Trigger warning: contains sexually explicit material concerning a child predator and child molestation. This may be very difficult for some to read. This was originally posted on Removing The Fig Leaf June 21, 2016.
I started writing this post in 2013. I never could quite finish it. However, about a week ago I was with a group of other business people and community leaders taking a tour of our local county jail, and I saw my abuser there. Apparently he had been picked up for tampering with his tracking device.
People make fun of the word “triggered.” It means, to many, “I’m being overly sensitive and I want the world censored for me,” but I was standing in the control tower of the jail, and I saw his face and I was immediately flooded with memories that I’ve tried to pretend weren’t there for years. I immediately said it out loud to the person standing next to me, “That man molested me 20 years ago,” and she just stared at me not sure what to say. I don’t know why I had to say it outloud, but I did. I felt sick the rest of the day.
Last November (2012) I found out that a man had been released back into my community who had, 15 years prior, molested between 15-20 boys. I was one of them.
Before I continue this, I think it’s important to know that I’m not writing this to promote myself or ask for sympathy. What happened to me did cause some confusion during a tumultuous time in my life, but I’ve worked through most of those things and am quite comfortable discussing them. The point of this post is to give parents some tools to help them identify child predators and protect their children, as well as to ease discussion of a topic that is treated as taboo.
I’m not certain of the exact number of victims he left in his wake, but between 15 and 20 young boys at his karate school had been singled out to do things ranging from touching to more sinister acts. These acts were recorded on camera for his later enjoyment, and he was only caught and found guilty when his wife discovered the cassettes containing the abuse. I was not one of the boys on camera who told his parents about it. Every boy was silent while this abuse occurred – it took a chink in the predator’s armor to catch him. The victims themselves will rarely make it known unless the parents ask direct questions.
My abuser focused on young boys who had no father figure in their lives, or who had unreliable ones. He attempted to become friends with his victims and took them to movies or to his house to watch wrestling or MMA pay-per-view without parental supervision. He knew that the mothers of these children, like my own, would be glad that someone had taken an interest in their child when the father had failed to do so. They would be unlikely to suspect that the reason he wanted to spend time with us had nothing to do with our benefit.
The Grooming Process
Grooming is the process of establishing a rapport and friendship with a child and their parents in order to lower their inhibitions and ease the predator’s access to them. Child molesters are almost never fly-by-night predators. They generally insert themselves into the lives of their victims long before making them victims. More often than not, the predator is a family member or person close to the family. They don’t go into bathrooms dressed as women and rape kids they’ve never met. That’s not reality.