Pictures. I love to take pictures. I especially love to take pictures of nature — flowers in bloom, the colors of the changing seasons, and special events pictures. Rather than journal with words, I often journal the events of my life with photos.
Pedophiles like to take pictures. Pedophiles love to look at pictures. Pedophiles study pictures of children. Little children. Nude children. Children taking baths. Children going to the bathroom. Children swimming. Children swinging on swings. Children playing dress up. Children just being children.
A pedophile will look at an innocent photo of a child and distort that photo to make it a sexual turn-on. A pedophile does not see the same thing a pure mind sees. A pedophile’s mind has been saturated with thoughts of child pornography, unnatural behavior between adults and children, and evil, corrupt thoughts of using the pure innocence of a child for his/her own selfish purposes. If you are new to this blog, please start reading from the beginning so that you will grasp the full understanding of how pedophiles work to gain access to children — innocent children — to molest and harm in unimaginable ways!
As most of you reading this blog know, I was unknowingly married to a practicing pedophile for almost forty years. I thought my husband was a man of God. I thought my husband was a loving, caring person. I thought my husband was truthful. I thought my husband tried his best to portray the teachings of God in his daily life.
I also thought my husband’s behavior was often odd. And, I never could make sense of the extremes in his life — going out of his way to be the kindest man in the world, and then living at the opposite end of that extreme by doing and saying some of the most hurtful things that have ever been spoken to me.
His actions didn’t make sense!
After John and I separated, I made a promise to myself that I would not ever keep him from the children. I wouldn’t bash him in any way to the kids. I would always invite him to family dinners and outings. It was one thing if our lives had parted, but I didn’t want that to happen to the kids. They loved their dad, and our separation had caused them enough harm already. I certainly didn’t want to add to their pain.
So, one fall day we planned a family outing to a local park. We packed picnic foods to grill for our supper after having an invigorating hike to the falls. It was one of those “it’s great to be alive” kind of autumn days! I can almost feel the warmth of the sun shining on my face as I’m writing. I remember thinking that I could live like this forever — stretched out on a rock, watching the water cascading down the rocks, feeling the gentle breeze giving just enough air to keep the sun from feeling too hot.
As usual, several of us brought our cameras to capture the beauty of the day. I remember taking pictures of the kids hiking with their walking sticks. It was a great feeling for me as a mom to see my children feeling the absolute beauty of this day.
After I took several nature pictures, I stretched out in the sunshine for a brief nap — soaking up the rays of the sun and thanking God for such a beautiful place as this park to go to on days such as this.
Far across from where we were was a group of very young teenagers and some younger children climbing the rocks, laughing, and enjoying the beauty of the day, too. Some of them had decided to stand under the falls and let the water spray down on them giving them an invigorating feeling of the end of summer and the beginning of a brand new season.
With my eyes closed, I could hear their laughter from a distance until………..suddenly I heard some commotion and I bolted upright to see what was going on.
John had brought a camera — not one of the little digital cameras like I had — but a far more professional DSL camera with a high-powered zoom lens. Each of us had retreated into our own little world of enjoying the peace and quiet of this afternoon, so we hadn’t been paying much attention to John where he had wandered away from us.
From what we gathered by the angry shouts from across the way, two girls were screaming at John, “Hey, you dirty old man! Get a life and stop taking pictures of us! Put down that camera or we’re going to send someone over there and smash it!”
John had been very busy taking pictures, but not pictures of nature. Nor was he taking photos of his family enjoying the hiking or climbing on the rocks. Instead, he had zoomed in on two pre-teen girls in their swimsuits standing under the waterfalls and he and his camera finger were out of control. He took picture after picture after picture of these girls until finally they realized he was taking pictures of them and they put a stop to it!!
Puzzled, I looked at John. Here’s a man almost sixty years old taking countless pictures of young girls he didn’t know. Why? Why was he doing this? Why was he overcome with the obsession of taking these pictures?
We were so embarrassed as a family, and John had no explanation to give. He didn’t even try. He was openly caught taking photo after photo of these girls. Yet, we never questioned him. We never put John on the spot. We never said, “That was so embarrassing. Why were you doing that? What were you thinking?”
Instead, we felt bad for John. The kids quickly spoke up and said, “Dad, let’s hike back to the park and get the grill going so we can cook supper.”
And, that was the end of the discussion.
I stayed behind that day for a while to be by myself with my thoughts. I remember clearly sitting on the rock for a long, long time mulling over what had just happened.
It made no sense.
I simply couldn’t fathom John thinking anything in any way that was sexual with younger girls ……. except……and then my mind recalled several other occasions that were questionable.
My head was spinning.
I remember one time standing on the steps of the church building crying and spilling my guts out to a couple my age saying that John was “flirty” with the younger girls. I remember it so well because we had no money that week for groceries — and I do mean NO MONEY! What did John do? He went shopping for one of the girls in the youth group and bought her a sweatshirt — it was $12 and back in the day that was a lot of money. Actually, it’s still a lot of money to me!
I was sobbing asking him why he did that and he said, “I felt sorry for her. We’re going on a youth retreat next week and she doesn’t have anything nice to wear so I bought her a really nice sweatshirt so that she’d fit in with the other kids.”
Does that make sense to you? We, as a family had no grocery money, but he went out, used our charge card, and bought a sweatshirt for a girl going on a youth retreat. Yes, he was the sole chaperone for the girls, by the way.
The couple at church looked at me with such a look as if to say, “How could you ever say anything like this about John? What is wrong with you? How could you question his motive in buying that sweatshirt? He’s going out of his way to treat this girl special and you’re complaining about it?”
I never brought the topic up again. Ever.
And, now……….here is an older man taking pictures — many pictures — of two young girls standing under a waterfall. And again there is no explanation as to why.
I had no explanation except that he was a very complex man to understand.
If only I had known then what I know now!!! If only I hadn’t been so confused by my Christian beliefs! I thought it was wrong to question the motives of another if they profess to be a follower of God. What a misleading misconception that is!!! We have every right to question the motives of others! We should be doing this more often! We should call for an explanation when actions are not in alignment with moral living!
Instead, I retreated into myself and walked back to the park and ate supper in silence feeling bad that I ever thought ill of John — if only momentarily.
Can you see the red flags waving right in my face? As I look back over the events of my life, I sure can see them now!
Really — really? John was zoomed in on two pre-pubescent girls taking close-up pictures of them to the point that they had to scream at him to stop? That’s not normal adult behavior!!!!!
Really? John bought a sweatshirt (with his family’s grocery money) for a girl at church so that she could feel good on a church youth retreat. There is something very, very wrong with his affection for that girl!!!
If you read last week’s post, you know that John was busy taking pictures of young children right up until the very day he was arrested!
Listen people — it’s NOT normal for a man to be taking hundreds and hundreds of photos of young children!!! Ask yourself “Why? Why is this person taking those pictures?” Then ask yourself another question, “Would I be taking those pictures? If not, why not?”
I’m going to keep saying this over and over again until it really sinks in. “If it doesn’t seem right, then it probably isn’t.”
So, what should you do if you encounter something like I did? Report this person to the proper authorities. If you know for a fact that there is strange picture-taking of young children going on, report it. Let the authorities do the investigating.
If you notice someone who has an unnatural attraction or affection to your child, please speak up immediately and do so with the authority you have as a parent! Set safe boundaries and for your child and enforce them. And, remember — pedophiles are sneaky. They are smart. They make you question yourself. And, most often when there is doubt, we remain silent. We don’t like offending others.
When John was arrested three years after this event in the park, his camera and computer were confiscated and he had hundreds of photos of children. Those photos were his “treasures” as was later explained to me. Many of them were nude, sexual, pornographic photos of young children. I get totally sick just thinking about it. My heart aches every day because of it. Precious children were used in a way that is so harmful — not just physically but emotionally. And, many children suffer the rest of their earthly lives trying to overcome the pain they endured while being abused!
If you find yourself in a situation that just doesn’t seem right — there are too many red flags — please report it. If you don’t know how to report, please email my son Jimmy and he will help you properly report to your local authorities.
Be a voice for the children. When a child becomes a victim of abuse, chances are that child is not going to speak out. At least, not for a long, long time. Why? Shame. Fear. Embarrassment. Trauma. Children rely on us to be their protectors and their keepers!
It’s up to us to become educated. It’s up to us to become a voice for the children. Can we save the world? Absolutely not! Can we save one? You bet! And by saving one child at a time, we will eventually save the world!
Next time we will see how John became more and more brave with his actions — almost like dangling a carrot under our noses. Nobody picked up on what was happening! We have got to change this by getting better educated!
PS If you need a speaker for your group, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org