My story goes back to 1968, when my oldest uncle Bobby, home from reform school, forced me to orally copulate him while his younger brothers watched in horror and disbelief. I was five years old and that day has stuck with me in my memory to this day.
Before this happened I was a happy boy. Everyone commented to my parents how happy I seemed to be, how full of love. And in one minute, that was all taken away from me. The only thing I wanted from my uncles was acceptance in their group. My hope (as reasoned by a 5 year old) was that if I was an insider, then the incessant teasing I endured from them would stop. After that act, my uncle looked me directly in the eyes, his eyes cold and black and flat. He said, “tell anyone and I will kill you”. I never mentioned it to anyone until I was 17 and he was 2 years in the grave, shot in the head during a drug deal gone bad.
Fast forward to 2001. I am 40. I have a family, a good job, everything that on the outside looked perfect. Inside however, I was harboring a dark secret. My internal, emotional life was falling apart. I thought myself evil (I had lots of confused thoughts on religion, part of my religious upbringing and part of my strong devotion to the world of science). This was the powder keg inside waiting for a spark. The match that light the powder keg was a huge fight I had at my start up company. It left me feeling worthless.
The same feelings I had after my molest, the feeling that had really never left me. I was laid off and this started a downward spiral into the “pit of despair”. Instead of doing the right thing (seeking psychological help), I instead turned to my daughter and did to her what had been done to me so long before.
It started with sexual fantasies in the week leading up to the molest. During the molest, I went out of myself. I saw my uncle looking down at me with his cold, dark eyes. I heard my daughter say, “Daddy, what are you doing?”. I looked down and there was my daughter, her eyes filling with tears. I had touched her with a vibrating massage device over her underwear. I felt so horrible and sick. This is not to say there was not planning (there was, for several days), nor was this a cop out (I admitted my guilt in court), but it was the only time before or since that I have been “out” of the room I was in. Several psychologists have referred to it was splitting. My moral self could not be in the same room as my immoral self, doing the bad act. And this is one of the worst things I did (second only to the molest itself).
I told my daughter right afterwords that if she told anyone what had happened, I would go to jail and our family would be broken up and that her brothers would not have a Dad. This set up a guilt inside her that she should not have had to bear. This was the one and only time it happened. This statement is not meant to minimize the impact and trauma the molest had on her. nor it’s impact on our family, her brothers and sister and of course my wife.
16 months after the molest, while playing a “truth or dare” game with friends, the truth came out. Instead of denying what happened when it came out (something I was told by my lawyer would have been a strong strategy for avoid being charged in the first place) I corroborated my daughters story, item by item. In fact, I was told this was the only time the police had ever had a victim and perpetrator’s stories be so exact. They even thought I had rehearsed this with my daughter before hand (I had not). I told my layer that I would not plead anything that would have my daughter have to take the stand and be called a liar.
Because of my cooperation, I was able to strike a plea bargain to avoid state prison time. I was placed on 3 years probation with life time 290 registration. I attended every weekly meeting required of me and in the process found the demons that had been fighting me all along and exorcised them (figuratively). I know my risk factors as does my wife. I remain vigilant, never wanting to repeat the mistakes I have made in the past.
I am not currently on the public website because of the fact I had received probation and qualified for exclusion of the web site because it was my daughter who was my victim. I lived through exile from my daughter for 10 years with zero contact. She wanted none and I didn’t want to cause her any more pain.
And then two Christmases ago, she wanted to talk on the phone. I was able to tell he how sorry I was for all the pain I had caused her. She was surprised I admitted everything I had done. She had been told many bad things about me by those who were trying (in their own misguided way) to keep her apart from me. They fed her anger (she had lots). But slowly, over time, she reentered my life. That Christmas was the first in 10 years where all of my children and my wife were together. Her forgiveness above all else means the most to me. I can take whatever society has to throw at me. The people that matter the most to me, my family, have reconciled and worked through the process of forgiveness.
It has been a long journey. I am thankful for so many people that helped me along the way. I know that there are many on the list that don’t deserve to be there under any circumstance. I sometimes feel guilty when they talk of people on the list for public urination. Why should I, a person who DID molest his daughter, fight to get off the list?
But in the end, it comes down to the rule of law and justice. I served my time, metered out by a judge who saw the facts of my case and decided on my punishment. I served my time. Why keep on adding rule after rule to us registrant. We are a group which is easy to hate, hard to defend (we all want this to go away because of the shame factor) and the legislators know this. After 2003, they came on hard and strong and non-stop, until we have a draconian set of rules sprinkled through out hundreds of pages of civil and criminal code (I wish I were exaggerating). I am still frustrated by a world hell bent on exacting justice on me and others similarly situated. I will work on helping to support this organization and the good work they do to help us all wipe out the stigma we are wear.
I am filing (thanks to Tirey) for a certificate of rehabilitation. If I am granted that, I hope to argue for what my probation would have given anyone other than a 290 registrant a chance at: reversal of my plea to a “not guilty”, followed by expungement. I am one of the lucky ones. I have kept the same job (13 years and counting) though this whole process. I have risen to the level of director due to my strong work ethic and positive attitude. Many people at work ask me how is it I can remain so calm and level headed when we are having a system crisis. I tell them I have been through much worse. I have come out the other side a better person, husband, father and now grandfather.
I am thankful for finding this web site. I am thankful for finding others like me who are willing to stand up and fight back (even if my fighting is only by writing checks to this organization). I am thankful for Janice and other good people who have made this their fight, even though they are not on the registry. They see the injustice wrought by these laws, tainting what is otherwise the best system of government ever devised by mankind.
And I am thankful each day I wake up and am given another chance to “get it right”.
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