Amy Fisher in September 2004, and Mary Jo Buttafuoco in November 2005

In September 2004, Amy Fisher appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss her life being known as the infamous Long Island Lolita. When she was 16, Amy had an affair with a 36-year-old married man, Joey Buttafuoco. Amy later went to the Buttafuoco home and shot Joey's wife, Mary Jo, in the face.

At the time, Amy claimed that she and Joey were having an affair, and that he told her to shoot Mary Jo. Joey at first denied everything...but later admitted to the affair—but not the allegations of encouraging the shooting. Amy was convicted of attempted murder and Joey was convicted of statutory rape.

While watching Amy's interview on the show, Mary Jo says she was outraged by what she says was Amy's lack of emotional honesty. To tell her side of the story, Mary Jo appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in November 2005.

Nearly 14 years after the shooting that landed them on front pages across the world, Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco landed back in the news, appearing together in an interview on Entertainment Tonight. Mary Jo reportedly turned down an offer to appear in that interview.
Mary Jo meets Dr. Azizzadeh

During Mary Jo's first appearance, she said she continued to suffer from facial paralysis and ear damage from the shooting. Dr. Babak Azizzadeh, a reconstructive surgeon, was watching that show. "I said, 'This is someone I could definitely help,'" he says. "I decided that I'm going to try to get a team together to make her life better."

Dr. Azizzadeh says that the bullet traveled through the temporal bone in Mary Jo's face. This bone is connected to a facial muscle that allows expression and is also connected to her ear function. "The nerve was not completely cut but was partially cut during this gunshot wound," he says. "The nerve slowly had some return of function but not complete return."

The team planned a three-part reconstructive procedure. First was an asymmetric facelift to restore Mary Jo's smile and even out her face. Then they would perform a surgery to widen her ear canal to improve her hearing and prevent infections. And a physical therapist worked with Mary Jo to strengthen her facial muscles.
Mary Jo Buttafuoco

Mary Jo says she hadn't thought of fixing her face even after all these years simply because it was not the most important thing to her. "My face was crooked and I was a little self-conscious about it, but it was something I lived with," Mary Jo says. "I was very blessed. I had my arms and legs and brain and my face." When Dr. Azizzadeh approached her about reconstructive surgery, though, she was happy to give it a try.

When Mary Jo was preparing for the surgeries, the medical staff was continually trying to assess her state of mind. "They were like, 'How do you feel?' I said, 'I've been through a heck of a lot worse. This is going to be good. This is going to be fun,'" Mary Jo says. "I don't mind, I'm getting a facelift too!"

And how does she feel about how she looks now? "I love the results!" she says.
Mary Jo and Jessica Buttafuoco

Mary Jo says she declined the invitation to reunite with Joey and Amy because she was in the middle of her facial reconstructive surgery. "I was just feeling so good and so positive and had all these wonderful people around me," she says. "I said, 'I don't want to go back there with those two and have to do this.' I have moved on with my life. I'm done. I'm finished. I don't want to go back there."

After seeing Amy and her father in the Entertainment Tonight interview, Jessica Buttafuoco is convinced that her mother made the right choice. "It was like a circus," Jessica says. "Nothing really got resolved."
Luis and his mother, Marilyn

In May 2005, Luis and his mother, Marilyn, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Luis says he had been sexually assaulted for years by their stepfather, Marilyn's husband. Marilyn defended her decision to stick by her husband's side even after he admitted to molesting Luis. She said she stayed in the marriage because her husband agreed to enter a sex offender program.

For the next seven years, Marilyn said she lived as the "house police," monitoring her husband's behavior, until one day Luis broke down and the truth came out. Luis admitted that the abuse had not stopped and he was being molested on a daily basis. On the show, Luis explained why he kept his stepfather's horrific secret for so long and defended his mother. "I was trying to protect our family," Luis said. "He could come into our lives and we had food on the table and it was like, 'If I tell, what's my mom going to do with three kids and no job?'"

Marilyn and her husband kept in touch. Luis, now in his 20s, was trying to move on with his own life. Then, he says he received shocking news—his mother was getting married to his abuser for a second time.

In January 2006, Marilyn remarried her ex-husband. Luis says he feels completely betrayed by his mother. "She didn't take accountability for her actions," says Luis. "She blamed it on the situation and she didn't say, 'You know what, I messed up. It's my fault."

Not only does Luis say he feels betrayed by his own mother—he feels justice has not been served against the man he says molested him nearly every day.

Marilyn was asked to appear on this show, but declined.
Luis and Oprah

Luis says attending family functions has become very difficult for him—he must then come face-to-face with his abuser. "That's the hardest thing to deal with because my sister and I are very, very close," Luis says. "She's graduating from high school, and now he's going to be there. He's going to those functions."

Oprah says Luis needs to stay away from his abuser no matter what. "Do not put yourself in the same environment with the person who abused you for years," says Oprah. "Do not do that because that is just re-abusing yourself. That's you denying your own truth."

Luis says he no longer defends his mother's behavior. "I don't respect one thing that she's done," says Luis. "I don't respect her decision and I've said there will be consequences for these actions—[she is] choosing him over me."
Dr. Jenn Berman

Dr. Jenn Berman, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, treats people struggling with betrayal and shares her advice for Luis. "This woman [Marilyn] is no longer your mother," says Dr. Jenn. "She has sold you out for her own pathetic needs to have a man by her side. You are going to have to grieve the loss of your relationship with your mother. That is such a traumatic betrayal that it would be almost impossible for you to have a relationship with her at this point. You are going to have to grieve that loss and I really recommend that you get some professional counseling."
Dr. Charles Momah

It has been reported that nearly 500 women have come forward with allegations of rape, sexual assault and threats against someone they once trusted—their doctor. They say he sexually assaulted them during routine gynecological exams.

In November 2005, Dr. Charles Momah, a gynecologist who had been practicing for 10 years in Seattle, was found guilty of two counts of rape and two counts of taking indecent liberties with his former patients.

The sickening details of what patient after patient say they experienced left prosecutors stunned. These women claim Momah sexually harassed and assaulted them, and in some cases performed unnecessary exams and surgical procedures.
Victims of Dr. Momah speak out

Heather, Jolie and Shannea were patients of Dr. Momah. Heather went to police after she was allegedly raped by Momah and helped break the case with a positive DNA match that linked Momah to the crime. She said she knew something wasn't right after her very first appointment. "I had had problems with addiction and chemical dependency and he prescribed heavy narcotics that first appointment," says Heather.

Shannea says Momah repeated numerous tests and procedures even when the results came back normal. "Instinctively, I felt uncomfortable with what he was doing," she says.

Jolie is battling cancer and says she is still recovering from the trauma she suffered at the hands of Momah. "I can't see doctors because I'm afraid to see a doctor," says Jolie. "I'm always having attacks, I'm always having flashbacks and I'm scared."

Momah was sentenced to 20 years in prison. His attorney says that her client still denies the charges and was wrongfully convicted.
Cheri and Harald

Cheri and Harald were married for 14 years. They were once so inseparable that they started a framing business so they could be together at work. Cheri thought she had married her soul mate.

When their first child was born, Cheri says Harald became distant. The birth of their second child didn't change anything. To lift his spirits, Harald took a trip to Norway to visit relatives. When he came home, he remained emotionally distant. Then Harald started receiving letters from Norway at work and getting calls from a woman with a foreign accent. "I said, 'Who are the letters from?' And he said they were from his first girlfriend," Cheri says. "And I said, 'Well, if you're just friends, then can I see the letters?' He just got angry and he threw them out."

Soon after, Cheri began noticing Harald's behavior becoming more strange. Meanwhile, several incidents left her questioning her own sanity.

Cheri says that when she walked up the staircase in their home at night, it would be completely clean. When she would walk down later, she would find marbles or small toy cars strewn on the stairs...just the kind of thing that could cause a serious fall. Also, Cheri noticed a bitter, metallic taste in glasses of water and other food that Harald would prepare for her. One time, while eating pizza, she noticed bright green crystals lodged under the cheese. Cheri says her husband told her they were just herbs. When the couple had sex, Cheri says she would "notice a bright, bright green discharge" right after.

One day Cheri found a canister hidden in the bathroom. It was filled with a strange green powder. "I thought, 'Oh my God," she says. "It was the same color I had been noticing in my food and in my clothing." That powder—which Harald not only put in Cheri's food, water and clothing, but also on the condoms they used when they had sex—was rat poison.

Before Harald returned home Cheri got a protection order, hired an attorney, filed for divorce and changed the locks on her house. When she confronted Harald, he confessed to everything while she secretly recorded the call.

Harald was arrested and pleaded guilty to four counts of contaminating a substance for consumption. He's currently serving 10 years in prison.
Cheri and Oprah

Cheri says she never actually believed Harald was planning to murder her. "I just didn't want to accept it, that he would do that to me after all those years together," she says. "In addition to being my husband, my lover and the father of my children, I thought he was my best friend."

Cheri has a message to anyone who worries they may be in a similar situation. "I want people to know that they have to trust their gut," she says. "Try to find an objective party—a minister, a counselor, or someone that's not too close to the situation—so that you know that they have an objective opinion and can really help you."

"It's not that you're stupid," Oprah says. "You didn't listen to your 'wise self.' That's what your intuition is. It's your wise self."
FROM: Mary Jo Buttafuoco Responds to Joey and Amy Fisher's Reunion
Published on May 05, 2006


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