Every now and then I remember an event in my life that literally sends shivers up my spine and I’m going to share one of those times with you today. This isn’t easy to read, but it’s important to read! For almost forty years I was the wife of a practicing pedophile and didn’t know it. I saw odd behavior but passed it off as just that — odd. There were times when I was treated genuinely well in my marriage — like I was loved and adored. And, there were times when I was neglected and ignored to the point of making me withdraw into a shell of silence and depression. There was next to zero self-esteem in my life, and all I wanted to do was “be good enough” to be loved by my husband and the father of my children. There were times when I literally begged for love, and this segment of my life that I’m about to share will give you an even closer inside glimpse into the mind of a man who spent long, hard hours planning his every move that dug him deeper into the dark world of pedophilia.
If you’re new to this blog, I suggest you begin here and continue reading each post so that you can watch how the events in my life unfolded while being married for forty years to a practicing pedophile. I didn’t know what signs to look for and I’m sharing my story so that you can learn from me just how easily we can be fooled into completely trusting our children with molesters!
John loved church camp! It was part of his life growing up as a kid. In fact, I can say that church camp was one of the biggest highlights of his life. He wasn’t a big talker with me, but when it came to church camp, he got downright giddy. He would mark the date of church camp on his calendar a year in advance and make certain that he was a volunteer there every year. Honestly, I think we could have experienced a death in the family and he would have put church camp above attending the funeral.
In 1975, John had made his usual plans to volunteer his week at church camp. I’ll be honest with you. By this time in our married lives, I was so used to staying at home, that the thought never crossed my mind to go with him. Besides, on this particular year I was sixteen weeks pregnant with our fourth child and I wasn’t having a good pregnancy. I was experiencing bleeding and the doctor warned me that I should have complete bed rest until the bleeding stopped.
As you can guess, a troubled pregnancy was certainly no reason for John to miss the highlight of his year. He worked hard for weeks planning games for the talent show at camp. He was known as the “camp jokester” — the one who kept things lively and hopping at camp. He was a prankster doing things like hiding in the woods at night and hiding food from the cooks in the mess hall. He had his reputation as “camp comedian” to live up to, and nothing would stop John from going!
He also loved to hide out in the woods and set traps that would make the kids trip and fall and then he’d spook them by grabbing them and making them think that they tripped over a snake. I can’t tell you how animated he got over his week at camp!
This particular year I really didn’t want John to leave me. I had three young children, a fourth on the way, and it was a difficult pregnancy. I literally begged him to stay home from camp that year. “Please, can’t you stay with me? I’m so afraid that something will happen to this baby while you’re gone.”
John had a way of looking at me that was a mixture of pity, disgust, and questioning. He just stared as if to say, “I don’t get it. Why would I stay home? Camp is where I need to be.”
And, that’s just where he went. I remember the morning he packed up the car for camp this particular year. I sobbed because the bleeding had gotten worse, and I knew once John was at camp I wasn’t allowed to call him. He said it was a “camp rule.” In later years I found out there was no such rule. He could have picked up the camp phone in the kitchen and called me any time he wanted.
I watched the car pull out of the driveway of the church parsonage and then the tears really began to fall. I had already miscarried once and I knew how horrifying an experience that was and I was petrified that I would have to go through another loss again. I wanted my husband home with me!
Logic would tell you that I should have said, “You’re not going. This is your baby, and I am your wife. You’re staying with me! This is where you belong.” But, when you are already beaten down emotionally, there’s not a lot of fight in you. And, it is humiliating and demoralizing to have to beg for someone to love you. And, that’s just how it was with me. Besides, I felt once again that it was my Christian duty to share John with others — that he was a real asset to the campers. This was supposed to be a fun week for the camp kids, and a part of me felt so ashamed for wanting to keep him home from having this time away that he loved so much.
I’d like to say this was a good week, and all was well, but it was not. The pregnancy continued to give me problems. I was scared out of my mind as the bleeding gained momentum. And, I was also too afraid to try to call John to ask him to come home with me. In looking back now, I can’t believe how afraid of him I was. I have grown to say that he had a “quiet, complete, empowering control over me” — so hidden from everyone else. To the public, he was a fun, sweet, kind, man who loved his wife and children with all of his heart. He was also this man who everyone wanted to be around — he could make you laugh, he was even-tempered and so patient about everything, and he always flavored life with Christ-like love. At least that how it seemed to others.
John never called home once that week to ask how I was doing or to ask how the kids were doing. Not one call! Nothing! Not one word all week long!
When he came back on Saturday, I was not feeling well at all. In fact, I was now bleeding regularly. But, I didn’t tell John. Instead, I listened to him tell his stories of the crazy antics he played at camp. He told me about one particular preacher that he “razzed” (a word he loved to use) until this preacher actually cried. John pulled so many pranks that week that he was not invited back! He laughed himself silly over that! In his words, “They love me! I’ll go back next year. You just wait and see. That camp can’t survive without me!”
I shudder to think of what he really did while peeking inside of the girl’s cabins at night while they were undressing to get into their pj’s. I cringe when I think of him hiding out tripping the girls on their way back to the cabins and hearing them shriek in the woods as they thought a snake was wrapping around them! I’ve cried many tears over stories that were later told to me about him volunteering to walk the young girls to their cabins after the nightly devotionals so that they wouldn’t get afraid of the dark.
John loved church camp because it gave him a world of opportunities to have free access to children! He was trusted and loved! While other adults were sitting around the campfire talking together, he was out playing “pranks” on the kids.
Please pay attention! This is not a joke! Read this over and over again until it all sinks in! John is sitting in prison serving a thirty year sentence for molesting children. He has admitted to molesting children since the age of fourteen. He studied children, and knew games that they loved to play such as tag and hide-and-seek. He loved hanging out with kids far more than the adults. He got so excited about this, that he could barely tell the stories because he was so giddy about his time with the kids at camp. That’s not normal behavior for an adult! That’s really not normal behavior for an adult preacher — a man of God! That’s not normal behavior for a husband and father!
There were red flags waving everywhere, but nobody caught on!
Four days after John got home from camp, I lost the baby. I began hemorrhaging and for a period of twenty-four hours my life was at risk because the bleeding was so bad. I had emergency surgery.
John did not stay with me at the hospital. He left while I was still in recovery. He said hospitals bothered him and he didn’t like hearing about blood.
My mind was left in a state of flux. There were so many things I didn’t understand about the man who was my husband. He said he loved me, but he was so distant. Around me he was not affectionate, but around children he was absolutely amazing — hugging, holding, snuggling, and cuddling.
I thought there was something so very wrong with me. It took me forty years to find out it wasn’t me. It never was about me. It was all about the children.
Please, please share this blog with others. Take these words to heart. Do you know someone who displays this type of behavior? If so, have you confronted this person? Are you living in a situation similar to this? Do you see “odd” behavior? Does your gut feeling tell you something is wrong? Are you being emotionally abused? Do you know a child who is being abused? Has your child given you hints that he or she has been abused by someone? Are you listening to the voices of the children?
Please talk to someone! Keep this person from your children! Pedophiles are walking among us. They are your neighbor, your preacher, your teacher, your mailman, your best friend — maybe even your husband!
For the sake of the children, please let’s be on the alert at all times. Let’s make it impossible for these predators to gain access to our children! It’s our responsibility to do all we can to keep our children safe — beginning right now!!!