I awoke this morning to the horrible news of the death of George Neumayr. George was someone I consider a hero and for whom I had great admiration. We can talk another time about the unusual circumstances of the past day. For the record, I do fear that something nefarious was at play. For now, though, all of that is neither here nor there. I pray for the repose of George’s soul and the consolation of his family. Allow me to share a personal story that encapsulates why this man will be missed.
In the summer of 2019 I had some information that I wanted to share with George. I did not know him personally but I had been following his work for some time. The man seemed to be the only investigative journalist actually doing his job and his work on helping to expose McCarrick was of particular interest to me. So I took a chance. I sent him a friend request on Facebook. To my surprise he accepted and subsequently we struck up a conversation through private messages.
“I have some information I think you might be able to use in your investigations,” I said to him. “Can you meet up?” he replied. I told him that I’d be in Northern Virginia within a day or two and we agreed to meet at a coffee shop in Alexandria. I have to admit I kind of “fanboyed” when I saw him walk in the door. And yet, the moment he spoke I knew this was a man of humility. I told him of how I had been in McCarrick’s seminary, had worked in TV news, was a Catholic school administrator, and that I had been following his work and really appreciated his exposes. At times the videos he would post with his stories were more compelling than an episode of Law & Order. In particular I asked him what it was like when he discovered that Teddy had been stashed in a DC Archdiocese-owned house to live with Bishop Dorsonville as his minder. George had knocked on the door and been let in by the housekeeper. He then promptly went looking throughout the residence for McCarrick himself! “What was that like,” I asked, assuming he would say it was “no big deal” or “all in a day’s work”.
“I was scared out of my mind,” he said. “Really?!” I asked. He regaled me with this tale. He had gone there not expecting what happened and yet, as he said, when the door was opened and he was let in, he knew he had to act. “But my heart was racing the whole time for sure.” I can’t put exclamation points at the end of his sentences because he was very measured and it just doesn’t seem right to give his words any level of excitability.
I also share with him something I knew he would find of interest. A year prior I had occasion to be in the security office of a large church in the nation’s capital. There, on the back of the door of the security office, was the infamous wanted poster. George had frequently mentioned that he had been barred from entry to this church because of his work. The church insisted they had no such order in place. I saw the picture. George was correct. He giggled when I told him, vindicated but, I suspect a little incredulous that he was on an actual wanted poster.
Flash forward a month. I’m not the only member of the Harvey family with a nose for news and who was also a fan of George’s work – and who also seems to be mixed up in bizarre situations. My older sister asked me if I could put her in touch with George. She had come across something she thought he could use in his crusade to expose the rot in the Church. So one evening she made a Facetime call to yours truly. She was sitting on her front porch. Nothing out of the ordinary here. She and her husband enjoy nights on the porch with a cocktail in the warm New Jersey summer. And then she turned the phone as she said, “Say hello to George.” There, sitting on a wicker rocking chair was the man himself. He had given her the same courtesy of following up on her lead as he had given to me. He had called her to inquire more of her story and said, “I’m at Penn Station. Where can we meet?” Naturally, she and her husband drove to the station and picked him up. And then they hung out on the porch for a while like old friends. While I was on the phone with him, several of my sister’s kids (all in their twenties) had come home from work. When they saw George Neumayr sitting there having a beer with their mom and dad they legitimately flipped. You thought I fanboyed? George thought this was amusing that he was known by younger Catholics as well as those of us a bit more seasoned. As I recall it was George Neumayr who that night had mentioned to my sister (who passed it along to me) that we really ought to be reading a site called Canon212. Thank you, George. It’s my homepage now.
Do you know what happened next? My sister, my brother-in-law, and George Neumayr got in the car and drove to a local mall. It wasn’t for the great sales… George had been working on bringing to light a situation involving a young laicized priest who had been accused of sexual misconduct. My sister knew where the guy worked. He had been her salesman. They drove there and walked in the door and George got his story. He wrote about it here. Unfortunately the link to the video of the encounter in the story is dead. But I have the original. I thought of posting it. It’s 15 minutes long. Some of you may remember watching it when he first published it. Instead here’s a screen grab. It is George doing what he did best. At one point early on, George asks a series of rapid-fire questions like a dog on a bone, starting with, “Was Monsignor X your pimp?”
George Neumayr was a tenacious reporter and a man fed up by the depravity of the men in the Church founded by Jesus Christ. He will be missed. I doubt we will see the likes of him again soon. Pray for his soul.
St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for us!
St. George, pray for us!