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la luz 5Is there a difference between a pedophile, child molester and a predator?  Until the whole #FreeKate uproar over Kate Hunt, I did not believer there was.  Unfortunately, in order to try and comprehend what is going on here, I’ve had to do some research into the subject.  Having been the victim of someone who was a pedophile, this has been extremely therapeutic for me.  During the process, I’ve also learned there is a difference between the three, which can, but are not necessarily interchangeable.

In delving into this subject, it has been a learning experience.  As with any topic, you eventually learn to navigate through the misconceptions and the misinformation.  There is a very real problem dealing with NAMBLA, the far right, and learning the difference.  NAMBLA basically wants to normalize sexual relations between children and adults.  Their advocates are plentiful, and like roaches, have a tendency to muddy the waters, considerably.  The same holds true of the religious right.  Anything that might ‘reek’ of gay/lesbian is evil, ergo, it i to be equated with the worst of the evil – the molestation of children.  My real problem with the far right, in this instance, is that they aren’t exactly getting their facts straight, literally.

There is a misconception, a gross one at that, where gays are pedophiles.  Nothing can be farther than the truth.

“…The link between pedophilia and homosexuality is completely unfounded. A 1998 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association notes one study that determined that 90 percent of pedophiles are men, and that 98 percent of these individuals are heterosexual. Michael Stevenson, Ph.D., a psychologist at Ball State University, explains this statistic by noting that “gay men desire consensual sexual relations with other adult men. Pedophiles are usually adult men who are sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children. They are rarely sexually attracted to other adults.” Stevenson observes that cases of pedophilia by adult lesbians are “almost non-existent.” Two other major studies that examined the sexual orientation of convicted child molesters found that less than 1 percent in one study and 0 percent in the other were lesbian or gay. These studies were published in Pediatrics and Archives of Sexual Behavior, respectively, two peer-reviewed, widely respected academic journals. Preventing gay men and lesbians from becoming adoptive parents or foster parents does not protect children from sexual abuse. It simply perpetuates anti-gay prejudice….”

Once both sides are eliminated, the science, psychology, sociology, and criminal actuality of the subject is quite interesting.  It is helping me understand what happened when I was a little kid.  What I am learning is that the person who basically destroyed thirty years of my life was not your ‘normal’ run of the mill pedophile or child molester. He was probably worse, toeing the line between both worlds, child pornography, and predatory behavior that, in my case, came very close to kidnapping and murder.  Yes, it helps to go there, to face the cold hard facts, and start a new scab on a wound that has been healing.

I was in the third grade.  The little country school I attended had hired a new principal.  He was oily, charming, appeared to adore children, and lived in the little house, next door, with his wife, who taught third grade, and their son, who was my age.  (Long story short, the son is now one an activist against pedophiles, having, apparently, stopped what we were later to learn was multi-generational abuse.)

The people who hired this man never bothered checking into his background. If so, they would have discovered he had dishonorable discharge from the Army, having been caught molesting the children of the nursery and day care he ran on the base where he was assigned.  As was typical in those days, instead of being prosecuted, the man was sent to the state mental hospital.  He was hired, sight unseen, having been released from the hospital a few months earlier.  No records were ever checked.

The man bubbled. He bounced around, reciting poetry, having fun with the kids, just making school something exciting.  Then – my mother decided the school needed a PTA.  He didn’t like that.  He did though, being the good bi-sexual that he was, have a thing on my father.  My father, being the good former Merchant Marine that he was, lost no time in telling the man where to go, how to get there, and what to do along the way.

He took it out on me.  It was a slow, insidious campaign, begun, from what I do remember, the morning that I was late for school.  My mother had serious health problems, that nearly led to her death, a few years later when an ovarian cyst the size of a grapefruit ruptured, spreading peritonitis to such a degree that it took years for her to recover.  When I was a little kid, as I was then, there were some mornings when she was terribly ill, with no one bothering to even delve into her medical history and offer a simple solution of a hysterectomy. They weren’t doing that in those days.  She was just a hysterical woman with too much time and money on her hands.  The principal manipulated this into her making trouble at the school.

I was punished for her physical illness.  At the same time, I was allowed to play with a friend who lived near the little school.  As kids would have it, in those days, we roamed the whole area, even going to visit the principal and his wife.  While I am writing this, it has dawned on me that the man’s wife was just as bad as was he.  There were things that went on in their house that I don’t even want to recall.  I remember one rainy fall afternoon, my friend and I were in her bedroom playing Barbie.  He showed up, and left me with a very real dislike of rainy fall afternoons.

Then came the day I was pulled from class.  I remember him pulling me through the hall, as I screamed, and cried.  Not one single teacher would help me.  I remember being put into a closet, in the cold and in the dark.  He threatened me with a letter opener.  If my mother had not come looking for me, after school, I would have been a statistic.

Two days later I was enrolled in a school in town.  The principal there, Harry Hamilton, would eventually, along with his wife become good friends, once I was grown.  Harry and I were involved in Republican politics on a county level, along with his wife, and brother-in-law, the legendary Devoe Blackstone, who was basically Mr. Republican in Oconee County for many years.  When I was county chair, we managed to sweet-talk Harry into running for County Council.  He won.

At the time, when Harry was principal of Northside, his brother, Fred was the county school superintendent.  He remained there, in that position long after I graduated.  The following year, Harry moved on, eventually becoming the principal of Seneca High, when I was there.  It helped to have a good relationship with him, especially when I developed this tendency to skip school to go hang out with the likes of Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, and anyone who could swing a Major League bat.

Immediately after I was put in the new school, the former principal began sneaking around the school.  He tried kidnapping me from the school, several times.  Harry was wonderful, understanding, far ahead of the times.  I was put in a classroom where the teacher kept it locked at all times.  I was not allowed out of the class without a specified adult escort.  I was only allowed to go so far from certain, hand picked teachers, during recess.  The following year, when I developed my life-long passion for reading, it was much easier.  During lunch or recess, they would simply lock me in the classroom, and I’d sit there and read.  The following year I tested out as reading on a 12th grade level.  I think my love of the written word saved my life and my sanity.

The jerk prowled around our home at night, trying to break in to kidnap me.  There were terrifying nights when I could see his silhouette on the wall, hear him trying to open the windows.  Today, we would recognize it as being stalked and terrorized.  Then, the local law enforcement officials didn’t even bother going after him.  I developed a fear of the night, of looking out into the night, and opening the shades in my room.  It was not until I was in my late thirties did I begin raising the shades in my bedroom.  I still don’t like looking outside at night.

Eventually the monster moved on, having been finally threatened.  I’m not even going in to what I now think was going on within the county.  There’s no use.  I just think some of my darkest fears, some of the worst things you can accuse people of doing was going on there.  I’ve also come to realize that there was a very disgusting shadow of incest among certain factions.  There were suicides, institutionalized young people, and lives that were never given the opportunity to even blossom.

I was the fortunate one.

The last we heard about this person is that he was arrested in another county, when he was discovered in a house where he kept photos and a group of at least forty boys he had been molesting, off and on. Everything else was covered up, as usual.  When I finally began to talk, my father hired a private investigator to find out what happened to the man.  Every single record of him having been in Oconee County had been removed.

Unfortunately, I was also the one with the mouth.  When I began to recover, I began telling everything I knew and remembered.  That’s when the death threats began.  The stalking had continued, off an on, for years.  I did not really notice it until a friend, who had been doing mission work in Peru returned.  The Star Wars Trilogy had just been released on video.  We were at my parents’ home, house-sitting, while they were out of town.  It was a Sunday evening, around dusk.  It was near Christmas.  I smelled smoke and thought I saw someone behind the bushes.

Our neighbors, and a bunch of friends were having a big party, to which I had been invited, but was hanging out with my friend.  I called the friend who was the PI, who was at the party.  He came over, with several of the men and began a thorough search outside.  They found cigarette butts.  It also helped me eliminate just about every neighbor we had, as a suspect.

After that, the stalking continued.  It reached the point where the county sheriff came out, and we went over everything.  The person was quite regular, to the point where a friend, who was also a cop, created a spread-sheet of the days he would appear.  We noted that the person never showed up during major sporting events.  Other than that, his schedule was so regular, the sheriff knew the days of the month to increase patrols in my part of the county.

He tampered with my car.  I was fortunate enough to have it literally fall apart (don’t ask me to explain) when I was in Clayton, New Mexico.  The person who fixed the car turned out to be the former high school boyfriend of someone who is now a good friend.  (Small world).  He found where screws had been removed from certain parts of the car.  Before even showing me, he called in the local cops, called my father, had the local cops call our county sheriff.  By then, there were federal interstate stalking laws in place, thanks in no small part to Lindsey Graham, who is a friend.

The stalking is one reason I moved to New Mexico.  My condo was broken into one time, not long after I moved.  I was able to discover where the local FBI hung out, and went looking for an agent.  It was rather interesting.  He came over, told me to get on the phone and call everyone I knew and tell them that what was going on was now a federal crime, that the FBI was involved.

That helped.

Delving into the insanity surrounding what happened in Florida with Kate Hunt and the Smith child she basically stalked and molested has helped me, tremendously.  The story alone, has helped me understand what happened to me.  I want to understand what happened, who this person was, and why he did what he did.  What we eventually discovered was that he was the son of a prominent Southern Baptist minister.  He went to college, came out with a teaching degree, and went into the Army where he had a little rank.  I’ve also been able to discover that the abuse was multi-generational.

  • He was bisexual
  • He was predatory
  • He was dishonorably discharged from the Army
  • He spent time in the state mental institution
  • He was into child pornography
  • He preferred boys, but was an equal opportunity molester
  • I suspect he molested his own son
  • His wife was involved in his activities
  • He staked me
  • He tried kidnapping me
  • He would have taken my life
  • He hated women
  • He did not like being thwarted
  • His activities were covered up, locally

I suspect he was a sociopath.  I have absolutely no doubt he would have killed me.  If so, then we need to face the possibility that he may have done so, either before or after I was abused.  We also need to face the fact that this is a very strange tale.  It has left me with a true distaste for authority and authority figures.  I hated school and educators, and I truly dislike the fall of the year.

Strangely enough, for over thirty years, I would drive past the school where all of this occurred and never even see the little house.  It was not until I was in therapy that I drove past it one day, and realized there was a house by the school and that I could look at it, and not become hysterical or suicidal.

One of the things that helped me recover was I became friends with the woman who would go on to become the principal of the little school, during the time I was recovering.  During Thanksgiving, at my gallery and shop, I would host a friend who was a Native American storyteller and a medicine man.  A number of my best customers were teachers in the little school.  They decided to get together with my therapist, with Ken, and told my mother what they were doing.  Jane scheduled Ken to do an assembly at the school, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 1990.  I made myself drive up to the school to take him. When I did, Jane came out and told me I was going in, and listen to Ken’s program.

I wanted to run.  Ken grabbed the keys to my car. Jane and one of the teachers literally forced me inside the building.  She made me stop at the entry.  “The first thing I did was have the office removed, and the walls taken down.  See, the room isn’t even there.” The building was painted white, with hanging baskets, everywhere.  There were bright colors, happy colors.

Jane’s mother, also a friend, said she was going to sit with me, during the program. “See, you have a mother here and you are not going to run away.  It is a building and it isn’t going to hurt you.”

It did not.

 

 

 

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