Friday, October 06, 2006

What did I just say about touching the kids?

I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, so it almost hurts to say this, but I'm beginning to feel like you can't trust anyone these days.

I spent most of my day out in Thousand Oaks covering another story of child molestation. We spent most of that time camped at the Sheriff's Station.

It was a sunny day and great to be away from the office. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if not for the type of story we were on.

I'm sorry.

I'm sitting here typing and getting pissed off just thinking about it.

A minister at this church is accused of sexually molesting a seven year old girl. The molestation continued until he was seen exhibiting inappropriate behavior with her when she was fourteen.

He skipped town and was never charged, but he was found recently leading another congregation in Idaho. The girl he molested came forward and the minister was arrested. The minister was brought back to California yesterday.

We talked to the girl (she's grown up now). The first time I saw her, she was walking with investigators on the church's property where the molestation happened.

I was just shooting b-roll of the location and didn't know who she was at the time. The investigators asked me to not shoot video of the woman (they didn't identify her at the time). I'm sure I wasn't breaking any laws and it's wise to sometimes question a request to not shoot.

Not this time.

The woman looked pretty well composed, but I think anyone with an ounce of compassion would have been able to tell that there was something going on with her as she walked around on the church property.

It wasn't until after she was escorted away that one of the investigators confirmed what we suspected. She was the victim.

I don't know what it would take to recover from sexual abuse. I think life can be difficult under the best of circumstances, I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be if you're carrying that baggage.

In the last couple of days, I learned that crimes against children are the least funded areas of law enforcement. The police don't have the resources to go after all the sick individuals who would abuse the members of our society most in need of protection.

It's frustrating and it's difficult to be involved with this story and then just move on to the next assignment. Let's hope we all get what's important in our coverage of these stories.

We need to be vigilant and protect our kids.

We also need to try to keep our priorities straight. If found guilty, I hope the William Malgrens and Mark Foleys of the world are punished to the fullest extent of the law.

I don't know what it takes to move past abuse and I don't think I can come up with anything to write or say that will likely make much (if any) difference.

The sun is out and I'm about to go to work. I'm thankful for that. I'm going to enjoy what I can of the day and try not to let what's bad in the world keep me from accepting the good.

That's all I can do right now. Maybe that'll be enough.


Surfsister said...

Yeah. And here I am with a 4 year old, worried about when he starts school and is actually, then, out in the world with more people (or should I say more strangers?). It's tough. The best I can do is teach him to never be afraid to talk to me . . . about anything. I'd hate to think a molester would have more power over him than I do, but I know the fear often makes that the case. My goal is to try and empower him not to be afraid to stand up to an adult who wants to do him harm

beFrank said...

surfsister - The word was always "vigilant" for us. I could have gotten it tattoed on my head.

I feel like my kids got to do a lot growing up that I never got to do, but they did it with more supervision than I had.

It was always difficult trusting others to watch over them. My wife and I always just tried to be aware that the world is different from when we were growing up.