Married to a Pedophile: Our First Christmas

Thanks so much for visiting this blog!  I appreciate the love, support, and interest shown in the message here.  I am not an expert in the field of child sex molestation.  I am, however, a woman who was married to a practicing pedophile for almost forty years without knowing it.  It is my hope and my prayer that I can use my experience to help educate you so that you will know what signs to look for and what to do should you suspect actions of pedophilia.

If you are new to this blog, I suggest you begin by reading my story from the very beginning.

The months seemed to be moving along smoothly — the baby was growing inside of me and that was a feeling like I can’t explain. There were little bursts of excitement from John about becoming a father. In fact, I could say he was very excited for him. He wasn’t normally one to show a lot of emotion, but he did like telling others that we were having a baby!

We’re skipping quickly through the months of August through December because life remained “normal” in most respects. John was back in college and continued to work part-time at the cemetery as well as continued his volunteer work at church. I was happy being a working mom-to-be. In fact, all that filled my mind most days was the fact that soon I’d have a little one to snuggle with and that thought excited me so much! Sadly, I had to stop working in November due to the work laws at that time. Women who were beyond seven months of pregnancy weren’t permitted to work.   I worked as a secretary for Kerr-McGee Corporation. The people I worked with were wonderful and saying good-bye wasn’t easy. They had become like family to me. My bosses visited in our tiny apartment which was so funny as I think back now. They were multimillionaire oil men and John and I were as poor as church mice. I’ll never forget the look on their faces when they saw where we lived! I fixed them tacos and chocolate chip cookies. Isn’t it funny how you can remember details like that? I’ve always been so appreciative of the way they accepted my invitation to dinner and they and their wives were so gracious to me!

I made the decision to quit my job and stay at home to take care of the new baby when he/she arrived. John encouraged me to do this even though I was offered a big fat raise to come back to work, and Lord knows we needed the money. “Stay home and enjoy this baby. I have everything under control. The elders are going to start paying me for being the youth minister. They finally agreed I was ready to be put on as staff!”

NoteCan you see the insidious workings of control?  If I stayed at home, I didn’t have access to the outside world.  My world was suddenly growing smaller and smaller. 

That news of John getting extra pay was music to my ears, and so I began planning for Christmas. ( As an aside, Thanksgiving was a disaster — I ended up throwing out the turkey. It tasted like burned rubber!)

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I LOVE Christmas! It was going to be so much fun with a baby due on January 23 — just one month away! John and I decided we were too poor to buy anything for the baby, and we’d just exchange cards for our gifts and have a nice meal together. That being said, anybody who knows me knows that I love giving surprise gifts. And, this Christmas was super special! This was our first Christmas together! So, I had begun giving up my lunches way back in June to start saving for a Christmas gift for John — well before we said we’d only exchange cards. It was so much fun watching my stash of money add up. When the other girls at the office bought barbecue beef for lunch, I’d pull out my packed lunch — two slices of bread and one piece of bologna. It didn’t matter because I knew that the money I would have spent was being saved for something super special.

I made a surprise visit to the church and visited the minister and asked him what his best study books were. “That’s easy! I study from the Bible and my ISBE’s — International Standard Bible Encyclopedias. John will love them!” Yikes, they were expensive, but……I could do it! I knew what gift I would be buying John!

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My belly was growing and I only had one maternity outfit to my name other than baggy shirts.  I would have loved something new to wear, but……it was Christmas! I could not wait to see the look on John’s face when he opened up his gift! While I was at it, I decided to buy one more gift — a basketball that he could have so that he didn’t always have to borrow one from the church when he wanted to play ball with the kids he brought home. Oh, I cannot tell you how excited I was wrapping up those gifts and hiding them until Christmas morning!!!

Christmas eve arrived. We went to church, came home and lit a candle, watched a little TV and called it a day. I was too excited to sleep. We had a small tree that sat on top of a desk in the living room (yes, it was a tossed out shrub from the cemetery, but I didn’t even care this time around. At least it was a tree!). I watched the flickering candlelight and counted the minutes until morning!

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Finally, morning arrived. We were  away from all family — living in Oklahoma City. We didn’t get to go home because the doctor wouldn’t give the okay for me to travel being so close to my due date. This was going to be so ROMANTIC! Our first Christmas together!!! Let’s face it, anything could be better than the honeymoon we had!

I fixed an awesome breakfast for John, handed him his card and inside it had a little note saying where he could find his surprise. My heart is pumping faster as I’m telling this story! Can you tell I get like a little kid at Christmas time? “I thought we weren’t giving gifts?” “I know…but I couldn’t let this be our first Christmas and not give you a gift! I’ve been saving up since June! I can’t wait for you to see what you got!”

The look on his face was different than I expected.  He looked like he was hearing a melody that went sour. He didn’t look at all happy. In fact, he looked rather perturbed. “I really wish you hadn’t gotten a gift. A card would have been fine.” I felt disappointed a bit, but who cared? I wanted HIM to be happy! I wanted to see him open his gifts!

Instead, he went off to the bathroom. He said, “I’ll be back in a while. I have to do something. I have a big surprise for you.”

Woo hoo! I knew it! I knew he was tricking me! I knew he wouldn’t forget me on Christmas!!!!! I sat in the living room sipping some tea while he was in the bathroom. (Remember last week’s post about those hours in the bathroom? Well, Christmas morning was no different.)

Finally, John unlocked the bathroom door and had something hidden behind his back. Oh, I couldn’t wait! I had his gifts sitting under the tree, and now I would get to open my gift from him! I was so happy!!!

John walked over to me, and said, “Pick a hand. Your gift is small but I put a lot of thought into it.” I LOVE gifts that are thoughtful! Maybe a necklace or a bracelet. No, too expensive. Maybe a little teeny stuffed bear. No, that wouldn’t be like him. Maybe a tiny bottle of perfume! Oh, that would be wonderful!

I picked a hand, and out came my surprise………….. I looked, and then I looked again. I didn’t know what to say! I still don’t know what to say.  I could suddenly feel the hot tears streaming down my face. I began to shake and he just looked at me with the most bizarre expression. “What’s wrong? Don’t you like it? I’ll bet you’re the only person in the entire world to get a gift like this!

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He was right. He was so very right. Nobody that I know of in my lifetime has ever gotten a Christmas gift like this. He sat in the bathroom on the toilet and took two sheets of toilet paper and drew a picture of two deer — a buck and a doe. And, above the deer it said, “Merry Christmas, Dear.” My heart broke that day — it really, really broke. He hadn’t even gotten me a card. Instead, he wrote a message on toilet paper. That was my gift.

I’d like to say this was a joke, but it wasn’t. This was it. My body is shaking as I am writing this and it is now forty plus years later. That hurt me worse than if he had taken a kitchen knife and stabbed me right in the center of my heart.

Why did he do that? I’ve thought about that a million times over the years.   He said he thought it would be “unique” — something I’d remember always. I spent the remainder of the day in bed sobbing. He didn’t really like the encyclopedias. He said I should return them and get the money back, and he didn’t need a basketball when he could take anything he needed from the church.

NOTE:   As I’ve now learned, pedophiles are all about “control” — they must be in charge. In order to do that, they will find ways to beat you into submission. John didn’t physically beat me — he never even came close. But, emotionally, he was killing me. He was slowly beating me into submission for the years to come.  Once you beat a person down to a very low point emotionally, you can gain full control.  The person no longer feels worthy of being treated any other way.  And, I was slowly but surely descending into the dark pit of manipulation and isolation.

Thank you so much for reading. Thank you for trying to grasp what I’m saying. I know it’s not easy reading about sad experiences.  But, in order to learn what makes child molesters tick, I think we need to see the whole picture.  Pedophiles are calculating liars. They care about one thing — themselves. They don’t “get it” when it comes to hurting others. They are out to fulfill their mission and that is ultimately to get what they want.

I believe John was molesting children frequently at this time. I can’t “prove” it, but I now have reason to believe it was going on quite often at this period in our lives.  He had many, many opportunities. Two BIG red flags were there, but I didn’t know how to recognize them as such.   Johns spent so much time away from me with young children.  He always had a reason.  He was building relationships.  He was getting to know the families at church better.  He was encouraging the youth to love church and church activities more.  And, on and on it went.

Another strange thing was happening.  Many Sundays John wouldn’t take communion in church. I asked him why, and he would never say. In our church communion is taken weekly.  But, if you have wronged someone or if you have not confessed the sins in your life, it is considered “not worthy to partake.”

John apparently thought he was worthy to partake on many Sundays.

Note:  When a pedophile molests a child, he knows it is wrong!  Molesters absolutely know that it is wrong, yet they continue to do these vile acts on children! 

By the way, I never told anyone about my first Christmas gift until many, many years later. Why? It was too painful. And, John knew that I wouldn’t tell.   I believe this was one more test to see how far he could go with me. How much could he do? Abused victims rarely tell. It’s just too hard.

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My abuse was horrible, but it was nothing compared to what John did to little children. Please stick with me and let’s continue on with this story……learn what goes on inside the home where a pedophile lives. Learn about how they manipulate others into being enablers. Let’s learn together how other family members can be manipulated and controlled into thinking the molester is a wonderful, caring person — right while committing acts that are hard to speak about.

For the children, let’s stop these predators!  Let’s work hard to stop them in their tracks!  Let’s educate ourselves about what to look for, and let’s be on guard at all times.  For the children, let’s stop this terrible, painful cycle of abuse!

Love,
Clara

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Married to a Pedophile: Odd Behavior

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!

Strange Feet - use thisEvery 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!

pool - use thisI 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…….

Puppy - use thisWhile 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!

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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!

Love,

Clara