The paedophile next door

Recently, a family friend went completely off the social radar. After a while I noticed that his account had disappeared from Facebook but it wasn’t until he failed to show up at an annual weekend away that a Google search revealed that he was actually in prison, having plead guilty to having numerous indecent images of young boys on his personal computer.

It’s a strange mix of emotions that hits when you discover that someone you’ve known and liked all your life is not at all who you thought they were. And worse.

It’s made me question how well we really know anyone. 

And whether there is any way to reach out to someone who has actively sought to hang out in Hell’s Kitchen in such a heinous way, or whether my friends and I could actually bring ourselves to do so, even if we felt that this was warranted.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not sympathising with his actions in any way whatsoever. Whilst it feels like a taboo subject to consider any possibility that there might be scope for some kind of second chance here, it’s been a necessary part of my processing of this news to do so.

Perhaps having lived with his own lies for so long, he has the means to survive and doesn’t need old ties, but secrets like this are easily unearthed, as my simple Google search proved.

I often think about what I did know about him.

Having failed his probationary period as a teacher, we were all pleased to hear he had seemingly overcome his nerves to become a popular Cub Scout leader.

Facebook posts had been fairly scarce before his final disappearance, but they mainly enthused about his weekly Cub Scout swimming class, which I’ll admit to having found a little creepy at the time, given that he is a single man in his thirties. But I brushed my cynicism off, feeling cruel for doubting his charitable nature. 

He definitely had his dark episodes, particularly after failing his teacher training. I remember the slightly crazed look that seized him once or twice after too much whiskey. In the moment, I felt scared. And then there was the time he punched a mutual friend in the face for no real reason one Hogmanay. We just assumed this was stress related. There was more to that teaching debacle, even if it was an internal struggle, there’s no doubt of that now.

Then there were the caretaker and warden jobs located in obscure rural colleges. And “that” sacking when there was mix up over him being accused of being a peeping Tom, when all he’d claimed to have done was confiscate alcohol from vindictive minors on campus.

But still, seemingly down on his luck, he kept his Cub Scout pack going strong, stacking shelves in a local supermarket to make ends meet, choosing to live in a dead end town far from family and friends.

An expensively educated graduate: personable, yet with no regular group of mates, love interests or inclinations to note – perhaps the writing was on the wall.

Statistics tell us that they’re everywhere, swarming amongst us and our children in plain sight. What’s a parent to do? Who can we trust? 
In spite of all the red flags, it still came as a huge shock that someone I regarded as a nice guy and good friend could turn out to be the paedophile next door. 

But he’s obviously not the nice guy that I thought he was. He tricked us. He’s sick (and I mean that in both senses of the word). He has a big problem. And I don’t know how the hell he’ll come back from it. Nor am I sure he should be able to. Or even if rehabilitation into society is even possible. 

Or is my anger making me short sighted? 

The fact is that we don’t want him in our social circles, near our children. We simply can’t. Even to be a friend to him under a strictly controlled environment would feel like some kind of sick experiment with our kids. Adults only socialising for his benefit would just be weird, why should we.

Yet, we grew up together. Played in the woods, swam in the sea. 

How did we not know? Or perhaps we knew something was off and just didn’t say. 

A mutual friend visited him in prison. He told this friend that he wanted to be caught, before he gave into his increasingly strong urges to act physically. 

A parent had raised suspicions after his interactions on Facebook with his swimming boys. The police came. He was an IT expert but had consciously decided not to bury it. To face up to his crimes. To save him from himself.
He said he was relieved, despite the shame, despite all the beatings on the inside. 

He’s out now. Back living with his parents. No job, no hobbies and on the sex offenders register, his image and story up on many vigilante Internet forums as “wanted.”

I feel raw. Confused. Tricked. Sad. Sorry. For not knowing. For everyone affected. For him because of what he is.

But I can’t see a way forward. 

I haven’t been in touch with him. 

Nor do I currently intend to be.

It’s a jungle out there.

<a href=”http://yeahwrite.me/moonshine/”><img src=”http://yeahwrite.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/moonshine.png”></a&gt;

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25 thoughts on “The paedophile next door

  1. I could relate with you on this post because I posted a similar story awhile back “A possible life sentence for a childhood friend” a guy I grew up with who I considered my best friend for years… who years later I read about and seen on the news that he is charged with what the judge calls “one of the worst child abuse cases he has ever seen”. On top of that the remains of another child were dug up in their backyard. People are sick and it is a sad world we live in these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Joe! I remember reading your post about that horrendous crime. It’s upsetting to think that we could have laughed and joked with these people whilst all the while something a whole lot darker was going on behind their eyes. I appreciate you commenting. This was a really hard subject to tackle here and think its hard for anyone not in the situation to understand the oddity of how it feels for this kind of news to come out. Keep up the great work on your blog by the way. Love following your stories!

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  2. This is a sad, upsetting, but fascinating post. I’ve never been faced with this situation so I can’t say how I’d react, but you describe your different thoughts and feelings very eloquently. A well written post on a difficult subject.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Karen, thanks for your kind words. It was a really difficult decision to try and tackle a post on this. I’m glad you felt I did it justice and, like you said, hope you never have to face a similar situation. Best wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Last week, about 4 blocks from our home, a pedophile who dealt in child pornography, sold it, bought it was caught and taken to jail for trial. I actually have no sympathy for these people who prey on children stealing their innocence and selling it, enjoying it. I think with various conversations with people who deal with these things in the judicial system and the social welfare system, many of them don’t want to be caught, they enjoy it and the only way to stop them is put them away for crimes beyond comprehension and/or chemically castrating them so at least they can’t do some of their evil. We also have registry where these people are listed so you can see if any of these monsters are close by. if they are being quiet and not acting out, no problem. but it is always best to drag that monster out of the closet into the light of day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a horrible world we live in and hard at times not to feel totally hopeless about the boundless depths that individuals are capable of sinking to in order to achieve instant gratification. Whether through bad childhood experience, design or sheer evil there are no winners here. Thanks for your insightful comment!

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  4. There’s been studies that have suggested some pedophiles are missing white matter in their brain and therefore have no control of their urges. Unfortunately there’s no leper colonies for them and so they’re loose in society. Awhile back there was a guy arrested that had been part of the online gaming community and even had dated one of the players. Stealing a child’s innocence is a horrible wrong and so I’ve no tolerance for these sickos. As a parent it’s best to error on the side of caution with regards to trust and to educate your children that there’s creepy people out there. Although if they watch television they’ll probably know that anyway. Weird experience for you to have it be someone you know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading Maverick. It would be horrendous to discover a person you are dating or have dated in the past is into this. I can’t even begin to imagine. I don’t think I would ever be able to trust ever again. Of course, these guys are experts at concealing their behaviour and activities and so in truth any of us could be duped/groomed.

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  5. Whoa, what a shift in perspective! It would take a lot of adjusting to get used to the idea of someone you know living this type of alternate life. 😦 I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I commend you for writing such an honest piece, for using words to try to navigate through the tangle of emotions, impressions, responses you’re feeling. Though I’ve never experienced this before, you explain all of your thoughts so clearly that I completely understand your conflict and, again, applaud you for working through it here. I find there’s nothing like writing through the difficult issues. I may not know where my thoughts will take me at the beginning, but by the end, I feel better and usually find some sort of sense in all of it. And the support that comes from the community is a huge help too. I’m sure I would feel very similar to you – that sort of cycle between feeling angry, betrayed and sickened and then thinking of all the good times and wondering how it could be the same person. I hope writing it out and then having these conversations is helping.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind feedback. I have been toying with the idea of sharing this for a while but wasn’t sure I had the literary skills to explain myself honestly without shouting myself in the foot. In the end I felt compelled to share the story and it has has been cathartic to do so. I have also been impressed with the blogging community’s ability to empathise with my post. Thanks for reading.

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  7. Wow, crazy story. I used to work in a grocery store where we had this creepy guy ( who was a convicted sex offender ) shopping there every week. It just made me sick to have to be nice to him all the time. You just never know with people these days. Thank God for websites like Megan’s Law!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. I like to think of myself as a good judge of character but I wonder how easy it is just to accept at face value now. It’s often the most virtuous that are the worst. Thanks for reading. Love your name!

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  8. Wow, such a crazy story. I used to work in a grocery store where we had a convicted child molester as a frequent shopper. Believe me it was hard to be nice to him once a week! Especially when he made comments about my coworkers children!

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. Ugh… It frustrates me that people who can do such things as this can get off so easily. My boyfriend works at the jail here in town and recently 2 sex-offenders just got life in prison. He has to deal with those types of people every day… And every day he has to give those people the benefit of the doubt whether he likes it or not. All I can say is that if I worked with those people it wouldn’t be pretty.

    Its a good thing this guy never acted on his urges, but why give him the chance? I’m sorry about this. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if he were a friend of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Working in criminal justice must be hard, but at least the ‘baddies’ are in the right place. It’s hard just knowing someone who has committed these crimes, imagine if they were your son, daughter, brother or sister. How relatives even begin to reconcile their feelings I just don’t know.

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