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Oct 19th, 2016

The fallout from the 2005 Access Hollywood video published by the Washington Post Friday showing Donald Trump making crude sexual remarks and bragging in obscene language about sexually forcing himself on women, has plunged the Republican Party into “an epic and historic political crisis” as a growing number of prominent Republicans call on Trump to drop out of the race (“GOP consumed by crisis as more Republicans call on Trump to quit race” by Jenna Johnson and Robert Costa, Washington Post, Oct. 8, 2016).!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_750/hotmike8n-4-web.jpg
Image: New York Daily News

Trump, who offered “a qualified apology for the remarks” in a video statement, reportedly told the Post “he would not drop out under any circumstances.”

That is fully consistent with Trump’s personality profile, which for practical purposes is nearly identical (see figure below) to that of Bill Clinton, who was similarly defiant throughout his 1998-99 impeachment saga.


The major distinctions between Clinton’s and Trump’s profiles are that Trump is more dominant (aggressive, combative) than Clinton, who is more conflict averse (MIDC scale 1A: Trump = 17; Clinton = 7) and that Clinton is more accommodating than Trump, who is less agreeable (MIDC scale 4: Clinton = 5; Trump = 0).

The key similarity between Trump and Clinton is their primary scale elevations on MIDC scales 2 and 3. Scale 2 (“Ambition”) is a measure of narcissism (Trump = 24, Clinton = 17) and Scale 2 (“Outgoing”) is a measure of impulsive, histrionic tendencies (Trump = 24, Clinton = 15).

The “amorous narcissism” of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump

According to psychologist Theodore Millon, Ph.D., a leading expert on personality and its disorders, the “distinctive feature” of the Ambitious-Outgoing personality composite, which he labeled the amorous narcissist, is an “erotic and seductive orientation” (Millon, 1996, p. 410).

For these personalities, sexual prowess serves to enhance self-worth: “It is the act of exhibitionistically being seductive, and hence gaining in narcissistic stature, that compels,” according to Millon — who adds that, because of their “indifferent conscience” and the pressing need to nourish their “overinflated self-image,” these individuals may “fabricate stories that enhance their worth” (Millon, 1996, p. 411).

Digging through the archives: Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct and defiance redux

In the wake of the “Access Hollywood” firestorm, I revisited my “Clinton Chronicle” in the archives of the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics to review my commentary, analysis, and prognostications regarding Bill Clinton, which in my opinion provide a predictive model for how Trump will handle the crisis.

This is what I found:

Do President Clinton’s “Sexual Dalliances” Feed His Male Ego?

By Aubrey Immelman

Sept. 27, 1998 — Tonight, on Fox News Channel’s “This Evening with Judith Regan,” psychologist Judy Kuriansky suggested that the kind of sexual dalliances in which President Clinton reputedly engaged with Monica Lewinsky “feeds a man’s ego.” Though I would not go so far as to cast all men in that mold, there is certainly theoretical support for Dr. Kuriansky’s contention with respect to some personality types – most notably the “amorous narcissist,” whose personality pattern is dominated by narcissistic and histrionic traits.

According to the literature on personality disorders, the “distinctive feature” of amorous narcissists is “an erotic and seductive orientation” (Millon, 1996, p. 410). For these personalities, sexual prowess serves to enhance self-worth; “it is the act of exhibitionistically being seductive, and hence gaining in narcissistic stature, that compels” (or “feeds a man’s ego,” to use Dr. Kuriansky’s turn of phrase). …

Virtually all indicators in Bill Clinton’s personality profile point to a will to fight impeachment and removal to the bitter end. …

Why Bill Clinton Will Not Resign

By Aubrey Immelman

Oct. 9, 1998 — Over the past two months I have been intrigued by the mounting tally of newspapers calling on President Clinton to resign. Not surprisingly, in view of his personality profile, Mr. Clinton is unfazed by those appeals. So certain are some commentators that the president will be unable to prevail that they have all but adopted the mindset of a compulsive gambler on a losing streak who steadfastly believes that his next wager will hit the jackpot.

With reference to the president’s fortunes in the face of revelations and accusations that stick to the president with all the tenacity of water on the back of a duck, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, for example, has repetitively expressed the view, “One more thing, and he’s gone.” Perhaps O’Reilly’s unyielding faith in the improbable says more about himself – by all appearances a highly moralistic person with a well-developed sense of decency – than about Bill Clinton, whose inner experience of shame is vastly different.

In situations that would ordinarily elicit shame or humiliation, personalities such as Bill Clinton initially try to screen out negative and judgmental reactions through rationalization and denial, devising plausible “proofs” or alibis to present themselves in the best possible light to salvage their deflated self-esteem. When that fails, these personalities typically become defiant and, if necessary, unleash their self-bolstering rage. Reluctant contrition appears very late in their repertoire, when their confidence is shaken, and even then their experience of remorse or shame is but momentary.

President Clinton has the ability to be unperturbed by circumstances that would prompt most people to hang their head in shame. For that reason, I believe Mr. Clinton is unlikely to resign, unless so pressured by his party that his position becomes utterly untenable. But ultimately, there is no need even for a personality profile to understand why Bill Clinton is practically incapable of resignation: given his obsession with his legacy, it is inconceivable that Bill Clinton would meekly join the ranks of Richard Nixon in the history books as the only president to have resigned from office.

In conclusion, the only plausible scenario in which Donald Trump drops out of the race is if the Republican Party and its electorate abandon their support for Trump in toto.


Millon, T. (1996). Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.

For more information, please consult the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics Media Tipsheet at

Related reports on this site

The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump (Aug. 9, 2015)

Trump poster (2016)
Click on image for larger view

Donald Trump’s Narcissism Is Not the Main Issue (Aug. 11, 2016)

Confident-Narcissistic_spectrum Sociable-Histrionic_spectrum
© 2015 MILLON® (Click on images for larger view)

Donald Trump’s Temperament: Trump’s Fitness to be President (Oct. 5, 2016)


Donald Trump’s temperament has emerged as a major campaign issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Item: According to a Fox News poll conducted after the first presidential debate (Sept. 26), 59 percent of respondents felt Trump lacked the temperament to serve effectively as president, compared with 67 percent saying Clinton had the right temperament. (“Fox News poll: Clinton ahead of Trump after debate, fear motivating both sides” by Dana Blanton,, Sept. 30, 2016)


Item: “By about two-to-one, voters say that their recent conversations about the election have been more about the candidates’ personalities and comments (59%) than about specific issues or policy positions (32%),” according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 7-July 5, 2016. (“Few Clinton or Trump supporters have close friends in the other camp” by Pew Research Center, August 3, 2016)


Item: “Most voters consider Donald J. Trump a risky choice for president, saying he lacks the right temperament and values,” with Hillary Clinton seen as a safer option, according to a Sept. 13-16 New York Times/CBS News poll. (“Voters’ view of a Donald Trump presidency: Big risks and rewards” by Patrick Healy and Dalia Sussman, Sept. 15, 2016)

Of course, it’s unlikely most poll respondents have an accurate understanding of the technical meaning of the term temperament. Considering the frequency with which the word is pronounced “temperment,” it’s likely many, if not most, voters understand temperament to refer primarily to a person’s temper – in other words, being irritable and prone to outbursts of anger (i.e., how easily someone flies off the handle), as opposed to having a calm, patient disposition.

The real meaning of temperament

Technically, temperament refers to behaviors linked with emotionality (positive vs. negative affect, the optimism–pessimism dimension) and arousability (passivity vs. activity, a low–high-energy dimension). Moreover, temperament emerges very early in life and is likely to have a heritable (inborn) basis.

A simplified explanation, paraphrasing psychologist Theodore Millon, would be that temperament refers to a person’s typical manner of displaying emotion and the predominant character of an individual’s affect (i.e., emotion), and the intensity and frequency with which he or she expresses it.

In practical terms, temperament shares much in common with the notion of “emotional intelligence,” which refers to the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions, and those of others, and to manage one’s own emotions and influence those of others. This capacity for emotional awareness, empathy, and skillful interpersonal relationships is a critical ingredient of effective leadership.

Trump’s personality profile

An empirical study of Trump conducted at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics between June 2015 and August 2016, revealed that Trump’s predominant personality patterns are Outgoing/impulsive and Ambitious/exploitative (a measure of narcissism), infused with secondary features of the Dominant/controlling pattern.

Following is an outline of temperamental features of the personality patterns most centrally involved in driving Trump’s political behavior, based on Millon’s (1996) model of personality.

Outgoing (histrionic) pattern: Poor impulse control

Temperamentally, outgoing individuals are emotionally expressive; they are animated, uninhibited, and affectively (emotionally) responsive. Their moods can change quickly, with occasional displays of short‑lived and superficial moods. From a political leadership perspective, the attendant risk is that highly outgoing personalities are predisposed to impulsive actions; they may be over-excitable, capricious, and exhibit a pervasive tendency to be easily enthused and as easily bored or angered, leading to thoughtless, imprudent judgments and rash, even reckless courses of action.

Ambitious (narcissistic) pattern: Knee-jerk response to criticism

Temperamentally, narcissistic individuals are socially poised; at their best they are self-confident, optimistic, and cool and levelheaded under pressure. Though appearing carefree; nonchalant, and debonair, their blind spot is to respond reflexively to personal criticism with annoyance, rage, or anger.

Dominant (aggressive) pattern: Lacking in empathy

Temperamentally, dominant individuals are irritable; they have an excitable temper that they may at times find difficult to control. They tend to be lacking in empathy and are disinclined to experience and express warm feelings, complemented by a volatile temper that flares readily into contentious argument.

Political implications

Regarding the relationship between temper (narrowly defined as one component of temperament) and leadership, political scientist Stanley Renshon, in his 1996 book The Psychological Assessment of Presidential Candidates, asserted that its political implications hinges on five critical questions.

  1. Are the temper outbursts occasional or regular?
  2. Are there particular issues that set off the displays of temper?
  3. Does the candidate easily recover from angry episodes, or does he nurse grudges?
  4. Does the candidate berate or belittle those unlikely or unable to retaliate?
  5. Is the candidate aware of, and does he try to control his temper?

To the extent that outbursts of temper (1) occur regularly; (2) are set off by a broad range of issues; (3) prompt grudges that the candidate cannot let go of; (4) are directed at individuals unlikely or unable to retaliate; and (5) are poorly controlled by a candidate who appears to lack insight, the determination may be made that the candidate is unfit to govern.

Trump’s temperament, beyond its less admirable aspects, also embodies passion and straight-shooting candor. But whatever the deeper meaning and political implications of an unruly temper – character, personality, and temperament are legitimate public issues in determining a presidential candidate’s fitness to lead.


Millon, T. (1996). Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.

Renshon, S. A. (1996). The Psychological Assessment of Presidential Candidates. New York: New York University Press.

For more information, please consult the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics Media Tipsheet at

Related reports on this site

The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump (Aug. 9, 2015)

Trump poster (2016)
Click on image for larger view

Projecting the Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election: The Personal Electability Index (Feb. 29, 2016)

Getty Images

Donald Trump’s Narcissism Is Not the Main Issue (Aug. 11, 2016)

Confident-Narcissistic_spectrum Sociable-Histrionic_spectrum
© 2015 MILLON®                                             (Click on images for larger view)


See scorecard in lighter-color gray font embedded in the debate preview

Clinton-Trump Presidential Debate Preview

Tonight, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton will face off against Republican challenger Donald Trump in the first presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle at Hofstra University in New York, in front of an anticipated record-setting 100 million television viewers.

As is customary in presidential debates, analysts and commentators likely will pick a winner and a loser. But while the political pundits attach inordinate value to rational considerations such as the candidates’ command of policy details, the judgment of the average viewer tends to be far more impressionistic, driven by perceptions of the candidates’ personal qualities.

The American National Election Studies (ANES) identified four facets of voter evaluation with respect to presidential character traits – competence, leadership, integrity, and empathy – and since 1984 have asked respondents to rank presidential candidates on those traits.

According to political psychologist Donald Kinder, voters initially screen presidential candidates on the “statesmanlike” traits of competence, leadership, and integrity, and once the statecraft issue is settled look for empathy (warmth and compassion).

Hillary-Clinton_poster_July-2016 Trump poster (2016)
Click on images for larger view

So, how to the contenders stack up on presidential mettle, based on political experience and their personal psychology?

First base: Competence

Clinton has a demonstrable track record of competence in the political arena, though Trump has actively undermined Clinton’s reputation by defining her as an abject failure in foreign policy. However, in the personal department, Clinton outscores Trump on the Millon Inventory of Diagnostic Criteria’s (MIDC) Conscientiousness scale (Clinton = 15; Trump = 0), a psychological measure of competence.

Score strong advantage Clinton.


As expected, Trump hammered Clinton on trade- and foreign policy failures; however, Clinton retained her composure and was largely successful in fending off Trump’s attacks.

Also as anticipated, Clinton displayed superior debate preparation and ability to stay on-message, whereas Trump became increasingly undisciplined and unfocused towards the end of the debate.

Base hit Clinton.

Second base: Leadership

As a former United States senator and secretary of state, Clinton undeniably has more experience in the realm of political leadership, though Trump has touted his own success as a business leader. Psychologically, Clinton has a very slight edge over Trump on the MIDC’s Dominance scale (Clinton = 21; Trump = 17), a quality that voters typically perceive as reflecting strong leadership.

Score slight advantage Clinton.


Clinton not only displayed her political leadership experience but succeeded to a significant degree in undermining Trump’s reputation as a successful business leader. Trump scored points in noting that if Clinton hadn’t been able to fix America’s problems in her long political career thus far, there was no plausible reason to believe she would suddenly start now.

Clinton dominated the latter part of the debate, often forcing Trump to play defense.

Base run Clinton.

Third base: Integrity

It can be said with little risk of hyperbole that both candidates appear ethically challenged. The most reliable MIDC indices of integrity are low scores on the scales of Ambition (a measure of narcissism) and Dauntlessness (risk-taking). Clinton and Trump have identically elevated scores of 24 on the narcissism measure, but Clinton is the clear winner on risk aversion (Clinton = 2; Trump = 9). It is noteworthy, however, that Trump has been more successful on the campaign trail in framing “Crooked Hillary” as being dishonest.

Score slight advantage Clinton.


Clinton was more effective calling into question Trump’s business dealings than Trump was in highlighting Clinton’s ethical lapses and negligence with respect to her private email server. In part, that was due to Trump lacking the discipline to follow through on the email issue and apparently being unprepared to mount an effective attack on Clinton regarding the FBI probe of the email issue.

Missed opportunity Trump; Clinton steals third.

Bringing it home: Empathy

Based on their respective MIDC scores, neither Clinton nor Trump can be characterized as compassionate; however, Trump has the requisite personality traits to project a warm, empathic political persona.

The most direct MIDC measure of empathy is the Accommodating scale, a measure of likableness on which both Clinton and Trump flatline with a score of zero. However, Clinton is no match for Trump in the ability to project empathy. Specifically, Trump outscores Clinton 24 to zero on the MIDC Outgoing scale, a measure of extraversion, energy, and social intelligence – the so-called “beer test” of likability.

Huge advantage Trump.


Trump clearly attempted to conjure up a more compassionate persona; however, he was too easily baited by Clinton and at times allowed her to get under his skin. In addition, he responded to a question on race relations with an argument about law and order. Clinton, purely by dint of superior debate preparation, discipline, and remaining measured and composed — emotional intelligence — successfully prevented Trump from presenting himself as the more likable candidate.

Unforced error Trump; Clinton scores run.

The final score

Clinton will step onto the stage with a clear advantage on “statesmanship” traits of perceived competence and leadership, which gets her to first base. If she can maintain her edge in this veritable “World Series” of presidential politics by demonstrating a superior grasp of policy details and fitness to lead, it should be good enough to get her to second.

Scorecard: Clinton on second.

But from here on it only gets harder for Hillary. The debate moderator can retire Clinton with a force out on a “gotcha” question regarding her honesty, or Trump can tag her out with a rhetorical counterpunch on the character issue.

Scorecard: No “gotcha” question (or follow-ups) from the debate moderator; Trump unprepared to follow through on the email issue; Clinton steals third.

Assuming Clinton manages to steal third, thereby clearing the statecraft hurdle, it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which she can overcome the final psychological barrier to scoring the winning run by presenting herself as warm and likable.

Scorecard: Turns out Clinton did not have to present herself as warm and likable. By merely being well prepared, maintaining message discipline, and retaining her composure, Clinton edged out Trump. Clinton scores.

For Clinton to win, Trump would have to disqualify himself on the grounds of fitness to govern and presidential temperament, thus forfeiting the game.

Scorecard: Trump was generally successful in restraining his volatile temperament and thus did not disqualify himself on the grounds of fitness to lead; however, consistent with his personality profile, he was inadequately prepared and too undisciplined. Trump forfeits Game 1 in the series.

By the same token, if Clinton has another coughing fit or fainting spell, it could be game over in a series-ending strikeout.

Scorecard: No evidence of health issues on Clinton’s part; in fact, Trump was the one who seemed more fatigued by the end of the debate.

Analysis by Aubrey Immelman, Ph.D., Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics.

Related reports on this site

Getty Images

The Personality Profile of 2016 Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump

The Personality Profile of 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

Projecting the Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election: The Personal Electability Index

Behind the Clinton E-mails: The Psychological Profile of Hillary Rodham Clinton

Donald Trump’s Narcissism Is Not the Main Issue

Confident-Narcissistic_spectrum Sociable-Histrionic_spectrum
© 2015 MILLON® (Click on images for larger view)

The College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn., hosted a community memorial service for Jacob Wetterling on Sunday, September 25, 2016.


Archived video of the memorial service
Advance video to 19:36 for start of proceedings

Memorials are preferred to the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or your preferred children’s organization that focuses on building a better and safer world.

In-depth coverage and updates at the St. Cloud Times

Remembering Jacob: ‘Our love for you will never die’

Red Grammer sings his iconic song "Listen" during practice
Red Grammer sang Jacob’s favorite song, “Listen,” with the St. John’s Boys Choir at the Jacob Wetterling memorial service. (Photo: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

Jacob Wetterling Memorial Service Program. (Photo: Tim Immelman)

3-Gun Salute for Jacob Wetterling at 3:45 »



Related reports on this site

Danny Heinrich Confesses to Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping, Assault, and Murder (Sept. 6, 2016)

Danny Heinrich in federal court confessing to the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. (Sketch: Nancy Muellner / KARE 11)

Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found in Central Minnesota (Sept. 3, 2016)

The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)
The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)

Missing Person Joshua Guimond (Nov. 7, 2009)

For the past 27 years, the police, the family, and the public have been asking, “Where’s Jacob?” Now that his remains have been found, the question becomes, “Why did it take so long?” APM Reports, with reporter Madeleine Baran, explores that question in an eight-part podcast, “In the Dark.”

The bedrock public presumption about the Wetterling case is that the sheriff’s office, along with other law enforcement agencies, did all it could to find Jacob. And while it’s true that many officers worked long hours and followed tens of thousands of leads, a close look at the quality of that investigation reveals a different story — one that has not been told.

In the Dark
An American Public Media investigative podcast about a 27-year child abduction investigation that changed the nation

Child abductions are rare crimes. And they’re typically solved. For 27 years, the investigation into the abduction of Jacob Wetterling in rural Minnesota yielded no answers. In the most comprehensive reporting on this case, APM Reports and reporter Madeleine Baran reveal how law enforcement mishandled one of the most notorious child abductions in the country and how those failures fueled national anxiety about stranger danger, changed how adults parent their kids, and led to the nation’s sex-offender registries.



Introducing ‘In the Dark’

After he disappeared nearly 27 years ago, Jacob Wetterling’s remains have been found. Why did it take so long? APM Reports asks that question in an eight-part podcast.


The Crime

The abduction of Jacob Wetterling, which made parents more vigilant and instigated the first national requirement that states track sex offenders via registries, took place before moonrise on a warm October night in 1989.


The Circle

When Jacob Wetterling was taken, authorities launched what would turn into one of the largest searches for any missing person in the history of the United States. But that first night, law enforcement didn’t cover all the basics.


The One Who Got Away

The closest you can get to a conversation with Jacob Wetterling about his abduction is to talk to Jared Scheierl, who was forced into a car and assaulted by Danny Heinrich in January 1989. That was nine months before Jacob.


What’s Going on Down There?

In November 2012, a police officer named Tom Decker was shot and killed in Cold Spring, Minn., after getting out of his car to check on a man who lived above a bar. The man was quickly arrested and held in the Stearns County jail. He was interrogated but then released without charges. The state crime bureau later ruled him out as a suspect. … Joshua Guimond, a 20-year-old student at St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn., vanished without a trace in 2002. Brian Guimond, Josh’s father, says the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office has never fully investigated the case.



Related Report

APM Investigative Unit Announces Podcast Series on Wetterling Case

By Jon Collins

August 29, 2016

American Public Media will launch an investigative podcast next month looking at the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, the 11-year-old boy abducted from his hometown of St. Joseph, Minn., almost 27 years ago.

Wetterling was taken by a masked gunman on Oct. 22, 1989. A friend and younger brother say the three were bicycling home after renting a video when a man came down a driveway and ordered them to lie on the ground. The other two boys were told to run away and not look back or they’d be shot.

The intersection at 16th Avenue Southeast where Jacob Wetterling was last seen on Oct. 22, 1989. (Photo: Peter Cox | MPR News)

The podcast, called In the Dark, is led by reporter Madeleine Baran, who won a Peabody Award for her reporting on clergy sexual abuse in Minnesota. The name of the podcast refers to the crime itself, Baran said, but also to the lack of transparency around the decades-long investigation.

“So it has these two senses,” Baran said. “There’s this crime that happened in the dark and, also, there’s this investigation that happened in the dark.”

The abduction was a pivotal moment in Minnesota and beyond, sparking concerns about child abduction and a national focus on sex offenders. Because the case has been closely covered by local media for all those years, Baran was surprised to find details that had been overlooked.

“When I started reading just basic information about the case, there were certain things that stood out to me as interesting, like the fact that this happened on a dead-end street, this happened in a town of 3,000 people, the police got there right away,” Baran said. “That changed how I thought about it and made me think, ‘Why hasn’t this been solved?’”

The Wetterling case led to the passage of a federal law in 1994 that required states to create sex offender registries.

“This was obviously a sensational crime in Minnesota, but for us to spend this much time as investigative reporters looking into it, it has to have something more than that,” Baran said. “The something more in this case is that it’s affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who are on sex offender registries in this country.”

Following the success of Serial, podcasts are seen as a way to tell a longer, more complex story.

“It can go much deeper even than one long radio documentary can,” Baran said. “It’s hard for me to imagine, given what we’ve found out, doing it in a different way. The format really does lend itself, because these are complicated stories.”

Unlike Serial, though, In the Dark’s mission isn’t to solve the crime. Baran said it’s looking at why the case hasn’t been solved and the impact it’s had on the people swept up in it, including Jacob’s parents.

“In the eyes of Minnesota there’s this person, Jacob, who is missing, but he’s their son,” Baran said. “You can talk to a lot of people … who want to talk about it as a mystery or this sensational crime. But, really, what is it like if that’s your kid?”

APM Reports editor-in-chief Chris Worthington is overseeing the reporting project.

“While this case has been covered locally and nationally, no one has really gone in depth about the investigation itself,” Worthington said in a statement. “We wanted to examine what went wrong and why this case has not been solved. And most importantly, why Jacob Wetterling hasn’t been found.”

The podcast is produced by APM Reports, which began work last year as American Public Media’s investigative reporting and documentary unit. American Public Media is the parent company of MPR News.

In the Dark begins Sept. 13. After that, a new installment of the eight-episode series will be released each week. It will be available on iTunes.

Preview: In the Dark | Find it on iTunes



Update: September 15, 2016

Blogger, Survivor Pushed Investigators to Re-Examine Wetterling Case: Part 2

By Esme Murphy
September 14, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — Despite being told they were wrong by law enforcement, sexual assault survivor Jared Scheierl and blogger Joy Baker never gave up.

They teamed up to provide critical clues in the Jacob Wetterling case.

WCCO aired the first interviews with them in 2014. They had evidence Wetterling’s case was connected to a series of unsolved sex assaults on boys in the mid-80s in Paynesville, and to Scheierl’s own 1989 sexual assault.

It is a theory that led to a breakthrough in the case.

Law enforcement kept telling Scheierl and Baker they were on the wrong track in their investigation, but the duo never gave up. …

Jared Scheierl and Joy Baker (credit: CBS)
Jared Scheierl and Joy Baker (Photo credit: CBS)

They began an informal partnership in the summer of 2013, tracking down leads after Baker uncovered a series of articles detailing unsolved sexual assaults on boys in Paynesville in 1986 and 1987. …

Scheierl was assaulted and kidnapped in Cold Spring nine months before Wetterling was kidnapped.

It was Scheierl who helped the FBI put together the now-famous sketch of his own attacker.

Just weeks after Wetterling was taken, the FBI issued a statement saying Wetterling and Scheierl’s cases were linked

“These facts match up with Jacob’s abduction,” said FBI Agent Jeff Jamar in December of 1989.

But in 2004, under the leadership of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Kenneth Macdonald and Stearns County Sheriff Captain Pam Jensen, the investigation moved away from that theory.

Kenneth Macdonald and Pam Jensen (credit: CBS)
BCA agent Ken Macdonald and Stearns County Sheriff’s Dept. Capt. Pam Jensen (Photo credit: CBS)

“They had told me that, ‘We don’t believe that your and Jacob’s cases are connected,’” Scheierl said.

BCA search warrants starting in 2004 say investigators believed “no vehicle was used” in Wetterling’s kidnapping, and the kidnapper had to be on foot.

The BCA and Stearns County believed Wetterling’s kidnapper was farmer Dan Rassier, who they investigated for 10 years — even digging up his farm in 2010 and publicly naming him as a person of interest.

“I told them back in 1999, I told them in 2004 and I told them in 2013 that Dan Rassier was not my person,” Scheierl said.

Neither Stearns County or the BCA would comment on why in 2004 they did not go back to what we now know they knew in January of 1990: the tire tracks and a shoe print at the Wetterling abduction scene were consistent with, but not a scientific match, to Danny Heinrich — a man who court documents reveal was back then a suspect the Paynesville, Wetterling and Scheierl cases.

It was a theory that law enforcement abandoned for a quarter of a century, only to be pushed by a blogger and survivor who would not stop. …

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Department declined to comment. …

Read the full story at WCCO



Blogger, Survivor Pushed Investigators to Re-Examine Wetterling Case: Part 1 (WCCO, Sept. 13, 2016)

“Stearns County Sheriff’s Department wasn’t buying Joy and Jared’s theory that the Paynesville cases, Jared’s case, and Jacob’s case were connected.”



Update: September 18, 2016

‘Dots’ Always Pointed to Wetterling Suspect Heinrich

Dennis DalmanBy Dennis Dalman
The Newsleaders
September 8, 2016

Hindsight is often 20/20, they say, but it’s difficult for many people to understand how Jacob Wetterling’s abductor and killer, Danny James Heinrich, slipped under the radar so often when the dots to be connected were clearly there.

Some or all of those “dots” point to the 53-year-old from Annandale.

Now that Wetterling’s remains have been found and Heinrich has confessed to the crime, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office, and others will conduct a thorough re-examination of the Wetterling case, and much of the investigation will involve how those connections were missed right after the abduction and in the nearly 27 years since.

In 1989, the year Wetterling was taken by a stranger, there was no Internet, no Amber Alert emergency-notification system, less awareness of child abductions, and all too often police and sheriff’s offices worked independently of one another in their day-to-day tasks. In addition, DNA-matching technology in criminal cases was not then widely known or available.

In Paynesville, in the late 1980s, there were eight complaints made to the police department of a sinister man who accosted young boys while riding their bikes, or walking in or near the downtown area. The man, sometimes wearing a ski mask, would usually grope the boys through their clothing on their genital areas, make threats in a raspy voice, then rush off.

At the time of the assaults in Paynesville, Heinrich was living in the city, alternating from time to time between the homes of his divorced parents. One of the dwellings, his mother’s, was a downtown Paynesville apartment.

Troy Cole

In recent days, a Paynesville resident, Troy Cole, a father of a 5-year-old daughter, was interviewed by WCCO-TV Channel 4.

Cole told about how he had been sexually assaulted one night in November of 1986 by a man with a rough voice. While riding his bicycle from a downtown pizza parlor, a man on the street grabbed him off of his bicycle and forced him under some nearby pine trees where he sexually assaulted the boy while keeping a knife held against his back. The man then used the knife to cut off a lock of hair from Cole. Cole and his father reported the incident to the Paynesville police, but he recently said there were no follow-ups at the time to the crime, which still angers him.

Cole’s case is just one of many that occurred during a three-year period from 1986 to 1988 in Paynesville, mainly right in the downtown area. In the other cases, a rather short male, usually wearing a ski mask, would accost boys riding bikes or walking, then grope their genital area through their pants. Some of them he threatened. He usually asked the boys how old they were. His voice was described by the victims as “raspy” or “a deep low whisper” or “like he had a cold.” He also threatened some of the boys, telling them to run off or saying he would shoot them if they said anything.

Cole told the TV interviewer he is sorry about the Wetteling family’s loss of Jacob.

“We were lucky,” he said of himself and other victims. “At least we got to go home.”

Jared Scheierl

On Jan. 11, 1989, nine months before Wetterling was abducted, a 12-year-old Cold Spring paper boy, Jared Scheierl, was abducted after walking from a downtown café in Cold Spring.

The incident is detailed in an Aug. 5, 2016 U.S. District Court decision regarding Heinrich and the accusations against him.

According to the information in the U.S. judges’ decision, the man asked Scheierl if he knew where someone named “Kramer” lived. As the boy came closer to the car, the man grabbed him and forced him into the back seat.

The man drove for about 15 minutes, ordered the boy to take off his snowsuit, pants and underwear. The man then forced Scheierl to perform a sexual act on him and attempted a sexual act against the boy.

The perpetrator, Scheierl said, was wearing camouflage fatigues, black Army-style boots, a military-style watch and a brown baseball cap. On Jan. 18, 1990, when law enforcement searched the home of Heinrich’s father in Payneville, where Heinrich was staying at the time, they found two brown baseball caps, a camouflage shirt and pants and lace-up black Army boots. Heinrich had been a member of the Minnesota National Guard.

He then let Scheierl put his snowsuit back on but not the pants or underwear. Scheierl was also wearing a sweatshirt the perpetrator allowed him to keep. The man drove the boy back to Cold Spring and ordered him to roll around in his snowsuit on the snow. The man told Scheierl to run and not look back or he would shoot him.

Scheierl also told police the abductor told him he’s “lucky to be alive” and that if the police ever got a “lead” about what had just happened, he would find Scheierl after school and shoot him.

Jacob Wetterling

Nine months after the assault against Scheierl, on Oct. 22, 1989, Jacob was abducted at about 9:15 p.m. while he, his brother Trevor and best friend Aaron Larson were biking home from a Tom Thumb store where they went to get a movie video.

A masked man holding a handgun appeared on the rural road and told all three boys to lie down in the ditch. He asked each boy how old he was. Then he told Trevor and Aaron to run toward nearby woods, and to not look back or he would shoot them.

When the boys looked back, near the woods, Jacob and the man were gone.

In 1990, when Heinrich was detained and questioned about the Scheierl incident and the Wetterling abduction, he denied having anything to do with either and said he couldn’t remember what he was doing on those two nights.

Investigators at the scene of Jacob’s abduction said tire marks and shoe prints in the dirt seemed to approximate those of the Ford car Heinrich drove and of a pair of shoes he owned at that time, but the matches were not good enough to be perfect matches.

Police arranged a line-up of suspects, but Scheierl could not with certainty identify which of the two men in the line-up was the perpetrator. Heinrich was then released from custody for lack of proof.

DNA testing

Earlier this year, a DNA test was taken from the sweatshirt Scheierl’s was wearing during the sexual assault. The sweatshirt had been kept in police storage as possible evidence. The DNA on the sweatshirt matched the DNA in a hair taken from Heinrich when he was detained briefly in 1990.

However, charges could not be brought because the statute of limitations in the Scheierl case had long since expired.

Joy the Curious

About six years ago, Joy Baker, a writer and blogger in New London, came across an old local newspaper from May 1987 with a front-page headline, “Local police seek help in accosting incidents.”

The mother of two daughters, Baker had been deeply troubled by the inability of law enforcement to solve the Wetterling abduction.

The story was about the assaults that had been happening in Paynesville. It was then Baker began connecting dots between those crimes and the Wetterling abduction: a rather short stocky man, wearing a ski mask, often wearing a baseball-style hat, sometimes Army-style clothing, black boots, a raspy voice, asking boys their ages or what school grade they were in, telling them to run off and threatening to shoot them if they looked back or told anybody.

Baker got together with Scheierl, the sexual-assault victim, and they both began doing investigations of their own, interviewing people (including the assault victims), researching and trying to put the pieces of an old puzzle together.

They put their findings on Baker’s blog, entitled “Joy the Curious.”

Their work, the dots they connected, gave new impetus to the ongoing official investigations and helped point the way to Heinrich’s possible guilt in all the crimes. …

Read the full report at the Newsleaders

Sep 11th, 2016

Tribute to the Victims and Heroes of 9/11

Amazing Grace 9/11

America Grieves


Related posts on this site

9/11 — Tenth Anniversary (Sept. 11, 2011)

9/11 — Nine Years After (Sept. 11, 2010)

9/11 — Eight Years After (Sept. 11, 2009)

9/11 — Seven Years (Sept. 11, 2008)

September 9, 2016 Update – Wetterling Search Warrants Unsealed

View the search warrant for the Rassier farm, executed June 28, 2010.

Heinrich Confesses to Wetterling’s Death

Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall speaking during a press conference in federal court on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Looking on are Stearns County prosecutor Michael Lieberg (far left) and Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner (next to Kendall). (Photo: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)

By David Unze and Kirsti Marohn
St. Cloud Times
September 6, 2016


For nearly 27 years, Patty Wetterling has asked a simple question to a world that has watched in pain and, until recently, in vain:

“Where’s Jacob?”

That question was answered late last week with the discovery of Jacob’s remains at a Stearns County farm near Paynesville.

On Tuesday, Danny Heinrich admitted in federal court how he kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed Jacob with two gunshots. Heinrich didn’t answer the question of why.

But in wrenching detail and with a flat, matter-of-fact tone, he told a federal judge about the October night in 1989 when he kidnapped 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling at gunpoint, launching one of the most heart-rending mysteries in Minnesota history.

“Finally we know. We know what the Wetterling family and all of Minnesota have longed to know since that awful night in 1989. We know the truth. Danny Heinrich is no longer a person of interest,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “He is the confessed murderer of Jacob Wetterling.”

Heinrich, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography. As part of the plea agreement, he recounted what happened to Jacob after he was taken at gunpoint along a rural St. Joseph road by a masked man who let his brother and his best friend go.

In exchange, Heinrich is expected to receive a 20-year federal prison sentence that allows him the chance to get out of prison if he lives long enough. That plea agreement had the blessing of the Wetterling family.

Heinrich will not be tried in Jacob Wetterling’s death.

Heinrich told a packed courtroom that he handcuffed Jacob’s arms behind his back after telling his brother, Trevor, and friend Aaron Larson to run and not look back or he would shoot. A hushed courtroom heard Heinrich recount what a terrified Jacob said next.

“What did I do wrong?” he asked Heinrich.

Heinrich described how he saw the boys bike past him while he was driving on the road leading to the Wetterling residence. The kids were going to rent a video, and Heinrich pulled around in a driveway near the abduction site and waited.

When the boys biked past on their way home, Heinrich put on a mask, grabbed a .38-caliber handgun and ordered the boys into the ditch. One of the boys offered up the video they had rented, apparently thinking that’s why Heinrich was accosting them. …

He asked each boy his name and age, then let two of the boys go.

He cuffed Jacob and put him in the front passenger seat of his car, driving toward his hometown of Paynesville. With a police scanner in the car, Heinrich could hear the response of law enforcement rushing to the abduction site.

He took Jacob to a rural area near a gravel pit and forced the boy to undress, then sexually assaulted him. After 20-30 minutes, Jacob told Heinrich he was cold. Heinrich let Jacob get dressed.

“Are you taking me home?” Heinrich said Jacob asked him.

“I can’t take you all the way home,” Heinrich said, noting the massive police presence at the abduction site.

“He started to cry,” Heinrich told the court.

“I said ‘Don’t cry,’” Heinrich said.

Then, a police car drove by, with no lights or sirens, and Heinrich panicked.

He loaded the handgun and told Jacob to look the other way because Heinrich needed to urinate, Heinrich told the court.

“I, uh, I uh, raised the revolver to his head” and pulled the trigger, Heinrich said. The weapon didn’t fire and Heinrich fired again. Jacob was still standing when Heinrich pulled the trigger a third time, shooting Jacob again.

“I left him and went home,” Heinrich said.

A couple hours later he returned to the site with a shovel, but realized he needed more than that to dig a big enough grave. He went to a nearby construction company, commandeered a Bobcat and dug a grave. After filling it in with dirt, he tried to camouflage it with grass and brush.

As he walked home, he took Jacob’s shoes and threw them into a ravine.

About a year later, he returned to the site at night and saw the remains and the red jacket that Jacob had been wearing protruding from the ground. He gathered up the remains and clothing and moved Jacob’s remains to a site on a nearby farm. …

Heinrich also on Tuesday admitted that he had kidnapped and sexually assaulted Jared Scheierl nine months before the Wetterling abduction. In recounting that night, Heinrich said he was “driving around Cold Spring, looking for a child” when he spotted Scheierl on a dark street.

After sexually assaulting Scheierl, Heinrich let him go, telling him to run and not look back or he’d shoot him.

Heinrich kept the boy’s underwear and pants.

“A souvenir I guess,” Heinrich said in court Tuesday. …

Heinrich took investigators to a spot where he said he buried Jacob. Investigators found a red St. Cloud hockey jacket consistent with the one Jacob was wearing when he was abducted.

But investigators didn’t find the additional evidence they needed and interviewed Heinrich again Sept. 1. That interview lasted late into the evening, and led to a second excavation that revealed bones, teeth and a shirt with the name Wetterling on it, Luger said. …

Heinrich was arrested, but not charged, years ago for the Scheierl abduction and sexual assault that happened nine months before the Wetterling kidnapping. …

As part of his plea, Heinrich acknowledged that he could be subject to a civil commitment after he serves his criminal sentence. …

Read the full story and view photo gallery at the St. Cloud Times




Breaking News — Danny Heinrich Plea Hearing in Federal Court — Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping and Murder — Live Coverage

Live updates of Danny Heinrich plea hearing in federal court

Danny Heinrich admits to kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and killing Jacob Wetterling by shooting him to death with a Smith & Wesson .38 Special snub nose revolver.

Press conference detailing Danny Heinrich’s confession in the Wetterling abduction case (Photo: Kimm Anderson / St. Cloud Times)



Related reports on this site

Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found in Central Minnesota (Sept. 3, 2016)

The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)
The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)

Wetterling “Person of Interest” Danny Heinrich in Federal Court
(Feb. 22, 2016)

Sketch: KSTP / Cedric Hohnstadt

Danny James Heinrich Questioned in Wetterling Abduction — Investigator’s 1990 Case Notes (Nov. 23, 2015)

One of the original persons of interest in the 1989 disappearance of Jacob Wetterling has been pointing the finger of suspicion at Danny Heinrich since 1990.

Danny Heinrich Arrested: Wetterling Press Conference
(Nov. 4, 2015)

Dennis Dalman / The Newsleader

Daniel Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping
(Oct. 30, 2015)

Daniel James Heinrich
Danny James Heinrich

BREAKING NEWS — September 3, 2016

Jacob Wetterling’s Remains Found on Stearns County Farm

Stearns County Sheriff Confirms Remains Found Are That of Jacob Wetterling


Wetterling Remains May Have Been Found, Sources Say

By Tom Hauser, Paul McEnroe & Nate Leding
September 3, 2016

Sources tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that the man authorities named as a person of interest in Jacob Wetterling’s disappearance, Danny Heinrich, agreed to cooperate, and provide information that led to authorities recovering unidentified remains.

Heinrich led investigators to the area where the remains were found, according to sources.

Sources say the remains that may be those of Wetterling were found at an undisclosed location in central Minnesota.

DNA tests are currently being conducted to determine if they are in fact the boy’s remains. …

Read the full report and updates at KSTP



St. Cloud Times Live Blog: Jacob Wetterling Found

The intersection at 16th Avenue Southeast where Jacob Wetterling was last seen alive on Oct. 22, 1989. (Photo: Peter Cox | MPR News)

Paynesville Reeling With News about Jacob; Grave Was Hidden Along a County Road (Star Tribune)

The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)
The remains of Jacob Wetterling were recovered in this tree line area of a cow pasture off Stearns County Road 85 northeast of Paynesville. (Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii / Star Tribune)

Sources: Heinrich Led FBI to Jacob Wetterling’s Remains (WCCO)

Statement: Jacob Wetterling Resource Center

We are in deep grief. We didn’t want Jacob’s story to end this way. In this moment of pain and shock, we go back to the beginning. The Wetterlings had a choice to walk into bitterness and anger or to walk into a light of what could be, a light of hope. Their choice changed the world.

This light has been burning for close to 27 years. The spark began in the moments after the abduction of Jacob Wetterling, when his family decided that light is stronger than darkness. They lit the flame that became Jacob’s Hope. All of Central Minnesota flocked to and fanned the flame, hoping for answers. The light spread state-wide, nationally and globally as hearts connected to the 11-year-old boy who liked to play goalie for his hockey team, wanted to be a football player, played the trombone, and loved the times he spent with his sisters, brother, and parents.

Today, we gather around the same flame. The flame that has become more than the hope for one as it led the way home for thousands of others. It’s the light that illuminates a world that Jacob believed in, where things are fair and just.

Our hearts are heavy, but we are being held up by all of the people who have been a part of making Jacob’s Hope a light that will never be extinguished. It shines on in a different way. We are, and we will continue to be, Jacob’s Hope.

Jacob, you are loved.


3-Gun Salute for Jacob Wetterling at 3:45 »


In-depth coverage and updates at the St. Cloud Times »


Related reports on this site

Danny Heinrich Confesses to Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping, Assault, and Murder (Sept. 6, 2016)

Danny Heinrich in federal court confessing to the abduction and murder of Jacob Wetterling. (Sketch: Nancy Muellner / KARE 11)

Daniel Heinrich Search Warrant in Jacob Wetterling Kidnapping
(Oct. 30, 2015)

Daniel James Heinrich
Danny James Heinrich

New Book on Wetterling Abduction, Search, and Suspects
(April 17, 2015)


Josh Guimond: New Developments (May 24, 2010)

Josh Guimond (Photo credit: KMSP-TV Fox 9)

Missing Person Joshua Guimond (Nov. 7, 2009)


The New York Times (Aug. 29, 2016) reports:

Hillary Clinton’s advisers are talking to Donald J. Trump’s ghostwriter of “The Art of the Deal,” seeking insights about Mr. Trump’s deepest insecurities as they devise strategies to needle and undermine him in four weeks at the first presidential debate, the most anticipated in a generation.

Her team is also getting advice from psychology experts to help create a personality profile of Mr. Trump to gauge how he may respond to attacks and deal with a woman as his sole adversary on the debate stage.

Such a psychological profile, available at the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics site, already exists.

Trump poster (2016)
Click on image for larger view

Based on that profile, an effective way to “bait” Trump into “making blunders” and to “get under his skin” and “provoke him to rant and rave” (to use the language contained in the Times report), is to attack his reputation (high MIDC scales 2 and 1A, in that order).

© 2015 MILLON®

As stated in the Times, “The Clinton camp believes that Mr. Trump is most insecure about his intelligence, his net worth and his image as a successful businessman.” Hitting Trump on those points would be a good start to a winning edge in the debate.

Trump’s debate prep sessions the past two weekends, according to the Times, “were more freewheeling than focused,” and Trump could “barely conceal his disdain for laborious and theatrical practice sessions.”

That is consistent with Trump’s personality profile (high MIDC scale 3 and low scale 6).

© 2015 MILLON®

Art of the Deal co-author Tony Schwartz, who is advising the Clinton campaign, is essentially correct in his assessment, as reported by the Times:

“Trump has severe attention problems and simply cannot take in complex information — he will be unable to practice for these debates,” said Mr. Schwartz, who was the subject of a New Yorker profile last month that portrayed Mr. Trump as a charlatan.

For Clinton (or the debate moderators) to rattle Trump, the requisite strategy would be to press him to stay on topic and provide specifics.

As for Hillary Clinton, she is by nature highly rehearsed, scripted, and programmed (consistent with her elevated score on MIDC scale 6).

© 2015 MILLON®

For Trump to outmaneuver Clinton, the requisite strategy would be to disrupt her planning and preparation by taking the debate off topic and to press her on topics for which she may not be well prepared. Trump ranks high on Machiavellianism, meaning he thrives in unstructured situations and is quick to identify vulnerabilities; anything he does to disrupt the predictability of the debate will give him the upper hand over Clinton.

In addition, Trump is correct in his assessment, as reported by the Times, “that he can box in Mrs. Clinton on her ethics and honesty.” Consistent with her personality profile (elevated MIDC scale 6), Clinton is likely to value aspects of herself that exhibit virtue, moral rectitude, and prudence, and to be fearful of error or misjudgment. Clinton’s glass jaw would be getting hammered repeatedly on those points in personal attacks.


Related reports

Psychological profile of Donald Trump

Psychological profile of Hillary Clinton

Inside debate prep: Clinton’s careful case vs. Trump’s ‘WrestleMania’
(Philip Rucker, Robert Costa, and Anne Gearan, Washington Post, Aug. 27, 2016)

For more information, consult the Unit for the Study of Personality in Politics Media Tipsheet at