A Community Failing - Livin' the Good Life
Aug. 19th, 2012
09:27 pm - A Community Failing
Yesterday, our local paper reported that a man, a well-known man in our community, had turned himself in to the police, admitting that he had been molesting boys in our area for the LAST 30 YEARS. He has been a popular first grade teacher in one of our elementary schools, and more importantly, a volunteer to the youth pastor of one of the most prominent churches in the area. He is said to have gone on "countless overnight trips" with children from this church's youth groups. And it all happened over this 30 year period. That means that some of our 40 year old son's comrades could potentially have been victims! 30 years ago, that church was THE church to go to. It had a huge congregation with a thriving youth group. I remember our oldest son visited the youth group with his friends, but he came home very turned off by the church's teachings. "You wouldn't believe the things they are telling kids there, Mom." And he'd go on to list the rules and dogma that, to our family, was very offensive. He knew he didn't belong there. Thank God!
I felt an erie discomfort the whole day after reading the news. How can a prominent figure in a small community get away with something like this for so long? Why didn't someone come forward? Didn't ANYONE suspect something in all those years? I had never heard of the man, myself, so of course he slipped under my radar. But, as a teacher of hundreds of school kids and a mentor/chaperone/adult role model to more hundreds of kids at the church, didn't SOMEONE ever get the sense something was wrong? Didn't a single boy let something slip? Come on, this is so hard to believe. And I feel ashamed of my community for not being more alert, more watchful, more protective of its children. Are parents too busy, too preoccupied, and just happy that SOMEONE, like this nice man, is paying attention to their kid?
It's one thing when I am personally taken in and fooled. That feels bad enough. But, when an entire community is fooled for years and years.... all those hundreds of eyes and ears and parental intuition being fooled... there's something so rotten in Denmark. God help us all. (And may the purging and healing begin. What a mess.)