Sometimes life heads in a direction you never expected. I am in the most depressing computer lab on campus, listening to the whir of restricted printing, reflecting on the past 6 months. It is a fact that I was in a very dark place.
I functioned as one dragging cement blocks and chains would. I finally feel as though the cement is gone and the chains are falling off. I'm taking a poetry class this semester and I fully intend on it being a cathartic place for me. I've bottled my rage and now I have a way to release it without exploding.
I also started working out again and I've lost 7 pounds in a little over 3 weeks. It helps too, that I can't eat the bad stuff anymore. It makes me physically ill to eat gluten (wheat, rye, barley), so my diet has improved tremendously.
The boys are doing well. Cameron is in weekly therapy sessions and he's learning how to trust again. It's a slow process but he's coming along well. My Caden is as happy as ever and is thriving in the first grade. I am thankful that he wasn't affected as much as Cameron is.
Life goes on. We either learn to adapt or we don't. I think I have finally broken through and now I'm adapting too.
I have never been very good at hiding my emotions. I wear my joy and my sorrow out there for everyone to see. These past two years have been the hardest in my life and I feel like I have lost a part of myself. I am wracked with guilt over what happened to my boys. It seems like it is harder for me to deal with than it was for them. They are the true victims and I'm the one who is still trying to heal.
I have developed medical issues and found myself in the torments of depression. Coupled with no medical insurance, it makes this an impossible thing to overcome. On several occasions, I seriously contemplated suicide....well, murder/suicide.....I'd take out the bastard that hurt my boys as long as I was putting out my own lights in the process.
I've gained 15-20 pounds since May. I was a chunky girl to begin with, but now I'm just fat. I have NO energy and hardly sleep. When I do sleep, I have horrible nightmares.
I already said that I can't hide my emotions, so why is it that the people who are closest to me have no idea what's going on? Are they really that oblivious? Did they just stop caring?
I wish my life never went down this path, but since I can't change the past, I have to figure out how to deal with the present so I can have a better future.
A dormant monster entered my life when I was 12. He was my parent's friend's new boyfirend. He treated my sister and I like we were his own children. My family accepted him into our lives with open arms, blissfully unaware of the torture he would put us through in the future.
In two days, he will plead guilty to 2 third degree felony charges. The first is for criminal sexual contact of a minor. The second is negligent child abuse. My young children (ages 7 and 4) were left in his care, just as they had been many many times before. This man was our trusted friend. He took advantage of that trust and used my oldest son for his sick sexual gratification.
It's nearly impossible to not have blamed myself. I put them in that situation, I left them there. Thoughts ring through my head..."if I had only known, I could have stopped it." I still feel like killing him. Everyday I struggle with my own inner monster that just wants to end him. It's been 2 years...almost to the day. I hate him. I HATE HIM. He stole my children's innocence. They will never be what they once were. I had to explain masterbation and oral sex to 2 little boys WAY before they should ever have learned about it in health class. I just want to make them (and me) whole again.
I have to make a victim's impact statement on Thursday in front of the judge and I'm stumped. I don't know where to start or what to say. I have been unable to write ANYTHING since this happened. I was once a very active member on this board and now, it's difficult to even play on the games board. I've cocooned myself in my misery and I can't find my way out. Depression and guilt are very powerful things. Our lawyer keeps telling me that this ordeal is almost over, but I find myself just beginning to try and heal.
I recieved a call yesterday morning from the Sergeant who belittled me last week. He called to tell me that the Detective in charge of our case has finished her investigation and turned it over to the DA. He didn't apologize, but I didn't expect him to. Word from our friend on the force is that the Chief of Police chewed him a new a-hole. The next step in this process is to see of the DA will send it to a Grand Jury. (I don't see why she wouldn't.)
I just want what any other mother wants, justice for her children. I want to keep them safe, and now I know that I can't even trust the people I've known since childhood to keep my boys out of harms way.
And the letter I wrote in response, and their reply:
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Letters to the Eye: In Their Own Words
Often when we post stories about the goings on in some department or court case, family members contact us with more information about the story itself. Sometimes it corrects mistakes or clarifies facts. Other times these emails add a whole new dimension to the story.
After our post Disturbing Behavior, we received one such email. The author wishes to remain anonymous and since this case involves allegations of criminal sexual behavior, the author has withheld the names of the detectives assigned to the case and of course the accused.
Although the letter does not contain specific allegations regarding the accused, our Eyes tell us that that acts of the accused are particularly contemptible.
Disturbing Behavior - The Parents' Side
It has been brought to our attention that one of your Eyes gave you a heads up regarding the situation involving our two boys, ages four and seven. We are sending this in an effort to clarify the details of our plight, and pray that pointing the “Eye” in their direction won’t cause our case to get “lost”.
This nightmare started the day our children told us that a close family friend who watched them had sexually abused them. We did what any competent parents would do, called CPS and APD. CPS advised us that since the perpetrator didn’t live in the home, they wouldn’t investigate. APD sent out an officer nearly 20 hours after our initial call to make a report. An officer took the report and was extremely helpful. He even called us later that evening to let us know who the detective would be and when she would be calling.
“Detective A” (for the sake of protecting our boys, we have chosen not to name any names) called the next day and we set up an appointment for the following day at All Faith’s Receiving Home. Our children were interviewed (video and audio taped) and “Detective A” spoke with us afterwards. She suggested that we get a restraining order and told us where we could get help obtaining one. She also said that she would contact the offender, provide him with a “No Contact” order, and offer him a chance to tell his side of the story. She further said that she would have the report typed up quickly and get it off to the DA’s office by the end of the next week and we could hopefully expect an indictment soon.
That same day, we obtained a restraining order through the Victim’s Advocacy office. We left feeling confident that things would be dealt with swiftly and our children would be safe. Throughout the weekend, however, the offender attempted to contact various family members by phone. We avoided the phone calls, and the family members that did answer only made small talk so as not to give him details of the pending action against him. This was clearly in violation of the restraining order, so we called “Detective A” immediately to inform her that he was trying to contact us. We got her voicemail and left a message. On Monday, we called again and got a full voicemail box, and at that point I called 242-COPS to find out what to do. Another officer was sent over to make a report. He called for the status of the restraining order and it hadn’t been served. The order was in place Wednesday afternoon and 5 days later it still hadn’t been served. We had absolutely no recourse against him for violating an order that he had no knowledge of.
The next day, “Detective A” finally called back and told us that she and an advocate would make contact with the suspect and serve the restraining order. She went that afternoon and then took him for an interview where he of course denied the allegations. That’s the last time we heard from “Detective A” personally. We figured she would have had ample time to write the report and send it to the DA. Last week, we called the DA’s office to find out the status on the case, since “Detective A” had stopped returning our phone calls. The DA’s office had no record of it. We called “Detective A” again and left another message, and then we called her supervisor. “Supervisor B” returned our call the next day and said since our kids “weren’t raped or sitting in the emergency room with broken bones that they aren’t high on the priority list.” He further said “victims with offenders still living in the household take precedence. Emergencies are dealt with first, and (our) inquiries were doubling or tripling “Detective A’s” work load.” Please note that if our calls had been returned the first time, we wouldn’t have left 5 or 6 more messages, and certainly wouldn’t have called the DA’s office and then the supervisor.
Look, we completely understand that these things take time. It takes a lot of work to put a case together before it’s submitted to the District Attorney’s office so that the case is as strong as possible. We certainly don’t want this animal to get away with what he’s done. But all we’ve asked for is communication, and we are certainly entitled to at least that. We have a right to know where our case stands, and when this man will be indicted, arrested, and punished. And while we concede to the fact that there are children out there that are in greater danger and jeopardy than ours, it does not mitigate the fact that our children were sexually molested. We want justice for our children just as much as the other parents want justice for theirs.
It takes maybe 3 minutes to return a phone call and explain where things stand. We understand that the detectives in this unit have a huge case load and are understaffed, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that our case is “not a high priority”. Our children, especially the seven year old, are terrified that this man is going to come hurt them since they told on him. How do we reassure them that they are safe, when we can’t even count on law enforcement to serve a restraining order or even update us on the status of our case? We are good parents, have worked hard to protect our kids and arm them with the knowledge they needed to protect themselves. We never dreamed that something like this could happen, but when it did, we felt we did everything right. We find it unbelievable that “Detective A” couldn’t simply pick up the phone and call us back, and even more unbelievable that this supervisor would chastise and lecture us for simply wanting information on where we stood in the process. It certainly shakes our faith in the system.
We trusted the man that molested our boys implicitly. Our children loved him, and he used their love and trust for his own sick sexual gratification. We never, in a million years, would have thought he would be capable of doing something so absolutely disgusting and demented. Now we realize, despite knowing this man for nearly 20 years, that we really have no idea who he is or what he is capable of. The fact that he lives a block or two away from an elementary school is even more troubling. You would think that would be a pretty high priority, right?
In closing, there are a couple of details that need to be corrected in your story. While we did discover and report this incident in late July, we are UNSURE of how long it has been going on. The kids say this particular incident was the first and only time, but there are behaviors that our children have exhibited prior to our discovery of the molestation that lead us to believe otherwise. It is highly possible, and even likely (in our opinion) that this has happened before, and the kids simply don’t remember or have repressed. But at this point we can only prove this recent incident. This man has been a family friend for many years, and he has watched our children many, many times, so that aspect of your story is correct.
We want to thank “The Eye” for your attention to our story, and hope that our case gets the attention it deserves, and that justice is served for our children. We will keep you posted as things develop.
Two very frustrated and disappointed parents
We understand why parents would be concerned. Their faith in a family friend has already been betrayed and now the people charged protecting their kids from predators like this "friend" are acting as if their case and their children don't matter - yet another betrayal. The last thing that these folks want to do is anger the people in charge of their case, but fear and frustration are powerful motivators and when your children are involved there's little a parent won't do to make sure their children are safe.
Officers over at the CAC unit need to remember that there's no child that isn't a priority. Parents of child victims need constant communication and updates. After all, it's a parent's responsibility to protect their child and to help them heal. Parents can't go on vacation, and they can't move on to some other priority as long as there's a chance that their child may still be in danger - particularly since most parents would already be feeling (wrongly) that they had failed their child or were somehow responsible. When a child has been through something like this, parents don't give a damn whether or not the courts are clogged, the police have other priorities, or the DA is overworked - they demand and deserve justice for their children.
Separate names with a comma.