Writing about my life is hard. I don’t like to share some of these details. And, then something gets to me and I feel like a coward for not sharing, and I know that I must — I absolutely must write more. The thing that gets to me the most is when I look into the eyes of little children. I see pure innocence and it about kills me to think of someone taking a child — precious and so trusting of adults — and using these children in harmful ways for their self-gratification. I get so sick that I want to vomit, and then I get so angry I want to get face-to-face with molesters and inflict pain on them — the same kind of pain they’ve forced on these small children. I want to hurt them the way they’ve hurt so many children only I want to hurt them worse.
And, then reality sets in and I know that causing pain is never the answer to ending pain. So, I will continue to educate and pray daily that by sharing some of my story those who read will become empowered and will stop these predators in their tracks! I want to live to see the day when children are protected — properly protected — from the evil hands of molesters!
If you are new to my story, please begin here. I’ve been writing in chronological order — beginning with the time I met my husband-to-be leading up to the time I found out he was a practicing pedophile for the forty years that we were married — without me knowing it! I feel like I’ve been lied to, raped, victimized — but most of all I feel like I was used for one purpose — as a cover-up for the horrible things that were being done to little children. I truly was the perfect enabler and it sickens me. I don’t ever want another person to be used in this way. It’s time for us to smarten up, speak up, and keep our children safe!!!
The last time I wrote, I talked about the oddity of my then husband spending so much time in parks when he was supposed to be working. This week, we’ll expand on that a bit more and talk about his love of planning games for children that involved playing in the dark. My stomach gets knotted up as I think about how many times he was the “party planner” for the kids’ birthday parties, church parties, camp talent shows, and family church camping trips. He would buy book after book with party ideas and then study these books for weeks on end. That is weird in and of itself. Usually a party is a very uncomplicated thing — cake, ice cream, and having the kids run around and play.
Not so with the man I married! He planned games that were most often played in the dark. And, he ALWAYS insisted that he was the one to chaperone! Keep in mind that most parents don’t want to be bothered with a group of twenty or so rambunctious kids, so they were more than willing to let him have the kids for the night of fun. Besides that, he was a preacher! How perfect was that? Sending your kids off to the preacher’s home for an evening of campfires, night tag, running through the field, scavenger hunts in the dark, and lots of good food.
I will be the first one to admit that there was no way I wanted a house full of kids running around screaming and tearing up the place. So, when John planned these outside activities I never gave it a thought until………………..
One morning following an overnighter at our home (that included a camp fire and sleeping outside in the woods following a very well planned out scavenger hunt by John) a father of one of the girls that attended was standing at the door.
“Hi! How are you?”
He didn’t look happy. He had come early to pick up his daughter. He asked where they were staying and I pointed to the direction of the path in the woods. He was kind to me, but firm. “Sandy (not her real name) won’t be spending the night at your home any more.”
“Is there something wrong that I don’t know about? Did she get hurt? What happened? I’ve been inside all night with the other kids and I haven’t gone outside to check on anyone but I know John is with them.”
He looked at me with the strangest look and said, “I just want to take my daughter home.”
After all of the children left, John and I sat on the porch and I asked him if anything had happened to this girl during the night. He sat in silence and looked straight ahead never speaking a word.
“Why did her dad say she’s never allowed to spend the night again? What happened?”
Silence. Total silence. He was nodding off to sleep — not an unusual thing for him to do when I was talking to him. I asked my daughters who also spent the night outside, and they said nothing happened that they knew about.
Odd. Very, very odd. But, you know what is more odd? The fact that I never followed up on this. I NEVER called this father to ask what happened! I never asked that little girl what happened! I never did anything! How ashamed I am to say that! I knew something had to have happened, but in my mind I thought maybe she called her dad and got homesick and wanted to go home during the night. Or maybe she said she had a sick stomach and wanted to go home. I don’t know. I know kids were in and out of the house during the night using the phone calling parents (which wasn’t out of the ordinary).
I dismissed this entire thing and went on about my business of the day.
After all, these were younger kids on an overnight camp out, and she probably got spooked by something in the woods. John had carefully planned a scavenger hunt and each kid had glow necklaces to wear in the dark, and the embers of the campfire were burning so that they could find their way through the maze he had cut through the woods. There were fun treasures hidden along the way for the kids. They sang by the campfire, told scary stories (as shared with me by my daughters) and everybody that spent the night had a super time!
Everybody had fun except the one girl whose father came early to pick her up.
It wasn’t until about four months after John was arrested for molesting children that I got some insight into this night in the dark. I received an email (with a fake name) from someone and she just said, “I’m the girl whose father wouldn’t let her stay overnight at your house anymore. I was afraid to say anything. I never told your girls. Ever. But, I called my dad real early in the morning to come get me. Mr. Hinton did things to me in the woods.”
I still don’t know exactly who this girl is because there were three other girls who weren’t allowed to spend the night at our home. I read the email over and over again and each time I shook a bit more. “Mr. Hinton did things to me in the woods.”
My stomach is sick right now. I’m sick for the girls and I’m sick because I didn’t do one thing to check into “why” these girls couldn’t spend the night. I just figured some parents didn’t want their kids doing overnighters and left it at that. I had no reason to think otherwise — except for a deep down gut feeling that something was wrong. And, I never acted on my feelings!!!!
Since John’s arrest I have heard from two girls who were fondled, touched, and groped by John in the dark at our home!!! This was done while many other people were around! And, not one of the girls spoke up. Why? Oh, my goodness, that’s easy to understand. This was Mr. Hinton — the preacher, the most loved guy in the community. Who would believe this about him? Besides, can you imagine the shock of these girls? Can you imagine the humiliation? I’m so sorry to be writing these things, and God forbid, please don’t let me be hurting them more than they’ve already been hurt by talking about this. This is horrible — the horrible truth. It’s sickening and so wrong.
And, yet it happened. I’m so, so sorry that this happened.
Please, I ask of you, don’t sit in silence like I did! Press for answers. I felt so wrong for questioning John about anything. I thought it was my Christian duty to believe him — always! He was my husband, my preacher, the man I looked to for guidance and strength. How wrong I was! On so many things, I was wrong! I took him at his word, and his words were so full of lies.
Pedophiles who molest children are liars. They plan for weeks, months, and sometimes even years on how to corner YOUR CHILD and molest your child right in front of you or other people. That’s part of their biggest turn-on. Even when they go all the way and rape a child, the most thrilling part is knowing they are getting away with it with others nearby!
Please listen to me. Please don’t allow your young child to stay overnight with ANYONE — I don’t care who it is! And, talk to your child constantly about setting boundaries. Let your child know that if anybody ever tries to cross a boundary that they can tell you and you will believe what they say! Let your child know you are the one they can come to with anything and you will take care of them. Do everything in your power to keep your child safe.
And, please don’t think about hurting someone’s feelings. You have no idea how I wish that the dad who stood on my porch would have told me that something had happened to his daughter in the woods that night. I’m sure he didn’t want to embarrass me or cause any kind of family problems. But, I wish so much he had shared with me the fact that something happened.
Pedophiles are counting on our silence! They want us to be embarrassed! They’re so sure we won’t talk that they continue to molest time and time again, and it’s time for it to stop! Please, for the sake of our children, it’s time to stop being embarrassed and begin speaking openly and plainly about what child molesters do. They put their hands down little children’s pants. They touch their breasts. They fondle on the outside of their clothing and tell a child how good this is supposed to feel. They use different methods of keeping children quiet. They scare them. They make them feel ashamed. They tell them their mom or dad will never believe them. They manipulate their young, innocent minds. They confuse them and hurt them. They make them do terrible things for their own sexual and mental gratification, and it’s so wrong! It’s terribly wrong!!!
No more! It’s time for it to stop! Please help me be a voice for these children! Help me in this fight to stop child predators in their tracks! It’s time to make them back off into a corner and let them feel afraid, trapped, and so scared they go running!
Thank you for reading this blog. Thank you for sharing this information. And, thank you for caring enough to speak out for our children!
If you are in need of a speaker for your church group, concerned group of parents, PTA, school administrators, or others, please email me at email@example.com . It’s time to get the message out — for the sake of our children!
Again, thanks so much for reading this and for sharing with others. The more we share, the more parents will understand how predators work. And, the more educated we become the more empowered we are and the safer our children will be!