I use to know a certain guy.. or I thought I knew him, at least.
We started working at a certain school almost a decade ago as teacher aides. Within two weeks of me taking this aide position I was promoted to head Special Education teacher in charge of seven teacher aides. He remained a teacher aide. He was approachable and clumsy, but did his work. I did my own work as best I could given all the hoops I had to jump through daily as a head Special Educator and manager of the aides.
This man is now in prison. He did something very, very wrong. He behaved inappropriately with a child. Very inappropriately. I went to court and sat with his parents and listened to the child’s family recount the pain and horrible experience the child went through. I sat there looking at the back of my friend as the judge had little mercy on him and swiftly had the court officer arrest him and lead him out a side door. To this day, he still does not repent. It was saddening to me to hear how he had imposed his will wrongfully on the child, who at the time was younger than ten.
Apparently, before I met him he had had some other incidents with young boys that I did not know of. During my friendship (yes, I was his friend) with him there was only the one incident that he was eventually put in prison for. The judge noted that in the five or so years that passed since he was first arraigned on these specific charges no new allegations of improper conduct had come forth. It is at that point that it dawned on me that just maybe I had been somewhat of a positive influence on him, perhaps holding him at bay in my own way by my presence in his life. I gave him a bible early on and would counsel him. I don’t think he read it much. I knew he was in trouble constantly in one way or another. He was addicted to various drugs, including marijuana, cigarettes and something called ‘whippets.’ They are nitrogen canisters that one can buy legally and be inhaled. I never did the whippets, but I did smoke with him. I no longer smoke. It robs one of energy, passion and throws you off your goals. The ‘whippets’ were horrible for him. It was a descent into hell. He was always concerned with the up coming trial. After some time on this, I noticed his hands would tremble and he reported to me that he was losing feeling in his extremities. He suffered from narcolepsy also, which means that multiple times at night he stopped breathing. His life is hellish. He continued on them for over a year and I continued to beseech him to get off of it. It took him some time, but eventually he got victory over it. This was all in the interim of his awaiting trial for the pedophile charges brought against him.
I was brought up with a strong inclination to the life of Jesus. I want to live this life in the best way I can and I want to serve people because I have been blessed in so many ways. I am just a man, of course. I care not what others think of me as long as I have the favor of Jesus, whom I recognize as the Lord God. I know who I am. Jesus drank with the ‘wine bibbers,’ and was a friend to many. He was not beholden to appearances or what others thought of him. He got down to the level of those at the bottom of the barrel and reached out to them. He reached out to people and spoke from his heart, said his peace and moved on. Some followed him and became leaders of lovingkindness and all that is right and good and just.
Again, I am just a man and have made mistakes, sometimes repeatedly. I have paid for these also. Yet, with all I have I strive to be in alignment with my Lord’s will. That is when I am happiest and have #allpistonsfiring. More and more I become this man. A better man for my community and for my three remaining children.
I look upon this failed man in prison now who rationalizes and does not turn from his attitude. I pity him and the shame he has heaped on his family. What he did was take advantage of an innocent child in a grotesque way. That boy is brave. His letter was read in court the day this man was finally arrested and sent up the river. I hope the child, an adolescent now, is able to completely overcome the past and can live a full life. I stand with the boy and his family. My presence in my former friends life held back his wrong yearnings to a great degree. Alas, the time of reckoning for him came and the judge did what had to be done. This man threw his life away and will come out of prison with little to no way of ever getting a job. He is sidelined, for good. He is reaping what he sowed.
Pedophilia is a horrible offense against children and one’s soul. It is predatory behavior. I rail against it and keep a hawk eye on my children and my students to guard them from it. May justice be done quickly upon those who act in these ways, but may we also foster a community that seeks to root out the causes of it.
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