I Hope There Is A Special Hell
I hope there is a special kind of hell for those twisted souls who abuse children.
I spent my morning sitting in a court room listening to a long list of pre-trial proceedings. I arrived early, wanting a good seat in what I knew would be a crowded court room. I was there for one reason... I wanted to look into the face of the pedophile who hurt someone close to my heart. That turned out better than I had anticipated.
This man (using the word in the physiological sense only) in his late thirties, is currently up on charges of felony sexual assault in two separate counties in Texas, both where the child lived before, and here where she lives now. It had been dropped there once before, but charges were reinstated after the current charges were file here. He is out on bond, quickly arranged. Money is not a problem for his family.
He entered the courtroom not long after me, following behind an older man that might have been his father. I don't know, it doesn't matter. The man headed into my row, which at that point was mostly empty, and mister pedophile had no choice but to follow.
Our eyes met as he crossed in front of me. He recognized me instantly, as I knew he would. I have talked with him on the phone in the past, and I was a visitor in his home a few years back, when people I care about were staying there. I didn't feel comfortable with him even then, never felt right about the situation, nor did my husband, and we said so to those involved. He called himself a devout Christian. I wonder how he defined the word.
So there he and I sat today, maybe five feet apart with nothing but empty space between us until right before the proceedings began and the courtroom filled up. He looked at me, I looked at him, he looked at his feet. He has lost weight, he doesn't look good. I hear that his wife has divorced him. Apparently she finally found her backbone. I worry about his own two small daughters, and all the girls on the ball teams he loved to umpire.
His turn on the docket was brief, as they all were. Today was just about setting hearings. The proceedings were quiet, relatively informal, and very hard to hear. Something was said about an offer that has been made by the State, and a hearing date wasn't set, so I take that to me there is a plea bargain in the works. A person who helped facilitate one encounter between him and the victim has already pled guilty, and there is ample evidence against him.
Then the attorney from DA's office informed the judge that the defendant had been in contact with the victim after being released on bond. The judge called him to the front and asked him if he had been in contact with her, which of course is a violation. He stated that she had texted him (which I don't doubt is true) and that he had responded. The judge was not pleased and warned him sternly that any further communication between him and the victim would result in him being sent back to jail. At that point they continued on with the next case and I left. I will find out more about what has transpired in a day or so.
I would like to say I felt anger or hatred toward him, as I must admit I do for more than one man who has similarly damaged the life of people I love deeply. Instead, I felt a tremendous sadness. My heart aches to understand how a person can become so twisted and sick inside as to allow themselves and their behavior to cross over the line, to do something so very vile without a thought or care for their innocent victims. I wanted to ask why, but I know there are no answers that could justify such premeditated evil.
In this particular case the victim wasn't a young child, but she was immature enough to be easily lured in and seduced. It doesn't take much to convince a child who is desperate for love and attention that you are their soulmate and savior. Part of her is still convinced he loves her and she loves him. He told her they would be together, and I have no doubt she would jump at that opportunity if it presented itself. She doesn't really fully understand why what he did was wrong. But she was a minor, and it was wrong, terribly wrong. Sickening, disgusting, demented... evil.
I wish I could say she is the only person I know who was a sexually abused as a child. The truth is, I know dozens. We all probably do. It is a pervasive sickness in our society. I don't know if it happens more now days or is just talked about more. Probably the latter, since in the past families kept such dark secrets under wraps and the perpetrators were never held account for their crimes. The children were treated as they were somehow responsible for the adult's aberrant behavior, not as the victims they really were. What I find most disturbing is that in the vast majority of these cases, at least one family member in addition to the pedophile knew or at least suspected what was going on, and yet they allowed it to continue.
There should have been another name on the docket today, the name of the victim's mother who created this situation and then allowed it to continue after she knew what was going on. What kind of mother allows their own child to be abused? I really don't know if I can ever look her in the face again, and the time will come when I will need to do so. I hope by then I will have found some forgiveness, but I'm not holding my breath on that. I try hard to be a forgiving person... hate the deed not the doer, and all that, but in the situation of innocent children being abused, I just don't know if I ever can, because the damage done to them lasts a lifetime.
So we will see what happens in this case, at least this man, unlike others I know who got away with it, is facing felony charges and will undoubtedly have to register as a sex-offender for the rest of his life, whatever good that does. Will he get time off for good-behavior? Can we give the time of innocence back to to his victim, or any of the children scarred by this crime? I am strongly in favor of castration for child-molesters, it proves to be far more effective than "re-education".
I'm not sure I believe in a literal heaven or hell, but I find myself truly hoping there is a special kind of hell for those who hurt our children, where they can spend an eternity living with the pain and suffering they have caused.