Monday, May 19, 2014

Random: Watergate criminal lived in Colorado Springs

Posted By on Mon, May 19, 2014 at 1:05 PM

click to enlarge A Google Maps screenshot of the company's downtown headquarters on Cascade Avenue.
  • A Google Maps screenshot of the company's downtown headquarters on Cascade Avenue.

Contained within the news that key Watergate figure Jeb Magruder died last week — leaving a legacy that includes revealing the news that President Nixon himself was involved with the break-ins from the beginning — were tidbits about his time spent in Colorado Springs in the '70s, helping lead the youth-oriented evangelical Christian ministry Young Life. (We've contacted YL for any comment they may have on Magruder's time, and will update this post if we hear back.)

"Magruder said in 2003 for the first time that he remembered listening in on the phone as Nixon gave the go-ahead for the plan to bug the Democratic headquarters at Washington's Watergate complex," wrote the Lexington Herald-Leader.

A story by the Chicago Tribune published June 13, 1976 gives the best look at Magruder, who spent seven months in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice. 

"After prison, Magruder joined the staff of Young Life, a nondenominational Christian organization based in Colorado Springs," reporter Joan Zyda wrote. "He has been its vice president for administration and communications for 10 months.

"In the small Colorado community nestled under Pike's Peak, Magruder has found peace and quiet, away from the social and political rat race."

Magruder stayed here until 1978, when he left to enter the Princeton Theological Seminary. Here are a couple other anecdotes we found, though, about the time spent here before that happened:

• From pastor Steve Molin: 
The first night we were there, we were nervous, sitting in a dining room surrounded by a hundred people and we didn’t know a one of them. But the couple across the table from us seemed really nice. Jeb and Gail were quite a bit older than us and I wondered why someone who was, like, 40, was starting a career in youth ministry. But he had a cool name; “Jeb.” I had never met a Jeb before. And as he and Gail talked about their lives and their family, I realized who he was. ...

But Jeb’s life wasn’t ruined, because during the 9 months he served in a federal penitentiary, Jeb Magruder came back to faith in Jesus Christ, and he told Marsha and me that he couldn’t go back to politics, he couldn’t even go back to Washington. ...  But what Jeb said is what he did; he served on Young Life staff while completing a seminary degree, and went on to serve as a pastor for 20 years in the Presbyterian Church of the USA.  
• From El Paso Times journalist Bob Moore:


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