If you have been visiting this blog, you already know that I’m telling my story — my story of being married to a practicing pedophile for almost forty years, how I was groomed to be this man’s enabler, and how I continued to unknowingly shelter him for many years thereby giving him thousands of opportunities to molest children.
If you are new to this blog, please begin here. I welcome you and hope that you will stay around and become educated on how crafty pedophiles are when it comes to grooming and victimizing. They will stop at nothing! Because of my personal experience with a life-long pedophile, I want to equip you with the education you need to stop them before they harm your child or a child you know!
Today is an especially hard day for me. On Saturday, June 5, 1965 my sister Carmella died. She was thirteen years old. It has been 48 years — 576 months to be exact — since I last saw her alive. And, the pain is still there. She was not just my sister, but she was my best friend in all the world. She suffered from asthma from the age of six, and a day after her thirteenth birthday, January 24, the doctors decided her young heart would not survive another major asthma attack. So, a decision was made to send Carmella away to the Betty Bacharach Home by the Sea — a place along the beach in Atlantic City where children were sent to die. Unlike today, we did not have hospice care.
I don’t remember much about the day she left other than helping her pack a small suitcase of clothes and a few things like paper and pen and stamps. We promised to write each other every day that she was gone — and we did! I cried an awful lot from that time forward because I missed her so! By this time in my life my parents had divorced, my mother was drinking heavily every day, and my father was very absent in our lives. I didn’t know that my sister went away to die. God, I wish my parents had told me because I could have absorbed a bit of what was happening. Instead, they told me she was going away to breathe in the ocean air and would get better and come home soon. I believed them. I was always the believer. Always believing, never questioning. She didn’t make it six months.
This is the last school picture taken of Mellie, as we called her. She was little for her age because of the medications she was taking to help her breathe. But, look at those big, brown eyes! God, I really, really miss her! She and I shared our souls and some day I will put into print the book I’ve written about her. She was a special little girl! She didn’t cry when she left to go live at the Bacharach Home, but every week when we went to visit her she’d stand at that huge iron door like you’d see at a prison and wave good-bye. She looked so little and so alone. I would sob the entire drive home and get so sick that I often vomited.
I learned early on that life isn’t fair. Not at all! I’ll never understand why children have to suffer!
I have very few pictures of me and Mellie together. She was a cutie, wasn’t she? We were 2 1/2 years apart in age. I always felt like I was so much bigger and older than her — the protector. Only, when she needed protected the most I wasn’t there. She died alone in the Atlantic City Hospital on the night of June 5. I won’t to into details here, but her enlarged heart couldn’t take all of the strain from so many brutal asthma attacks and her little body finally wore out. She put up a fight, though, the nurses said. She tried with all of her might to live but the air just couldn’t get into her lungs!
By the way, that’s my mom and dad in this picture and sadly both of them are gone, too. I do have one living sister who was born seven years after Mellie.
What’s all of this have to do with marrying a pedophile you might ask? Well, it has everything to do with why and how John chose me to be his wife.
When Mellie died, I was a few days shy of sixteen. People don’t understand yet to this day how children suffer when one of their siblings die, but I can tell you that the day Mellie died I entered the gates of hell. The separation from her was something I can’t explain, and I’ll never be able to put it into human terms so that you will be able to understand. I lost myself. I lost my identity. I lost a lot of my life that day. I lost my sister. And, those losses changed me. Part of me died and it would take a long, long time before healing would come. It would take years to learn how to smile — really smile again!
I was afraid. Death wasn’t talked about like it is now. There were no support groups. There really were no books to read, and I can’t think of any kind of help that was offered other than to read Psalm 23. Death was death. Back then you died inside but you didn’t talk about it, and so for a long time I was only a shadow of a living person.
When I entered college I was quiet, and very focused on one thing — finding a way to become happy again. I thought (mistakenly) that if I just could marry a Christian man and begin a family with this person life would be wonderful again.
Enter John Hinton. As mentioned before, I truly believed he was the answer to my prayers!
Pedophiles prey on the lonely because they are so easy to victimize. I’ll repeat — pedophiles prey on the lonely because they are so easy to victimize. When I was in my second year of college, John and I had a family living class together, and in that class I wrote about the loss of my sister. I bared my soul, and later on he asked me about it. Since Mellie’s death was so fresh yet, I had millions more tears to shed over her loss, and it was obvious to anyone that I was in a fragile state at that time. As is true with any broken, insecure person, I craved one thing — love.
John didn’t “get it” about her death, but he did get it that I was weak and vulnerable. I had no dad in the picture. He was grieving his own losses — the loss of his marriage, the loss of his farm, the loss of his daughter, and all of the other multiple accompanying losses. My mother was an alcoholic, and I don’t say that disrespectfully. Her life was one broken mess after another! She was very ill, had gone through a painful divorce, lost our home, and now lost a daughter. And, she had watched her daughter suffer for seven years a slow, painful death. Watching a little child struggle for her every breath isn’t easy to see! Layers and layers of pain covered my family.
Skillful abusers can easily provide the lonely victim with seemingly genuine attention, companionship, and love. I’ll say it again, I was an easy target to become the enabler he needed. I was vulnerable in every way you could think of craving only one thing — a wee bit of love and attention. That’s all I needed. Just a wee bit would do! When you’re already so broken, you have no clue when abuse is part of your life!
Now, we can pick up where we left off last week…….John and I had been married, gone on our strangely different honeymoon, survived a tornado, and now we moved into a new apartment! Okay, it wasn’t a “new” apartment, but it was a teeny one bedroom apartment. We rented the top floor of a house where two little old sisters lived. I was thrilled, to say the least, that we were setting up “home” — my dream come true!
Fast forward eight weeks into the marriage, and guess what? John still didn’t have a job!!! His words were, “It’s impossible to land a decent paying job, so I’ve been going over to the church building doing some volunteer work with the kids while you’re at work.”
Not only was he doing volunteer work, but he had a big surprise waiting for me! One evening I came home from work to find a stranger in our apartment with John. I never met the guy before, and had no clue who he was. John said all cheerily, “Meet Jim! He’s the youth minister. Well, actually, he’s the ‘past’ youth minister! I’ve talked to the elders and they’re letting me take over Jim’s job!”
Finally! Finally, I thought there was some light at the end of this dark path! This meant that John would finally get paid! My little secretary’s income wasn’t enough to keep us going much longer! After Jim left that night (he stayed for dinner — I cooked in the sweltering heat while those two sat in the living room and whispered and giggled like little school girls) I asked John how much the job was going to pay.
“What are you talking about? I never said I was going to get paid! I’m a volunteer. The elders love me! I’ve been letting Jim train me while you’ve been at work. He’s leaving next week and I’ll slide right into the position as youth minister. Do you know how great this is going to look on my resume when I graduate?” Do you see what I’m seeing? As I look back, I can see how perfectly his plans were falling into place.
If you’ve done any reading on pedophiles and how they work, you’ve read over and over again that churches are playgrounds for pedophiles. John had found his playground!
I was sick. Actually I was really sick in more ways than one. You know how things usually come in threes? Well, surprise number two was about to show up at our doorstep!
I don’t know why. I don’t know what the circumstances were, but exactly eight weeks after we got married, my living sister Ruthie called crying hysterically. She couldn’t catch her breath! “Clara, I have to talk to you. Mom is in some kind of a hospital, and dad said he can’t take care of me. He bought me a plane ticket and said I have to come live with you!”
No job for John. Married eight weeks and barely even know each other. And, now a sister coming to live with us. You’ve got to be kidding! I called my dad and he was blunt. “Your sister is more than I can handle. Your mother tried to kill herself. So, I’m sending Ruth out to live with you.” And, that was that.
Living in Oklahoma — a thousand miles away from what used to be home. And, all of these changes in just a few brief weeks!
Oh, hold on because there’s more!!!!
I thought it was the stress of the first weeks of marriage. Or, it could have been the stress of moving, hardly enough money to live off of, and trying to take in the idea of my sister arriving bag and baggage in a few days to come live with us, but….I was feeling really sick and nauseous in my stomach. I was so tired I felt like I was going to die. I was too shy to tell anyone (including John) that I missed my period the second month in a row. But, I would soon get over my shyness and talk to one of the ladies at work.
Lucille, a lady in her fifties and my boss at the time, exclaimed, “Well, kid! You’re pregnant!”
And, so I was. Pregnant. Very, very pregnant. I felt like I was on a wild ride and didn’t know where this ride was taking me! I had gotten pregnant on our honeymoon.
Life was spinning out of control real fast! But, the thing that blew me away was this — John never flinched. He was perfectly fine with it all! He loved the fact that my sister would be living with us! Why not? I needed company while he was all but living at the church building with the “youth” planning nightly outings such as swimming parties, picnics, and game nights. By the way, I was told I was NOT invited to any of those events. Why? Because John said he had to concentrate on running the games and keeping everything organized!
Alert!!!! Pay attention, please! If your mate tells you “stay away” there is something wrong! Any kind of healthy marriage will make time to be together. Everyone should have hobbies and an occasional night out with the girls or guys, but to say, “no time for you” is a huge red flag! John was in his glory! He was gone literally seven nights a week!
Alert again! It’s not okay for somebody to just move in with a newly married couple. I was the sister and I was terribly upset about this! I wanted to be with my husband, not my sister! I wanted our relationship to grow as husband and wife, not play mother to a troubled sister! As much as I loved her, I felt she needed to be with my father or an aunt or my grandparents. John welcomed her with open arms! Why not? She would occupy my time and that would get me off his back about a job!
Triple alert!!!! I was terribly shy when it came to talking about intimacy. I had seen nothing role-modeled in my home. I did, however, ask John if we should see a doctor before we got married. I wanted to talk about preventing pregnancy while he was still in college. “We don’t need to see a doctor. Everything’s under control. Where’s your faith? If God wants us to get pregnant, we will. If He doesn’t want us to get pregnant, we won’t.” And, so I never brought it up again. After all, John had things under control — and he did! Notice how he used my weak spot — my faith — as a means of twisting my thinking! That would happen time and time again!
I was beaten down by life at a very early age, and very much used by my father. I could speak hours and hours about the guilt he made me feel for leaving to go to college. He said it was my responsibility to stay home and take care of my sister.
I had a mother who was grieving the loss of so many things and had fallen so deep into depression that she tried to kill herself. And, now….a baby on the way and I didn’t know a thing about what in the world I was going to do!
I was perfect — absolutely perfect — for John. Remember that he had molested his first little girl when he was fourteen. That was brought out in his investigation prior to his arrest. He was deeply ingrained in pornography when he was in grade school. He was experienced with sex, porn, and God knows what else! I was as naive about sex, porn, manipulation, and molestation as he was smart!
The plan for “pedophile heaven” was falling into place quicker and better than John could imagine. Honestly, when I think back, I laid in bed night after night sobbing into my pillow as I heard him in the living room laughing and joking with his church buddies. Life was awesome for him, and he didn’t have a clue why I cried so much of the time.
I was sick, confused, tired, worried, and felt so alone. Is this how marriage is supposed to be? Is this the answer to my prayers?
Hang on….because the story thickens and sickens. I would soon see strange behavior in John. And, even though my sister was only twelve, she would see the same strange behavior. Something wasn’t adding up. Nothing was adding up. Everything seemed so out of control and mixed up so fast. I prayed and prayed for happiness and a good marriage, but it sure didn’t feel like answers to my prayers!
NOTE: If you have been through a painful trauma in your life, you are vulnerable to people who are abusers and manipulators. Seek help for yourself. Get into counseling. Talk with friends. Go to a support group. And, remember, if something doesn’t feel right deep inside, then it probably isn’t!
Thanks for sticking with me as I tell my story. I want to open your eyes up as to how abuse can occur so easily. Adults can be groomed and victimized just as easily as the children if we don’t have the education we need to recognize the abuse.
Next week we will continue on this journey. You will see how well everything fell into place and you will begin to see a pattern of abuse developing within the marriage. This abuse continued to weaken me, and strengthen the abuser. He felt powerful over me. I felt lonely and depressed. That combination makes a very viable atmosphere for pedophiles to continue merrily on their way!
Please help me stop this cycle of abuse! For the children, let’s open our eyes and see the truth! Let’s make life incredibly difficult for child predators! Let’s protect our children!
Your comments are always appreciated — always! Please help me to spread the word! Pedophiles prey on the lonely. They are smart and cunning and they are harming children right now. It’s time for this to stop!