2/22/07

The Gut Shot- a guest spot by Rav

Tabba asked me to do a guest spot, and I could only think of one thing to post about. My every thought for the past 24 hours has returned to this thing and I just can't get past it, it's a long one, but here goes:

I was sitting at my desk yesterday morning, doing nothing, as usual. My phone rings, which is certainly a normal occurrence, and I am just thinking about which jackass is calling me and what stupid question they have for me. To my surprise, it was my old boss on the other end. Before I began my illustrious career as a probation and parole officer, I was a security supervisor at the local mall. My boss, the security director, and I had a fairly good relationship, at times very good. I don't speak to him, or any of the good friends I made there as often as I should, but as we have mostly all moved on to become law enforcement officers, we are a busy lot. Anyway, I was quite pleased to hear his voice on the phone. He sounds funny though and says that he needs a big favor. He asks me a question, which would put me in the terrible situation I am currently in. He asks me if I remember his biggest fear in regards to "E". "E" is a security guard who has worked at the mall for almost 20 years, and seemed as if he would be there forever. No one really liked him, as he was a little strange. As a matter of fact, we couldn't stand him, and any one who is human, could not stand to be around him. He was missing teeth, he smelled, and he had these crazy conspiracy theories. Worst of all, he was a dumpster diver!!! Sometimes he tried to hide it, and other times he proudly spoke of all the things he had "recovered". He used to talk about what a great guy he was and how his neighbor was a single mother, and she worked two jobs, and that he used to take care of her children and take them places. So when my boss asked me what his biggest fear was, I knew it right away.
We had all joked, for years, about how "E" had to be a sex offender. We used to laugh about how weird he was and how we would not be surprised if he was arrested for being a pervert. And, he didn't help his situation. Sometimes, he would make comments, that were so outrageous and inappropriate, that we just had to walk away. Personally, I attributed it to him being a crazy old man.

After I answered my old boss's question he informed me that "E" had a girlfriend, a surprising fact to me, and that she had called "E" out of work the night before saying that he was in some trouble. She called my old boss in the morning and said that a Detective had called and told "E" that he needed to turn himself in on a warrant. I looked "E" up in the computer and saw that he did in fact have a warrant. I looked at the warrant and saw what it was for. I could not speak. Oh shit, I said to my old boss. And then I confirmed his worst fear. "E" was wanted for Rape 1st, Continuous Unlawful Sexual Contact with a Minor (3 charges of this one), Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (2 charges of this one), and Possession of Child Pornography. Just at that moment, I was asked by a co-worker to help with something. I told my boss I would call him back and I hung up the phone. I sat there staring at my computer screen. I could not believe what I was reading. And then I made the biggest mistake of all. I read the actual warrants, the information presented to the judge requesting that "E" be charged with these heinous crimes. In summary, "E" had molested the daughter of his neighbor, the single mother. Apparently the girl has been in therapy for a while and she had just disclosed that "Uncle E", as she knew him, had molested her. The warrant was detailed and explained exactly what and when "E" had done to this 11 year old girl. It also stated that a search warrant had been executed on "E's" home and it listed all of the things found there. Pictures and videos (home made or otherwise), were just the beginning. And then I thought of this mother and the fact that I remember "E" saying that she had more than one child. I couldn't help but wonder if "E" had molested them too. And then, I was struck by the worst part of all, the dates of occurrence. We laughed and laughed about how weird "E" was, and how he had to be a sex offender. Chester the child molester we jokingly called him. And all the while, this poor poor girl was having her life ripped apart. This man whom she trusted, was in fact a disgusting despicable thief. He stole so much from her, but I can't help but feel like he stole something from me too. Of the group of guys who I worked with at the time, 2 have become state troopers, 4 have become city cops, 1 is a county cop, and me.
I have spoken with 2 of the guys, the troopers. Neither was surprised at what I told them. I don't know if either of them is as affected by it as me, but I do know one thing. Some part of me feels like there must have been something I could have done. Instead of laughing, maybe I could have prevented what happened to this little innocent girl. I know that she wasn't the first, and if it had not been her, it would have been someone else. But I don't know that I'll ever be able to get past this feeling.

"All that is necessary for evil to succeed, is for good men to do nothing."
-Edmund Burke

5 ripples in the pond:

Oh, The Joys said...

Ugh. That is just awful. Awful.

Pippajo said...

Rav,

There is quite a difference between joking that "you wouldn't be surprised if..." and knowing something was happening and looking the other way. What could any of you have done based on just your opinions of him as a creepy guy? Asked questions? Visited the neighbor? You couldn't have pressed any further on just your gut.

But, of course you feel awful. Any normal, sane, compassionate human being would feel awful about this situation. My own daughter is 11 and I felt sick to my stomach reading that post.

Your feelings of betrayal, rage, injustice and regret reflect your character, remember that. What kind of man, what kind of law enforcement officer would you be if you were able to just shrug this off and move on to something else? And you happened to be a little closer to this situation because you knew and worked with the man.

But I don't see how you share any of the responsibility. Unfortunately, many of us know people like that. But without something more tangible than a gut reaction, all we can do is keep a watchful eye open and guard those we are responsible for.

I recently heard a rumor about a girl nearby confiding in a friend that she thinks her father may have molested her. I know the girl, but only in passing. I wanted to call the authorities right away, but the information I heard is third-hand and I know that sometimes innocent people's lives are ruined by rumors like these. So what to do?

I wish I had some easy answers for you. But I feel for you, I really do. This is going to be with you for a long time, but I think you should be grateful for that. It speaks of your strong sense of justice, decency, and duty to your community.

The only hope is that this monster will be locked up and prevented from hurting anyone else.

Keep us posted, if you can.

Joker The Lurcher said...

this is powerful. its hard to see what you could have done at the time but it is not surprising it haunts you. i hope you are able to make a bit of sense of it, so you get some peace eventually.

deb said...

It's not your fault Rav. You can't stop something that you don't even know is happening. My heart goes out to that little girl and to you as well. A lot of suffering goes on in the world.

deb said...

It's strange that today's post should be about sexual abuse, I read another blog last night that broke my heart as well. This is it.

http://eyes-have.blogspot.com/