If you are new to this blog, I’d suggest you begin by reading at the very beginning. This is not a story about my beliefs on child sexual molestation, but rather my personal story of how I came to be married to a pedophile for almost forty years without knowing. My story is being shared so that others can be saved. My story is for the children.
As time moved on, I began to notice some behavior that I thought was a bit odd. Keep in mind that my twelve-year-old sister was living with us for the summer, so she and I had ample opportunity to talk in the evenings when John wasn’t home. But, what she said to me often flew right past my head. She was a kid, and I was the recently married, newly pregnant wife and mother. What did she know? Well, come to find out, she had some pretty good insights. If only I had listened more closely!
Every night coming home from work was a new experience. There were often strangers in the house — people I didn’t know. And, these unfamiliar faces were invited for dinner by John . I was hot, tired, sick from being pregnant and did NOT want to entertain strangers, yet here they were. My sister would frequently tell me that she just sat back in our bedroom while John brought these people to the house. Who were they? “Church friends.” That’s the only answer I got. Because there were three or four different church services on a Sunday, I didn’t have a chance of getting to know a lot of different people. But, here in our tiny apartment, were strange “church people” waiting to be fed and wanting to hang out with John. To this day I don’t know who these people were — some men in their 20’s, some guys in their teens, and some younger who needed to be driven to and from their homes. I was told that, “It’s part of my job. I need to get to know all these people if I’m going to be working with them as their youth minister.” I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
Pay attention: “Know your house guests! Don’t ever be so accommodating as to back off and be quiet and just do as you’re told! This is your home, too, and marriage is a partnership. You have every right to know details about who is sitting at your table, who is occupying your home when you’re not there, and who is spending more time with your husband than you!” Manipulation in this tiny apartment was well underway!
I can’t tell you how many pool parties for the teens John planned that summer and as God sits above I will tell you this — not once — NEVER ONCE — was I invited to go, nor was my sister invited to go! Why? Again, I was told, “This is part of my job. I have to spend lots of time with these young people and get to know their parents. The elders are really watching me, and they want me to mingle with the kids every spare minute I have.”
Can you imagine how this was? All day John was back and forth between the church building and our apartment with different people of all ages. Pool parties in the evenings, along with basketball, bible studies, youth activity meetings, and on and on it went! I honestly felt like my husband was avoiding me on purpose! I cried often, and in a tiny apartment, there’s no hiding anything. My sister would ask me the next day why I was crying. “I don’t know. I just thought it would be different. We’re married but we never get to spend any time together.”
My sister might have been young, but she was observant. “John’s like a different person when he’s around those church kids. He teases and laughs and jokes with them. He’s so funny. Then, when he’s with you, he never talks. ” Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. She was right, you know.
And, something else was beginning to happen. The first couple of times I didn’t say anything. I just looked away. But, I was sure. Well, maybe not. Well, yes, I was sure…….
While I was laying in bed, I could often see John from the bedroom. I would be day dreaming about the baby — our baby — wishing so much that he would come lay by my side and dream with me. But he never really wanted to go to bed the same time as I did even though he got up religiously at 4:00 a.m. every day which is far earlier than I got up for work. My sister slept on a little fold away cot in the room off to the bedroom that was used as the dining room or “whatever” room. We had a teeny kitchen, so there was an old card table and cot set up in this room which was used as John’s study room and for Ruth’s room while she lived with us. Not an ideal set-up, to say the least!
I thought I saw him quickly tug at her shorts when she walked by to go to the kitchen or bathroom. Pretending I was asleep, I would watch night after night and sure enough — yes, it was true — he was doing that! Or was he? Was I just seeing things that weren’t really happening? Was I imagining everything?
One Saturday while she and I were walking to the deli a few blocks away I got the nerve to ask her. “He’s so weird, Clara. He’s always pulling at my shirt or my shorts. I try to run past him, but he’s always doing it.” And, then she burst into tears.
I decided I’d confront him — the first time I really acted like I had a back bone. That night I was not a happy camper, and I said we needed to talk. It seems so “not real” as I’m writing these words. His response? “Your sister needs to learn how to dress. She wears shorts that are way too short for her, and she wears those tops that have her belly hanging out. Why do you think I never have her come to the youth meetings? Adults have made comments about her. It’s embarrassing. She’s a problem child, and the way she dresses doesn’t help. I’m trying to tell her to dress in a way that won’t make her look like a slut.”
A slut? Yes, he used that word when describing her. I’m hanging my head right now because it stings and hurts so bad to remember. I took to heart what John had said, and believed him. He was right. She didn’t dress right. But those were the only clothes she brought with her. Maybe she was at fault. Maybe he was just trying to tell her the length her shorts and shirt should be. Maybe she flat out did lie to me when she said he was pulling and tugging at her. Maybe I didn’t really see what I thought I saw. Oh, how much the mind plays tricks on you when you want to believe the one you love and trust!
He was my husband, and I believed him. Three weeks later I called my mother and father and said my sister had to go home. She and I have had many, many conversations since throughout the years about his behavior towards her. I witnessed on many other times him pulling at her breasts, talking to her about how “your boobs sure did stick out in that shirt.” And, yes, he often made those comments to her in front of me. Hearing that is dehumanizing. Seeing it with your own eyes is worse. And, being the recipient of those acts is the absolute worst. That is child molestation!!!
If you were to talk to a pedophile right now, you would be told that the little children make advances to them. The children aren’t dressed properly. (We’re talking about children as young as one year old.) They come onto the pedophile making it impossible for the pedophile to resist. Pedophiles do NOT see a child as an innocent little one. They look at them with lust. They look at them with eyes that are vile. They look at them with distorted images and messed up minds. They look at them with one thing in mind — “that child will be mine!”
Let me insert something very important here. Pedophiles like younger children and John was arrested for molesting young children, the oldest being 8. He stated in court that he has always had a fascination with the young female body of small girls. So, why did he also touch, grope, feel, and say crude things to teenage girls? (In the coming weeks, I’ll share stories of how he often pulled down his pants and bared his bottom to friends of my daughters! It makes me sick to say this!) I have no answer for that except he was very involved with adult pornography as well as child pornography as came out during his arrest and conviction. I do believe he also had a fascination with the female body as it was developing in teenage girls, and I believe with everything in me that he committed many more acts of molestation that the ones for which there was evidence.
Why didn’t I do anything, say anything, or put a stop to this behavior when I actually became aware of it with my sister? Why? Because I somehow equated church work with goodness. If John was doing so much work with the elders and church people, then he must be close to being a saint, and it was my duty as his wife to support him, honor him, and to believe him! [Ask me if I believe that now, and I’ll tell you something quite different!] I wanted to badly to believe I had married a good, honest Christian man that he could have done almost anything and I would have stood by him one hundred percent, and he knew it!
Why didn’t my sister do anything? She did! She told me, and I basically called her a liar and then chose to see through tainted eyes. Listen carefully — when someone is abused, manipulated, lied to, and made to feel like a second class person, they will do anything to receive “crumbs of love.” And, that is where both my sister and I were in life — we were happy with crumbs. And, John knew it! Oh, how well he knew it! He had the perfect set-up!
I’ll stop here for now– there was more “odd behavior — odd bathroom behavior” that we can use as a lead-in to next week’s continuation of my story. It was odd behavior, but very telling behavior. I just didn’t know how to identify it, and that’s why I’m educating you.
I’d like to emphasize over and over again how smart pedophiles are. Every move they make is very calculated. Very well thought out. Very well planned. The grooming process — getting people (both children and adults) to love and trust you — is very detailed. I’ve read in numerous publications where pedophiles were interviewed that they would often write out detailed plans for months on end about how they would win the love and support of the child they chose to molest. It could take years of detailed planning and winning over everyone’s trust. Then, the big bang — the big moment arrived — when the molesting could be done right in the house in another room with the parents there. There is no greater thrill for the molester!!!
John is not unique in his planning, prepping, and grooming. He’s one of millions who have molested children, and this is how they began most of the time. You will find that most child molesters know the children they molest. And, unfortunately, adults have been tricked into believing the molester over the child. Just look what happened with me and my sister. I even saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears, and I still chose not to believe my sister. I believed John — the preacher, the youth pastor, the man of faith.
Warning: If you see an adult who chooses spending time with another person’s children over his own OR if he spends more time showing acts of kindness outside of his own home than in his own home, then you need to open up your eyes real wide! At the very least, this is wrong behavior. At the very worst, there is an ulterior motive going on — quite possibly with the goal of molesting a child for the thrill of getting away with it right under the parents’ noses!
In the next session together, we’ll talk about how John was a beloved youth pastor. We’ll talk about one very strange behavior that was part of John from the very beginning of our marriage clear up until the last day we were together. This one thing makes me cringe now — I find it hard to think about without wanting to vomit.
Red flags were everywhere, but if you don’t know what to look for, you won’t see it! Thanks for sticking with me through the hard stuff. It will get us to a place where we’ll be smarter, wiser, more alert. It will get us to a place where we can pick up on things children tell us and we will know that something is wrong. It will get us educated, and education is empowerment!
Let’s get educated! Let’s learn how to stop these molesters in their tracks! Let’s learn how to back them in a corner and make it so difficult for them that they cannot get to our precious ones — our children — any more!