This impact statement will be read December 1, 2016. I’ve used initials, though E. said to use her name. She wants people to know what victims live with and what they must go through to get any sense of justice. The sexual predator has almost more rights than a victim so until I am certain that public records protect her and me, I will only use his initials. Any, and I do mean ANY, comments used to inflame, harm or degrade E. will be either met with both barrels from me or eliminated. Believe me, both barrels from me leave a mark. No one will ever reach out a hand to harm her again without pulling back a bleeding, gnawed stump while I live and breathe.
It has been revised after someone trusted and wise suggested I discuss more and address the Judge. I’m taking their advice
Before I begin, I’d like to express my regret to your Honor for my last time in Your Court when I left unceremoniously. Caught off guard, I responded without thought and apologize. This is a very emotional time.
I’ve never been someone of a few words, now is no different.
Some will say the legal system for sexual offenses is a flawed system. I know this, but we have a system. Yes, it needs to be defined better, worked on, but we have one within which to do such a thing. Many children don’t have this, especially in other countries. I am awed by the people I met here who do this every day. I don’t say that lightly. Each person involved every step of the way, you were, each and every one, good to E.; gentle, kind, honest to bare bones without any cruelty. You see the really hard things in life and you keep putting out your strongest arm to people, to the defenseless. You open up avenues to them, make it possible for them to face those who harmed them and get some semblance of justice, even if only a taste because in this world we probably wouldn’t get that much. That’s pessimistic but maybe that’s what’s come of this in me. You are a guiding light in a bleak place and time for people. This isn’t what Mr. R. deserves, I know this, I am bereft. The fact that anything has happened at all is not lost to me, but there is only one chance because one child is too many.
You, Mr. R., gave me an apology which, unprepared for you to even speak, let alone to me, was not well received by me. It showed to me that you still did not understand the nature of your crime, your offense, your abuse of power. After two years of time with her, then years away, then a large time of denial and in hiding, then in jail, denying all the way up to day two of jury picking and your sudden “willingness” to admit your guilt and you want to apologize to me? Well, this is simply a very, very important game of chess for you, isn’t it? You made this as hard on E. as possible; played out your hand until she was an adult and would have to take the stand and recount everything. You wasted a whole lot of money, time and energy belonging to a whole lot of people. Everything in your life has always been simply a strategic move to get (fill in the blank) “the most whatever” that belongs to someone else whether it be money, pills, belongings or someones personal, intimate space, sense of well-being, physical and emotional safety. It was always about the thrill of getting away with something and it was all that much more enjoyable if the victim knew they were powerless. I know this because I lived with you, we talked, you told me stories, you also did this to me so don’t think it’s gotten past a single person. You should be in a cell for the maximum time.
Your apology is hollow. First, I am not the one to which you should apologize, the person you harmed was a child who grew into strength through incredible odds, lonely, scared, and felt she shakily held the reins to power over my physical well-being, my safety. Good God, how horrible a thing to do to a child on top of invading her. Second, the fact that you felt this sudden turn of heart in a matter of two hours is ludicrous R., you’re not capable of processing false emotion that fast. You thought about this overnight laying on your cot and decided to see how it went the next day when you would either continue on or cash out. The apology would have been a really nice flourish, though. Thirdly, the fact that you felt the apology needed to come to me was telling. You dehumanize E., she’s property in your mind, mine in your eyes. She wasn’t to be apologized to, but who she belonged to, me. You think society is mad at you for taking liberties with someone else’s “something”, so you apologize to appease that problem except you missed the mark entirely. To me, this points to your inability to feel remorse for a situation you don’t even understand properly. So let’s not try to make a silk purse out of the proverbial, and in my heart literal, sows ear, R.. This isn’t some change of heart, some sudden recognition of your wrongs. There isn’t remorse, it’s fear. You’re afraid, R., shakenly afraid. You’re being shown for who you are publicly for the very first time.
In my original writing I wasn’t going to talk about E.’s suffering, the walk she went through, the mountain of broken glass she had to walk over to come to this day because I felt it would give you the sense of power. The realization came that it didn’t matter about you, you are insignificant, small and unimportant. Others need to know her triumph, need to know what children and adult victims alike go through and react like when traumatized.
Your Honor, at ten years old she became suicidal. Ten years old. Ten-year-olds should be worried about video games, dolls, and whether or not they will be the fastest one on field day not whether or not to stay alive that day or whether or not the man in their home will touch them or show them his genitals. My daughter wanted to not live, she hung on a precipice, a cliff so bottomless, I ran for help. For the next seven years she vacillated between suicide, cutting her body up, constant fear, a destroyed sense of self, her core beliefs about her self shattered, trouble in school, self-hatred to a degree none of us can imagine and a world where she couldn’t talk about her pain. She acted out which caused her to be looked upon as a problem kid, an incorrigible child, because she couldn’t talk about it due to his threats. The thought that I even began to question my kids reaction is a source of guilt I will carry with me forever, not seeing her signs will haunt me. She was medicated, in therapy, disciplined, even had trouble with the law at some time because of the untold story of Mr.R. A story she couldn’t tell. Nightmares, diagnosis of PTSD with it’s cause being off base but accurate in it’s symptoms, she would wake crying and have to take a medicine she would vomit due to the panic. There were emergency room visits, inability to concentrate on any school work, she eventually dropped out of high school. She has been unable to restart her life that he stole.
The myth goes that a vampire can’t come into your home unless invited. I unknowingly invited the vampire into the home and it tried to exsanguinate her. I will live with that forever. She has told me there is nothing to forgive, I didn’t know, I couldn’t know, but this trauma lies to me. It whispers “As a mother it was your job to protect her and you didn’t; you led it right to her like a lamb to the slaughter.” How does one live with that and find peace? How do I live with this, with his shadow? To know all these things she did and felt in reaction to his filth not allowed on the record but could still be used against her to, once again, let him make her carry the burden meant for him, to free him, to make her seem low, a liar, is beyond painful to me. This is my burden.
I stood outside one evening a few days after he pled guilty, the wind wrapped around me and I let my arms go out like a bird. I looked up at the night sky and thought “So this is what it feels like to know all of your children are safe.” It was the most intense moment of my life. If my disease were to take me tomorrow I would be ok because my children are all finally safe.
R., you have no clue what you have done, the ways she has suffered, how I knew something but like a worried dog looking for her lost puppy could only circle and circle and circle, how she was called melodramatic in her reaction to this trauma but couldn’t speak up to tell her story, pain and the every minute detail that went with it because of your shadow, nor do I think you care in reality. Maybe you would even enjoy it. I refuse to give that to you, you’ve stolen enough.
The real impact part of this is to know the difference between the victim in your mind and one who surmounts. You had an effect, but this kid made the impact. You wanted her to believe she was weak and small and alone but you forgot, in all your hoopla and self-aggrandizing speeches about your martial arts training, your two black belts and one red belt, you’re ability to harm and break, that even the smallest can take down the biggest. Tae Kwan Do, your art, is a fighting style of aggressive kicks and punches. Judo, is softness, using your opponent’s aggressive movements or forward motion to be their downfall. You live aggressive, you force and take. She is like Judo, steady, graceful, she found a way to be safe.
What’s stomach-churningly ironic is you taught her the first self-defense kick when it was from you that she needed defense and help.
I won’t lie and say I hope you’re relieved of fear. I hope it’s always there reminding you how you are watched. I look at my medallions, E.’s great-grandparents religious medallions I wear every day and I think, “Mercy, use mercy.” but that isn’t pity. Never ever mistake mercy for pity. I’ve learned that to pity a dangerous snake is to leave vulnerable whoever it may choose to strike. That’s not mercy. Mercy is caring for the weak, the innocent, the at-risk. So I hope you stay afraid, unsure and lonely. That is the mercy I will give, mercy that will protect someone vulnerable. Be afraid, lonely and unsure of yourself.
You will never know fear like the fear she felt but neither will you have the strength E. had, and has, to get through it.
You will never feel as alone as she felt but you will never feel as loved or cared about as E. is and has been from the day she fluttered in my belly.
You will never feel as powerless as she did but you will never know the triumphs as E. has and will continue to have in life.
You will never feel as forgotten as she felt but you will never leave a glow strong and warm in the lives of those around you as E. has at every turn.
Yes, you will be shoved down by a hand larger than yours but you will not find a way to use your strengths to give you fortitude and stamina to undo someone with five times your years like E. did with you.
You pale and fade when compared to E.
Because of the State Police, the Prosecutors Office, the Victims Advocates Office and everyone else involved (the defense attorneys included, they make justice for you possible, too), E. has been able to walk this walk. Everyone in this court right now made it possible for her to face you. People outside this court, in offices, at desks, driving vans, clinking coffee cups, making phone calls, driving to other offices, talking to other people, listening to victims … they do this every day and I’m grateful because they clear a path for all the E.’s to face all the R. R.s safely. If I could, I would look each one in their eyes, hold their hands and thank them. I can’t find another way to do it.
R., stay afraid, lonely and unsure of yourself so you don’t ever forget all eyes are upon you. This is the only mercy I will leave; the mercy that may save others from a vicious, self-centered and dangerous snake.
To those who say that reforming a pedophile is possible I want to relay the story of a conversation I had with an admitted and self-identified pedophile online who compared his obsession with children to a drug addict’s obsession and physical need for drugs. Therein lies the self-centered and narcissistic focus of the personality disordered person who dehumanizes his victim. Drugs are an object; humans are not. The fact that this person found that an adequate comparison speaks volumes. The idea that the pedophiles need was more pitiful than the victims is staggering. The recovery stats for narcissism is frighteningly low. So don’t attempt to argue the platform of reform with me.
Stay vigilant. I didn’t and will spend an eternity sorrowfully atoning for it.