • Please send letters, not cards, in regulation envelopes to:

    Steven Nary P-61614
    P.V.S.P. BFB3-132 L
    PO Box 8502
    Coalinga, CA 93210

  • Paperback books can be sent to:

    Brian Phillips
    229 W. Merced St.
    Avenal, CA 93204

    Please specify that they are intended for Steven.

Cashill’s newest book, What’s the Matter with California, is available in bookstores - or you can order your autographed copy online .

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