Home --> AJ's Story --> AJ's Story: Quotes From The Book

A.J.'s Story -- Quotes From The Book

“I believe Jessica probably did throw up, but the cause wasn’t remorse – it was the combination of committing murder with her bare hands on a belly full of beer, and then having half of the PBSO pouring through her house on a Sunday morning when she’s usually sleeping it off.” – Scott Cupp

“Although this child – at least by the parents’ history – had exhibited in the past unruly behavior, possibly aggressive behavior, the circumstances of this case strongly suggest that this child’s death is the result of physical child abuse with the terminal mechanism of death being submersion or drowning.
“The injuries to the scalp are sufficient in and of themselves to have caused the death of a child.
“In summary, at the very least Andrew’s death should have resulted in an investigation and intervention on the grounds of physical and emotional child abuse. There is overwhelming evidence to support the above.” – Dr. Burton, Coroner

“I think Andrew will be in reasonable shape as long as he has Mrs. Idrissi as a mother figure in school. I will try to call a conference on Andrew in June to decide whether or not he should remain with Jessica and David. They probably won’t change and he will have to go to a foster home. I guess Jessica just doesn’t like him. She tolerates him, and his father just doesn’t care. No one cares but Mrs. Idrissi and me.” – Dr. Zimmern

“They [David and Jessica] believe Andrew is irrevocably flawed because of his early years with his biological mother. They feel that little can be done to change this. Jessica’s father has stated to her, ‘His eyes are dead – he has no soul.’ I urged them to believe that Andrew is an emotionally disturbed child who can be helped – even cured – through therapy and love and security.” – Dr. Zimmern

“Andrew needs to know that you care, and that you believe in him. Try not to always outsize him. Find things that he can be praised for – he needs to feel good about himself. When Andrew’s eyes go dead, he is withdrawing from the world because he finds it all just too painful. His self-esteem is now so low – try to build it up any way you can. Andrew is a difficult person to live with because his past life was so bad. His present habits are ones he developed to cope with life as it was. When his life improves, he will shed those habits because they will no longer be necessary.” – Dr. Zimmern

“Andrew is afraid he will be sent away to a foster home which he does not want. I believe he willfully disobeys and forgets his chores, homework and jobs. It must be his way of fighting back, his way of being noticed, his way of asserting himself, his way of bolstering his self-esteem.” – Dr. Zimmern

“In many ways, Andrew’s home is his prison.” – Dr. Zimmern

“Jessica sees Andrew as a four-year-old emotionally who she cannot control. Andrew frustrates her – makes her angry. Jessica’s method of handling this anger is a head-on ‘in-your-face,’ abrasive, verbal counter attack with threats, which totally undermine Andrew’s security. He panics inside, another failure, which further undermines his fragile self-esteem. He fights back by disobedience and forgetfulness – the usual ploy of helpless creatures.” – Dr. Zimmern

“God was unkind to Andrew. He gave him Ilene Logan and her lovers, followed by David and Jessica Schwarz. No one can hurt him anymore. In the end, we all failed him. I should have saved him; now I must live with my failure.” – Dr. Zimmern

CUPP: “You don’t even know the day he died.”
DAVID SCHWARZ: “It was May 8.”
CUPP (Disgusted): “It was May 2.”
-- Bond hearing on 10/15/93

“It has been determined by the grand jury, based on the evidence presented, that HRS is not performing adequately to meet the public’s expectations to protect the general welfare of children.
“The investigation revealed that HRS’s policies and procedures were not followed. There was a lack of diligent follow-up and communication between counties, groups within the department, and with police investigators.
“Caseloads are placed with unreasonable time constraints. The Child Protection Team professionals’ recommendations were not implemented.” – Grand Jury regarding HRS

“Management of the records was inadequate….”
“Insufficient personnel was evident….”
“Communication appears to be inadequate….” – Grand jury regarding HRS

“Andrew J. Schwarz’s files had enough information in them to strongly suggest removing him from the home. There appeared to be an overwhelming drive by HRS to keep Andrew J. Schwarz with his natural father even when the Child Protection Team, staff meetings, and other documented information showed this was not in his best interest.” – Grand Jury regarding HRS

“When various departments pass requests back and forth to each other, there should be a structured follow-up. The various action items resulting from staffing meetings should be tracked to closure. This includes action items passed on to other departments and counties in South Florida. Independent verification and day-to-day supervision should ensure personnel are taking on their assigned accountabilities. CASES SHOULD NOT BE PREMATURELY CLOSED BEFORE ALL DEPARTMENTS HAVE COMPLETED THEIR ASSIGNED TASKS.
“Additional trained personnel are needed in the areas of Child Protective Services, Child Protective Investigations, and Quality Assurance. In order to meet this criteria, there needs to be sufficient resources.
“There needs to be more attention to detail when reviewing the caseworkers’ and investigators’ notes for trends, and that appropriate actions are initiated.” – Grand Jury regarding HRS

“Now, in his report, Dr. Burton tended to advise the opinion that it was the duty of the Medical Examiner to see that justice was done – or some statement like that – which sounds great in the press and the media. But I see nothing in the Florida Statute concerning the medical examiner’s office to relate to that issue.” – Dr. Benz, M.E.

“I owe it to every kid who has ever been afraid to close his eyes at night or who has ever had to crawl beneath the tightening grip of weak men and women who would cause them harm. I owe it to every parent who would rather die for their kids than inflict the physical or mental scars of wicked words and degrading gestures – of closed fists and closed minds. I owe it to the public at large because they are demanding accountability for AJ’s death. I owe it to my family and friends. And I owe it to AJ. May this trial earn him a grain of peace.” – Scott Cupp

“Mrs. Idrissi will tell you that that meeting left an indelible impression on her.
“She will tell you that Mrs. Schwarz insisted that Andrew not be given any schoolbooks….Why? Because Andrew had lost his books once before, and Mrs. Schwarz had refused to pay for them, and she wasn’t about to sign this year. She told Mrs. Idrissi that if she were a good teacher, she would be wise to Andrew. That he was a liar. That he was dishonest. That she didn’t trust him and he was sneaky.
“She said that he was not getting any school supplies because he didn’t know how to take care of them. That he would never know how to take care of them. She reiterated to Mrs. Idrissi that Andrew was a very bad boy.
“…And at that time, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Andrew was all of nine years old.
“… And where was Andrew while the defendant was calling him a liar? Calling him dishonest? Calling him a very bad boy?
“Well, you see, Andrew was standing right next to her – hearing every word – his eyes averted, saying nothing.
“This was his introduction to his new teacher.” – Scott Cupp

“Andrew said nothing. His little eyes never left the floor. He was humiliated.” – Mary Idrissi

“So when a teacher sees this off-task behavior going on, she shortens her lesson and checks them constantly. So if we were running spelling words six times each, I would have Andrew write them three times and let him come to my desk and let me see what he’d done well. This was the manner in my classroom. Andrew came to my desk; he would show me his words. I gave him many, many loves, hugs and squeezes, and he responded to that and he completed his work. He was a very bright boy.” – Mary Idrissi

“… The children don’t go just once down to the holiday shop; they can go several times. If they keep bringing money in, they are permitted to go. Well, the two weeks was coming toward an end. Andrew had not been – as yet – and so I gave him two dollars to go down. And I told him that he could go and purchase anything he wanted for himself – didn’t have to be a gift for home. Just with two dollars, you can buy a lot of nice little things. And what he bought was all for me. It was nothing for himself and I always treasured that – this was characteristic of Andrew.” – Mary Idrissi
(What the jury didn’t get to hear was that AJ had confided to his teacher that Jessica told him, “If you buy anything for me, I would burn it.”)

“’Mrs. I., I love you taking things away. It really brings the point home that no one is kidding as far as him being late. He had twenty-five minutes to get to school, so him being late – it took him fifty minutes to get to school? No way. And he’s grounded for the weekend and if he is late again, well, let’s just say he’s going to cry a lot. He had 3 ½, 4 hours last night and he still didn’t finish his homework. Like being late, he just doesn’t care and does what he wants. I look forward to him doing his handwriting over. I’ve tried. He hasn’t done one thing about it. Boy, this is really working out and I’m sorry I didn’t get along with you sooner. Sorry. Thanks. Oh, yes, we’ve gotten to the point with AJ, since he keeps doing the same things wrong over and over – we’re talking years – he gets no breaks, no rewards when he knows better. He loves to play games with people’s heads. He’s never gotten one over on me; dared his dad once or twice – me, never – and I won’t let that change. Beware of lies. Today he left the house at seven-thirty. Unless he’s bleeding, no reason on earth he should be late – none.’” – Mary Idrissi, reading a letter that Jessica Schwarz wrote to her.

“…In January, I called Child Protection Services, but when I felt that they didn’t do anything, I didn’t call anymore. I felt nothing was being done and I had done my part.” – Anne Steinhauer

“A guardian ad litem is a volunteer who is appointed by judges in various courts to aid and assist any child who is going through the legal process.” – Dr. Zimmern’s definition of a guardian ad litem

“The overwhelming thing I remember about Richard was his kindness – his humanity. Easily loved. When he broke down on the stand – briefly – I wanted to leave the courtroom. It was horrible! I wanted to scream. He loved AJ.” – Scott Cupp

“’Andrew must be treated again with imipramine, as suggested by Dr. Uttley, and HRS continue supervising this family, the court review this case in six months, the guardian ad litem continue to monitor this case.’” – Dr. Zimmern

“I certainly thought that the child needed to be removed from that home. It was my opinion that the child was a targeted child, he was being abused, and that the best thing we could do to protect him was to get him out of there.
“I felt this child was at terrible risk. I thought he was at the end of his rope. I thought we had to get him out of there quick.” – Dr. Rahaim

BROWN: “What are you looking for when you visit with a child?”
WYLLNER: “Whether there’s any indication of abuse, obvious neglect, whether the house is unsafe, if there’s food in the refrigerator, if the child is receiving medical care, things along that line are things we would look for.”
BROWN: “And up to this date, you haven’t seen anything?”
WYLLNER: “Nothing beyond our guidelines.”

“He had a very low self-esteem. This is one of the things I was working on and AJ wanted to be accepted so badly he would play the role of whatever you want him to do, to be accepted.” – Edwin Carpenter

“Anger, disgust, utter frustration. If ever [in my opinion] one person in that inept agency personified their overall incompetence, it was her – only she was incompetence with attitude.” – Scott Cupp, describing HRS worker Sandra Warren

“I may not be able to clearly define evil for you – not as a black-and-white statement lifted from the pages of a dictionary – but I can say without equivocation that I know it when I see it, and Jessica Schwarz will forever personify it in my eyes.” – Scott Cupp

“’Okay,’ I told myself, ‘so you may not be able to call his name or reach out to him [in the dream] – but you can make sure his voice is heard.” – Scott Cupp

CUPP: “You were taught right from wrong?”
JESSICA: “Yes, I was.”
CUPP: “Did your parents ever punch you?”

CUPP: “So, Mrs. Idrissi – who has thirty children to educate – has the audacity to single your child out and spoil him, right? That’s what she was doing?”
JESSICA: “In essence, she was changing the rules for him.”

CUPP: “You didn’t laugh at him in front of (Candace Ahern) and call him ‘shit for brains?’”
JESSICA (Nonchalantly): “Not in front of Candace Ahern.”
CUPP: “How about not in front of Candace Ahern?”

“This boy couldn’t tell anybody anything. He had nowhere to run – nowhere to go. His whole life was a living hell.” – Joseph Marx

“I had a recurring thought and it was this: That in today’s society we’ve come to accept violence as a way of life. We just accept that’s the way it is.
“We turn on the TV when we get home and we turn on the news. This person has been killed. This child has been kidnapped. And we just accept it because we can’t do anything about it.” – Joseph Marx

“Emotional abuse is just as deliberate as physical abuse.
“’You’re stupid.’ ‘You’re a worthless piece of shit.’ ‘I hate your fucking guts.’ She might as well have punched. It’s as deliberate as a gunshot. Emotional abuse scars the heart and damages the soul.
“This little boy’s spirit was broken. He was ten – ten years old – and his spirit was broken.” – Joseph Marx

“…And if you remember Dr. Rahaim’s testimony, what he was stating is that therapy – family therapy – individual therapy – is not a cure-all. There are times when what you need to do is take the kid out of the home.” – Scott Cupp

“How do Mr. Marx and I show you bruises? This case isn’t about bruises. You’re not going to hear one charge that AJ was beaten. His psyche was battered, bruised – ripped to shreds. How do I come in here and show you a picture of this kid’s soul? How do I show you a picture of his spirit?
“We did it by bringing people in here. Not a bunch of cops and not a bunch of people that I’ve got strings on, and certainly not a bunch of people from HRS. Because – make no mistake about it – the system failed this boy horribly.” – Scott Cupp

“This is about that!” – Scott Cupp as he pointed to Jessica

Citing the same abuses perpetrated on AJ:
JUDGE MARTIN: “Inappropriate parenting skills.”
JUDGE COLBATH: “Barbaric and grotesque.”

“I would be lying if I didn’t admit my personal satisfaction in Judge Martin allowing me to make Benz stand and demonstrate how that nameless, faceless police detective yelled at him during the meeting.” – Scott Cupp

After Judge Martin found Jessica guilty of murder, Scott Cupp laid his head on the table. Later, he told reporters: “Maybe now, AJ has some peace.”

“Do them (Jessica’s daughters) a favor and put her in jail and keep her there as long as possible. Protect these children from her.” – Joseph Marx

“One can only imagine what the infraction of the rules might have been that so aroused Jessica’s anger and rage that she could beat a child nearly to death with her bare hands and fists. And then hold the slender ten-year-old boy’s head underwater until he stopped struggling for his very life.” – Carol Rothgeb

“As sad and demeaning as AJ’s life was – he struggled to survive.” – Carol Rothgeb

“And what if AJ had been removed from Jessica and David’s house and placed in a loving foster home and received the help – and hugs – he so desperately needed? What if just one more neighbor would have called the authorities? So many ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys….’” – Carol Rothgeb

“I always found it curious that in the aftermath of the convictions and sentences – amid all the many words written and spoken about AJ, Jessica, and HRS, the state agency responsible for his care at the time of his murder – no one other than myself speculated about what AJ would have been like had he survived to become a young man. No one.” – Scott Cupp

“Child abuse is just too painful a subject. Yes, it is. It’s the kind of pain that creeps into your dreams. It’s the kind of pain that makes you weak. It’s the kind of pain we in America persist in refusing to deal with.” – Scott Cupp

“Maybe what AJ touches in us are thoughts that, for reasons largely unknown to us, we are ashamed of.” – Scott Cupp

“The child protective system in Florida, as I suspect is the case in most states, has been broken for decades. Children are being murdered and sexually and physically abused, and this, too, has been so for decades. Nothing is changing.” – Scott Cupp

“The law’s overemphasis on the biological link between parent and child should more easily give way when it is clearly established that parents have abused their children. This will, in the long run, strengthen the concept of family. The law must begin sincerely to apply to ‘the best interest of the child’ standard.” – Scott Cupp

“When children are finally removed from the people who have harmed them, why are they placed within a system that too often has been shown not able to do much better? The foster care system is broken.
“….It is clear that far too many children are left in abusive places, and far too many children stagnate in the purgatory of foster care.” – Scott Cupp


Newspaper Articles
Photo Galleries
Facts / Information
Red Flags

Order 'No One Can Hurt Him Anymore'