Hi Reddit, Jackee Taylor here, and I'm here today to talk about my series Relative Unknown, and my strange, twisted life living in the WITSEC (aka the Witness Protection Program). Over the last 10 years, I've been on a mission to bring awareness to the challenges of the program and help other protected witnesses who are struggling.

Here is my proof

https://imgur.com/qIOd6z6

Here is a link to the series

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/relative-unknown/id1526581627

Comments: 114 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

ModsAreHallMonitors147 karma

Perhaps I am misunderstanding WITSEC, but aren't saying you're in it, posting your dad's name, posting a photo of yourself and giving out your name kinda counter-productive to ... like ... Ohhh? The point of the program?

jackeewitness131 karma

I was put in the program as a child when my father became a witness. I am what is called a breached member of WITSEC, and I have breached my security because I was having so many problems with obtaining identity forms - my passport.. getting health insurance etc. Did I sign any papers when I was 7 years old? No, so they still have to help me, but I have breached my security because when I went to the press in 2010 because they weren't responding to my urgent needs.

vanyali104 karma

How in the world can the government run a witness protection program and not have a system for giving people in the program identity documents? That blows my mind.

jackeewitness148 karma

My point exactly. That's why I am so vocal on this matter. I remember when I first visited my father he still had a 20 year old driver's license that gave the cashier pause when he tried to pay with a check. It's not what you see in the movies. The families don't get real support and the documents we get don't hold up under scrutiny. I had to get help every time I tried to register for school etc. That's why I came forward. When my kids couldn't get health insurance because I didn't have a proper birth certificate I couldn't take it anymore.

vanyali34 karma

That is truly awful. I had no idea.

jackeewitness81 karma

This is the reason that I came forward. People get their information from goodfellas - or my Blue Heaven - and it ain't goodfellas with a suburban house and free newspaper delivery. We got dumped in a crappy motel for 2 months and that was it.

zigwhenzag3 karma

what about the fact that unless you out yourself the whole premise of witness protection hasn't resulted in a death of one of the people in witness protection from the folks that wish them ill will, not every county clerk can know who you are and be like OOOH your in witness protection i see that in your file.

jackeewitness20 karma

The program is complicated. While it has been useful at times in getting compromising information on some people, no one was convicted because of my father’s information or testimony. Still, I am not attacking the entire system. Instead I am pointing out that people like myself, who were children at the time of their placement into the program are essentially being punished for the crimes of their parents. Further, if there were any interest in protecting the children of these known criminals, more precautions would be taken to make sure they were taken care of. A big part of the problem is that the program has no oversight, which also means that those who are in it have no recourse to make complaints or bring attention to the problems. Further, if the program had been able to provide credible indemnification I would not have had a problem getting a marriage certificate. It’s not that they have to look at the file and see that it says witsec, but instead people in the program need to be given useable paperwork.

jmp118-98 karma

You sound like a liability and a toll on taxpayers

jackeewitness46 karma

I'm definitely not a toll on tax payers, as I receive no funds from the government. However, I agree that the program is highly problematic largely because it is so secretive, which means that it has no oversight. I risked coming forward because I too think it needs to be reformed.

dropadimeongrime5 karma

Came here to ask this

jackeewitness5 karma

happy to answer anything else.

cwaddingham24 karma

Do you by chance have a favorite first-born child?

jackeewitness16 karma

CJ Waddingham

hashtaghypebeast21 karma

What are the main changes to WitSec that you would like to see implemented?

jackeewitness79 karma

My main concern is children who were put into WITSEC. I want to see that they all have a handler specifically assigned to them that will carry trough after they are 18- to make sure that all of their Identification, and proper health care, not just physical but mental health care as well- is in place.

As far as I know there has been no Congressional oversight of the program since 1996. I would love to testify in front of Congress just like my father did.

sydneyy15517 karma

Are the caseworkers typically referred to as “handlers”? Honestly the witsec just sounds like another corrupt government program imo.

jackeewitness23 karma

Yes, the caseworkers handle the cases. A handler is supposed to be assigned to each case. My mother had one assigned to her. I never did. When I was 18 or. 19, I stormed the federal building and demanded answers because my mother wasn't talking to me. I got yelled at by the Marshalls. They took my name and number but never called me. So I did it again a few years later when I got denied a marriage license in my county, so I had to go to the county over. The lady that denied it told me to go the next county over.

Yeah, I think it's corrupted by secrecy. There is no oversight orver the marshalls or the handlers. That's what I'm fighting to get accountability for. Everyone needs a boss, especially when it has to do with so many lives and dangerous criminals..... who get to keep custody of their vulnerable offspring that they put in danger in the first place.

Meichrob713 karma

I’ve always wondered how you’d deal with a seemingly dangerous secret when developing new relationships with people.

I have no idea how much you’d keep this from those you’re close to but I at least assume it’s something you’re not gonna being up when first meeting someone, but it might be something you’d eventually reveal to someone you completely trust.

With platonic relationships I’d imagine it’s not a huge issue, your friend having secrets isn’t the end of the world if it’s not something that impacts you, but In a more intimate or romantic relationship, keeping huge secrets of any kind is often at the very least straining.

So I guess all that is to just ask, how do you deal with this when you’re getting to know someone? Is it something that depends based on the person, is it something you never actually bring up, or is it actually just not a big deal?

jackeewitness25 karma

Basically I like to tell people right from the get go- but it does matter what the circumstances are. Are they close friends? If i'm developing a relationship it's something that is talked about right away. I lead a crazy life, it's something I deal with everyday. I don't want to keep secrets.

When I was younger no one believed me- so that was hard. But as an adult I try to be as open and honest about my crazy life as possible. I tell people right away because I have a lot of stuff going on and it's too much to hide.

JLK1007 karma

that's an aspect of the program I never considered until listening to the podcast.

jackeewitness50 karma

You are always taught as a kid not to lie. At 7 years old I was told to write my new name 1000 times because if I slipped up and told the truth about who I was I might get my whole family killed. That was their idea of counseling at the time. Just imagine how traumatizing that was.

Sinisterotic12 karma

Anywhere we will be able to see some of the home video clips featured in the podcast audio?

Such an amazing story by the way!

jackeewitness22 karma

We have been working on a documentary about my story for 7 years. There are a bunch of clips of those pieces on the relative unknown website-

https://shows.cadence13.com/podcast/relative-unknown

Sinisterotic5 karma

Can’t wait to see the documentary! Any ideas of a release date?

jackeewitness13 karma

It still has a ways to go as it will follow my continued advocacy for others in the program. I'm hoping to testify to Congress just like my Dad. I am talking to a lot of other people who were put in the program as kids and want to find a way to get us all more support and help.

jackeewitness11 karma

I'll be here a little bit longer. If you have other questions keep posting them and I will come back to answer.

jackeewitness10 karma

Hi everyone - Jackee here I'm ready to take your questions

YouHadMeAtDucks10 karma

How are you doing now? Your life... You were failed on so many levels. I'm so sorry for it. But I just want to know how you personally are doing now. Is doing this podcast cathartic?

jackeewitness15 karma

It has been cathartic. It is always very difficult to face the most painful aspects of your life head on but doing this podcast has forced me to do just that. It has been both powerful and revealing. I feel like I'm doing the best in my life that I have ever done. It was very healing. I had to figure out how am I going to do this. I have relied on mind altering substances a lot in my life- drinking etc. After doing a narration, which brought up a lot emotinos, I'd really want a drink to numb that, but I knew it wasn't the right thing- so I didn't - and I'm not doing that at all anymore. I think that going through this helped to process and go through the trauma of growing up how I did, and that helped me to let go of a lot of pain, and find a lot of forgiveness- not just my father- but also for myself. Shame and rage can be very enervating- it can make you sick and letting go of that has been healing. I've heard from so many people, especially women, that the podcast helped them to find a way to face their own demons and that makes me feel really great.

Pmason_1018 karma

Do your kids know about Butch? Do they ever ask? What do you tell them?

jackeewitness13 karma

When my kids were younger I didn't tell them about Butch. Now that they are older I answer questions. They know something terrible happened but they don't know the whole story. My oldest son Connor helped record my narration for the podcast so he knows a lot. My younger ones haven't really asked.

Atwyay7 karma

In another comment asking about funny stories, you mention showing the newspaper article about your dad's trial to people. When you say you showed it to people, what type of people exactly? I'm guessing you weren't just showing all your friends and saying "hey, I'm in witness protection!"

Thanks for the AMA, lot of facets I'd never even considered.

jackeewitness13 karma

Asking a kid to keep this a secret is a lot to ask. It's an incredible amount of pressure- especially for a 7 year old. Later, when it came up in conversation, whether it be friends, therapists, school counselers etc and they didn't believe me at least then I had some proof to show them. But they still didn't believe me for the most part. Even my therapists didn't believe me. Additionally, throughout my life when I had to prove who I was for playing sports, getting into college, etc this article was one of the things that helped me prove it. Its not like I could call the program and ask them to vouch for me each time I wanted to play volleyball.

Lainydawl_746 karma

I know a lot of people who are or were in WITSEC have reached out to you, and you have helped them in their journey as well. Do you find being in WITSEC was a blessing now? And what would you do differently in your journey if you had to do it over again?

jackeewitness16 karma

In a roundabout way it helped define me as a human being and helped me to develop my strengths and taught me how to use my big ass mouth in positive way. I don't think that being in WITSEC was a blessing but I do believe that I have a responsibility to help others. What would I do differently? It's hard to say, I would have gotten my shit together a long time ago, and tried to help my father so that that hadn't happened down in Texas. The murder and suicide rate of those in the program is undocumented and that is something that needs to be looked into. At the end of the day a lot of bad people went into the program, but the children are victims of the process; collateral damage- and I want that addressed. If we all stay hidden, it is never going to get addressed. Right now I'm the only one who can come forward and address these issues for so many others, and they need to be addressed.

Gullible-Contract-385 karma

Love the show! Any funny stories on how you tried to convince your friends you were in WITSEC?

jackeewitness29 karma

It was less funny than aggravating. This was pre-google, and I was not breached- i was hidden so even if there was I couldn't prove it. I didn't have documents myself because I was a kid, so it made me feel a little crazy. I had to try to convince a therapist I wasn't crazy- nothing funny about that as they tried to push more pills down my throat. When I finally found and article in a newspaper about my Dad's trial, which mentioned that his family was in witness protection I felt validated. I printed it out and showed it to people - and many still didn't believe it. It's really really hard to be in the program.

Mobely8 karma

I am confused. The documents witsec gave you were not very good. But it was very hard for you to prove to your therapist. Did you pay everyone in cash? Are you able to buy a car or get a loan? How did you hire the therapist? Cash?

jackeewitness20 karma

I was seven at the time. My mom was a nurse. She had a job, she got paid. They only gave us passports, no birth certificate. With the passport she could get a bank account. This was in 1981. When I became an adult and had to deal with these things I live on a cash only basis for the most part. There were always questions about the SS number I was given- it was a Wisconsin number but I was born in Ohio. That raised flags as far as loans. The SS number was always flagged- which was not something I could control or the program would address. Just within the past year I took control of my SS number and my credit that's attached to it. It's confusing to you- just imagine how confusing it is to me. That's why I want the program to put together a plan that helps the children who were forced into it through no fault of their own.

Mobely3 karma

Thanks for replying. Did they give you an existing ss from someone else or did they make one for you?

jackeewitness7 karma

I'm not sure. I just know it has been compromised repeatedly and it gets flagged when I try to use it occasionally. So I never know what to expect. Imagine sitting in a band trying to apply for a loan and you never knw whats gonna come up.

Prizmasm4 karma

Are you scared about retaliation from gang members after all these years and everything that's happened? Especially in this day and age of technology.

jackeewitness8 karma

No, i have no fear of any retribution from any gang member or MC.

Harlegrenade4 karma

Does your name get legally changed? Also being someone who was in the WPP, especially for 40 years was it a hard adjust to your new name and now that you're out (assuming so, sorry if wrong) have you kept your newer identity or reverted back to your original one?

jackeewitness7 karma

Yes, my name was changed from Jackee Crouch to Jackee Taylor. Still, while it is a legal change, the paperwork is spotty. So they didn’t file a new birth certificate for me- this means that I don’t officially have one- and it’s something you need for so many different circumstances. A passport will work in some cases, but my passport is about to expire- and I can’t trust that the program will help me get a new one. That’s why the program needs a family advocate and each family needs a contact to help get things done. My name is still Jackee Taylor, and I still don’t have the documentation I need to get done the things I need to get done

Harlegrenade2 karma

Thank you for taking the time answering my question. I hope these issues you face go smoothly for you.

jackeewitness4 karma

Thank you. I think that the support from the podcast and the documentary will help. I just want to be an able advocate for people like myself. I don't thin that program is evil- just kind of not great at fixing the problems that it didn't foresee.

jackeewitness2 karma

Thank you. I think that the support from the podcast and the documentary will help. I just want to be an able advocate for people like myself. It is not great at fixing the problems that it didn't foresee.

MrFlashhansen4 karma

I loved the podcast series! Is there anywhere I can read Butch's manifesto?

jackeewitness5 karma

We are working on that, but it will take a little while. follow Relative Unknown on Facebook to keep up with things that are going on.

bulldog52533 karma

So from what I’ve read so far your telling me that WITSEC gives no means of support after the initial move into the program or did they provide anything more than just 2 months rent on a crappy motel?

jackeewitness13 karma

They put us in a motel for a few months. All they did was put the family in the motel - they gave us $1256 a month for a couple of months to cover the hotel and food and transport. As soon as they got them papers and my mom got a job, that was cut off. That's it. We had to find and buy a car- Find and rent our own place. There was no help. After we found a car I remember driving around looking for places. Before that, we were walking around looking for car lots because this was February 1982- on foot in February in Montana looking for a car. On foot, job hunting. So, no, there was not other support.

bulldog52533 karma

That is terrible do you think their problem is a lack of funding?

jackeewitness9 karma

you'd have to ask them. They aren't very transparent so I don't have any answers as to why they don't do more to support the children who were dragged into the program.

jackeewitness3 karma

I'm going to take a break but I'll check back in a bit to answer more questions.

buro20183 karma

Since you have already violated WITSEC; why not leave it, get you real identity back and then get a job under your real identify and live your life? Is there still a threat to your life?

jackeewitness11 karma

That's what I was just thinking about as I was trying to take a nap. My passport is about to expire. I don't even know where to go to get it renewed- Do I go to Social Security Administration- do I ask the program? they hang up on me and get laughed at by them. I'm trying to bridge those gaps for people like me.

If I try to use my old identity I can get charged with fraud. I saw a case about that, where a woman who was a kid and put in the program used her old identity and didn't transfer all of her credit and was charged with fraud. It all gets very complicated because you can only possess one identity at a time. So if you screw that up you're screwed, and there is no one who can really help with this- especially the program because I'm a thorn in their side. They see me as an enemy rather than a victim of the program- or instead of an ally in the future if they could simply collaborate with me.

No, not by the Angels if that's what you mean.

fieldja183 karma

What is your view on the Hells Angels both then and now? Do you still have any fond memories of your “uncles”? (If I remember correctly that’s how you referred to them in the podcast )

jackeewitness11 karma

I have great memories of my childhood and don't really have any bad memories. That was a good part of my life that was really family oriented. My mom made birthday cakes for every member so there often parties that we attended. We all hung out together all the time. It was just the in between part where the government told me that they wanted to kill me that was hard. Without going into many details that could be a spoiler for the podcast I want to say that now I'm closer to some members of the club than I am to members of my own family.

I didn't seen any murders, or witness any violence. I have good memories of being at the club house and feeling like they were my uncles. Now, that I am in contact I have a broader and more complex understanding of the world. So often we want to declare someone evil or BAD, but that can be limiting. I have nothing but good things to say in this moment. They have been very supportive of me, and this work, since I got in touch.

rtsk-tsk2u2 karma

Do you think that eventually your relationships within your immediate family, that went through the whole traumatic experience, as well, but had their own perceptions and experiences, will be healed, particularly your relationship with your mother?

jackeewitness3 karma

We all have had various struggles due to the program. I am very connected to my family in general. I do still have some difficulty with my mom. I know she struggles to take responsibility for how we were affected by it, and I understand that, but it does make it difficult for us to communicate.

zanielk2 karma

Did any of the older members you've gotten in touch with who knew butch understand why he did what he did? I feel like with the whole story they wouldn't have hated him the way they did. Obviously at the time it wouldn't have mattered. But as time went on I feel like it would give him more 'sympathy' from his former brothers.

jackeewitness8 karma

No, absolutely not. I feel like he threw people under the bus that didn't have it coming. Sure, some of the things he said might have been true- or had a ring of truth, but I feel like he tried to convict the people he had a problem with, not ones that were necessarily guilty. Juries saw through that.

But if you ask me the same thing again tomorrow I might give you a different response. The fact is, my dad was super complicated and so are my feeling about him and what he did. He grew up in a profoundly traumatic environment, which doesn't excuse his behavior, but it does explain it a little bit more. My upbringing was pretty traumatic and I'm working to correct for that.

katieknj2 karma

Have you contacted any lawyers to help you sort of the paperwork? I have to imagine someone somewhere deals with this kind of stuff?

jackeewitness1 karma

I have contacted some lawyers yes, but since there is not much experience with people leaving the program it’s not something people specialize in. You also have to consider that I did not do anything to deserve losing my rights. This is why I am pushing to create the position of an advocate for people who were put into the program as children. This is not something that people like myself should have to fight so hard to address.

joffreyjomers2 karma

What episode of the podcast should I listen to? What’s the best one

jackeewitness5 karma

You have to start at number 1 - they all roll together. Any of them will make sense by themselves- but it's structured to build on itself. If I have a favorite though ... ah I don't - it's like choosing a favorite kid.

astondb4gtz1 karma

Hi Jackee - I loved the podcast - such a great multifaceted story and so gripping!

Did you ever have contact with any of the Angels over the years - before you returned Butch’s patches?

jackeewitness7 karma

No, over the years I did not have contact with them. I was terrified because I was told that any contact could get me and my family killed. But as you may have heard in the podcast, certain events transpired and now I am in contact with some of the members. - The members that I have spoken to tell me that the have listened to the podcast and are supportive - thanks for the kind words as well.

DarthDadaddy1 karma

Isn’t the whole point of being in the witness protection program did not have people know you’re in the witness protection program?

jackeewitness2 karma

I think if you look back through some of these answers it will clear up the confusion

SnooStories35741 karma

Do the program pat dor everythings?

jackeewitness2 karma

Im sorry, Im not sure what you are asking. Are you asking if the program pays for everything? If so, the answer is no. The program provided a small sum to cover a terrible motel and food for a couple of months- in 1982 this was under 1300 per month. After my mother got new identification she was able to get a job, and rented an apartment. We had no car, so in Montana in February my mom had to walk with us three kids everywhere to apply for jobs and look for a place to live, and walk to car lots to find a car to buy. This was before the internet of course so even finding these places was difficult. February in Montana is brutally cold. After that there was no financial support.

SnooStories35742 karma

Yes! Thanking you! my question answer.. i think before like this is win the lottery, but this story very sad so happy you make better things of it! sorry my english terrible kind the chinese my language

jackeewitness1 karma

glad I could clarify it. It was not like winning the lottery.

Montpitt20 karma

why yo daddy was snitchin?

OleaC-4 karma

That is not proof you were in any witness protection program. You are fake.