Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Trust no one.

This is an article that's been brewing for a few weeks now. I haven't felt ready to write about it before this morning.

Urbaner is a certified military police investigator, among other things. That means that he's the military equivalent of a civilian detective. He hasn't worked as an investigator since we were stationed at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota; his career has taken him in a different direction - but he was a really good investigator when he worked the job.

His boss when he worked investigations was...well, let's just say that I didn't get along with him. He was on his second marriage at the time; he had full custody of his daughter from his first marriage and his current wife was pregnant with their first child together. To be honest, I'm not sure why they got married in the first place; they never did anything together and it seemed as if they were more room mates than they were a couple.

He put a lot of stress on my marriage. He and Urbaner were really, really close - like brothers - and he (we'll call him Bill - it's not his real name but it'll work for now) deliberately did some things that he KNEW would hurt Urbie and I. It was a constant source of tension between us, and even though I did my best to NOT let it bother me, I couldn't help but be annoyed and even hurt. A couple of examples: FTS had her tonsils removed right before Independence day and had a bad reaction to the pain medications prescribed afterwards. We were supposed to be going to a party at Bill's house, but FTS ended up in the ER so we couldn't go. Bill gave Urbie such a hard time about it that Urbie felt like the best thing to do was to take FTS and I home after she was discharged, leave us there, and take the boys and himself to party at Bill's place. I know, I know, Urbie is just as much to blame for that. He and I have talked at length about it and I've forgiven him...but I haven't forgiven Bill. He used his position as Urbie's boss to manipulate him; there were veiled threats and hints of retribution if he didn't comply with Bill's plans. The Friday before Urbie was leaving to Greenland for a year's unaccompanied tour, Bill called and asked if he wanted to go over and have a few drinks that Saturday. Urbie said 'Yeah, let me ask Ninja if she wants to go too' and Bill said "no, it's guys only, she can't come". I think that was the moment when Urbie realized just how Bill was. He was getting ready to be away from his wife and kids for an entire year, but Bill thought it was ok to have him leave us at home and go get drink with him. He wasn't working for Bill anymore at that point, so he told him where to go and stayed home with me instead.

After we left Ellsworth we lost touch with Bill. We heard through the grapevine that he got divorced again, and that he retired from the military and moved to California with his daughter...and we honestly thought that we'd never hear from him again.

We were wrong. Last month, Urbaner got a call at work from a mutual acquaintance, telling him that Bill was being held in the Pennington County, SD jail. He'd been extradited from CA and was awaiting trial in SD. The charges?

Child molestation and incestuous statutory rape.

He is accused to molesting and raping his daughter pretty much her entire life. I've had eyes on some of the paperwork in his case and it's sickening. The evidence is....compelling. It's not just 'she said' stuff, there's physical and very detailed evidence corroborating his daughter's claims. He hasn't gone to trial yet so he's innocent in the eyes of the law, but I'm pretty certain he'll be found guilty and will spent a lot of time in prison - perhaps even the rest of his life. Should the judge decide to impose the maximum sentence for each count he's charged with on him, he's looking at 135-odd years of time.

I'm not proud of my reaction to the news. My first reaction was 'no, he didn't do it. I didn't like Bill, but I don't believe THAT', immediately followed by a distinct sense of schadenfreude. I was GLAD that he was getting a taste of what he did to other people; I felt satisfaction that his lifestyle and attitude had finally caught up with him. Karma in effect, in other words. My second thought was 'gawd, I let that man into my house and gave him access to my family. My kids spent nights at his house and were alone with him on numerous occasions. Oh my gawd, what the fuck have I exposed them to.....'

I let that man, that molester, into our life. I trusted him. My kids trusted him. We ALL trusted him.....he was a police officer, someone who we told out children they could always trust and feel safe around. He was supposed to be there to put the bad guys, the people we warned our 'lings about, in jail.....but it turned out that HE was the bad guy all along. HE was the one I should have warned them about, the one I should have never let into my home or near my kids.

He was a cop. Kids are supposed to be able to trust cops. He betrayed that trust.

So, who can I tell them to trust now? If they're in trouble and Urbaner and I aren't immediately available, who can I tell them to trust? They know that Bill's in jail, they know what he's accused of. They know I'm kicking myself for not seeing him for what he was - a pedophile.

Who? If not us, then who?


Epijunky said...

Oh hell, Ninja.

I don't know what to say... I certainly don't know what to tell my kids...

Ninja Medic said...

Epi: I know. I didn't know what to think or say at first either.

I told them, and they weren't surprised for some reason. They said that no, they'd never seen anything untoward or inappropriate going on, and no, he'd never touched them or made any attempt to talk to them about sex or their bodies.

I felt like I didn't protect them enough at first, like I'd failed them because I trusted him. I have a pretty good 'gut' instinct about people, and whilst I thought Bill was Machiavellian and narcissitic, I sure as hell didn't think he was a pedophile.

I think that he did us a favor, actually. He's shown my kids that molestors and pedophiles don't come with a label; they don't look like skeezy, greasy losers...that they can seem totally normal and can fit in anywhere. I just wish he hadn't been a cop. That was the hardest thing to swallow.

Epijunky said...

I think you're on to something there, Ninja. Particularly where you say he might have done your family a favor.

JS said...

I once dated cop. Her ex was also a cop. We were at my place, when we left I caught him, on duty, in uniform watching us from the bushes. Who do you call when the cop is the stalker? JS

marsbarn said...

I think you talk to your kids about trusting their instincts and doing what makes them feel safe. You didn't like this guy, no you didn't think he was a pedophile, but you didn't want to spend time with him. You didn't want your husband to spend time with him. He wasn't "good people" to you. I think there is a tremendous drive to ignore those feelings, and that it is really, really important to honor them.

We had a friend several years ago who turned out to be doing almost exactly what this man was doing. He wasn't a close friend, but we spent time with him. I liked him, and had no idea he was abusing his stepdaughter. Pedophiles do come in deceptive packages, and it is very hard to spot one until it is too late. It is really tempting not to trust anyone, but that's not really healthy or productive. My own solution has been to trust my instincts, trust my children's instinct, and to continually reevaluate. You don't like the feeling that person gives you? You don't have to hug them, talk to them, or spend time with them. That person who used to feel safe, and now feels uncomfortable? Leave. You don't have to stay.

Police officers are people. There are good ones and bad ones. The same is true about doctors, fire fighters, nurses, teachers, garbage men, soldiers, and microbiologists. No one should ever be trusted simply because of the clothes they wear or the office they hold. You can listen to them, show them respect, and follow basic instruction. You get information from them, buy things from them, learn from them, but you don't have to trust them.

Anonymous said...

Believe that was his THIRD wife and not his second. He had been married to an airman shortly after he entered the air force and they got divorced in Montana. That's where he met his second wife (a Native American) who brought a daughter into that marriage and whom he had a child with.