Interview with the pedophile.

Posted: November 1, 2012 in jail
Tags: , ,

The evening was going along nicely. I was working with a group of men who had all been convicted of domestic violence of one form or another. They were all first time offenders and desperate for help and changing their ways. This made them willing to listen and learn. They were all respectful, kind and talkative.

I couldn’t ask for anything better.

As I was standing in front of them and listening to Alfonso talk, the men were nodding and smiling at what he was saying. Some patted him on the back. What he was talking about was helping himself and the others. I stood silently and listened and encouraged him when he needed it.

When the door opened up and a correctional officer came in, I turned to look. It was unusual for anyone to interrupt our meetings. Fred walked in and following him was another inmate. We were about an hour into our class.

The inmate had his head down and followed Fred. Fred grabbed a chair and pulled it out, far away from the class. The man sat down and kept his head down. I turned back to the group to continue.

All eyes were on the inmate. I saw many of them glaring at him. Alfonso stopped talking and turned his back to him in the middle of his story.

A quiet hush went through the room. Everyone had stopped talking and smiling. All eyes were now on this inmate, who kept his head down. Fred stood behind him. He motioned for me to continue.

No matter what I did for the rest of the evening, no one would talk. I saw them all turn away from the inmate but none of them would talk any longer. I got tired of trying and wrapped the class up early. There wasn’t anything else to do.

As each of them left, they all made sure to come up to me and thank me. They each shook my hand. When Alfonso came up, I asked him what had happened. Had I said or done something wrong?

“No, you didn’t,” he said. He motioned for me to step away. I said good-bye to everyone. Fred was still standing there with the inmate. Neither one moved.

“No one likes that guy, that’s all,” he said. “We’re not comfortable talking around him, so if he’s going to be in here, we won’t be. You did nothing wrong, but some things just ain’t right,” he said as he shook my hand and smiled. I watched him leave. I saw Fred tell the inmate to get up. I asked him to wait a moment.

I walked over and looked down at the inmate. He hadn’t moved.

“Fred, you mind telling me what is going on and who this is?”

“Sorry Susan, I guess no one told you. This is Lou and he wants to attend your class. I just found out he was approved, so I brought him in,” he said. Even Fred glared at him when he looked at him.

Lou was in his mid-30’s and had a slight build. He looked like a broken man sitting there with his head down and his hands hanging down between his legs. When he finally looked up at me, his eyes were clear and bright. There was a very slight smile on his face. That sent a slight chill through me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I didn’t like it.

“That’s fine, but why did the room get so quiet? It looks like my guys don’t want Lou in here, so why don’t you tell me Fred what is going on?” I asked. Lou looked back down at the floor.

“It’s because they don’t like pedophiles,” Fred said very matter-of-fact.

“Neither do I!” I said. I stepped back away from Lou. I had a very firm policy to never deal with sexual predators. I was adamant about it and couldn’t imagine how this had happened. Someone had screwed up and I wasn’t going to put up with it.

“It’s all a big misunderstanding,” Lou said. His voice was gentle and soft.

“Oh, is that so?” I asked. I was suddenly intrigued what he had to say.

“Yes it is.”

If he was here, then he had gone through a trial and was convicted. Whether he was guilty or innocent wasn’t relevant to me.

“Well, I’m sorry but I can’t have you in this class. You saw what happened when you walked in. The men stopped talking and I can’t have that happen.” I looked up at Fred. I felt a bit of a glare cross my face. It wasn’t Fred’s fault, but I didn’t care.

“It’s not my fault what happened. They all lied in court about what I did.” he said. I saw tears in his eyes. He rubbed his eyes and leaned forward and put his head in his hands. His body shook slightly.

I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to hear it. This was too much. People were asking too much of me. There’s just so much I can do. I was angry and yet here was a man, crying in front of me. I sighed, pulled up a chair and waited.

After a few minutes, he stopped crying and began to talk. He didn’t give me details as I wouldn’t let him, but he told me his story of a horrible childhood and how he had been abused and that he was now better and working on being rehabilitated and that’s why he wanted to be in my class. He heard it might help him. He said he would do anything to be a better person.

He then looked up at me and I saw that very subtle and slight smile cross his face again and disappear quickly.

When I saw that, I knew.

He was saying and doing everything he could think of to look good to “the system” to get out early. The jails were overcrowded and more and more inmates were being released early to make room for the new ones.

He was playing me. He was playing the system. He wanted out as soon as possible. He wasn’t done and he was never going to stop.

I knew that as well as I knew my own name when I looked into his eyes. He was insane.

He was good. Really good. He almost had me with his tears.

Almost.

I stood up and looked down at him. I felt bad but not for him. I felt bad for anyone who could turn into what this man had turned into. I motioned for Fred to take him away. They stood up and walked out. As Lou went through the door, he turned around and looked at me.

“It was nice meeting you. See you around,” he said and that same smile crossed his face.

The next day, I made sure all hell broke loose. I called the Program Director and told her what had happened. She was shocked and apologetic and vowed it would never happen again.

“Oh really? You gonna promise me that?” I said. “Who in the hell authorized a PEDOPHILE to come into my group? Who did THAT?” I shouted.

She wouldn’t tell me but promised over and over again that it wouldn’t happen again. I hung-up the phone, shaking.

I had never seen pure evil before until then. I didn’t want to see it again.

Everything settled down and the next class went along fine. The men were back to talking and learning and the memory of Lou faded away.

Nine months later when I was at Safeway and looking through the produce section, I heard someone call my name.

It was Lou. He was standing 50 feet from me.

“How are you?” he asked. I saw the same smile cross his face. “It’s good to see you again.”

I froze and watched him walk away, humming.

Our system is broken.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Yikes. As ever, I am humbled that you do what you do.

  2. Linda Dean says:

    I really liked the impact of this. Now I don’t know the man’s story, I don’t know the details of is case, I don’t know if it may have been legally thrown out or whether he got off on a technicality. Perhaps he was as innocent as driven snow and it was only the word Pedophile that caused the reaction.
    I do know that the action of removing him from the class was the right one. People struggling with domestic violence are struggling with that sense of inner self-worth and the need to express their emotions in the WRONG way. They need to feel respected in order to display that respect to others. Someone that is so far from their group will never be acceptable to talk to about their emotions. A pedophile just is not someone that a man who cracked his wife across the face is going to open up to. There is no commonality and no basis for respect.
    My own feelings about pedophiles are pretty internally violent. I personally am an absolute believer that they cannot be redeemed or rehabilitated. But these are personal feelings.I don’t base them on logic. I know people who are violent can learn to become good husbands, wives, girl or boyfriends, fathers and mothers. I have seen the change happen. I don’t think the system is broken, I think it is manipulated and disrespected. There is no place in our regular prison system for people who are pedophiles. I struggle with mental ways to “deal” with these people all the time. Their own separate hell, shot to the head, torture, lifelong chainganging.
    I have never come up with anything suitable. These are not people to me, they are not animals, they are not spirits. They have taken something that is sacred and used it for their own means. That makes them so far outside my realm of “dealing with it” that I have no response.
    And so Susan’s response is normal to me, but the logic side of me goes “We didn’t know the specifics.” If it was true, I hope I never come across him. If it wasn’t, I hope he stays the hell out of the way of the law.
    I will always feel the conflict. I doubt there will ever be a resolution for those convicted of that crime for me.

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Linda,

      It is a very passionate and disturbing topic.

      He did not belong in the group I was doing and it was obvious.

      I have yet to see one “cured” or reformed, so I don’t hold out much hope for them.

      They do need to be protected from the inmates, which is why the armed guard stayed.

      Thanks so much for commenting and your support. I was surprised at the amount of bashing I have gotten.

      It’s OK. Just didn’t expect it.

      Susan

  3. Thank you so much for telling this story. It is just as important for us to hear about the dark side and failures of our systems as it is to read about joy and redemption. Redemption and rehab are hard work and not everyone is up to the task. Mega (((((hugs)))))

    • Susan Lewis says:

      Paulissa,

      Thank YOU so much for your friendship and encouragement. It means the world to me.

      I think these stories need to be told if only to get it off my chest.

      Susan

  4. GRAHAM WOODRUFFE says:

    One cannot choose to not be a pedophile, like sexual orientation, or a myriad of different fetishes, bestiality, zoophilla. None of these is something people really choose, they can’t help how they are sexualy aroused and feel about these things, the same goes for pedophiles, therefore sending sex offenders to jail will do nothing to help the sex offender, what they need is support and understanding, which is what I aim to do at Range Court in Mullaloo with my support group called Second Chance. Once again I would be happy to help anyone set up a simmilar support group in your area, feel free to message me @ either of my facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/graham.woodruffe http://www.facebook.com/graham.woodruffe.71 Remember: “Condemn no one. If you can stretch out a helping hand, do so. If you cannot, fold your hands, bless your brothers, and let them go their own way.”

  5. Details of the St John ambulance paedophile protection network are here:
    http://www.stjohnnz.com

  6. JC says:

    Ma’am, I, having been a victim of these types of crimes/criminals cannot agree 100% with your blog. It is good reading and even semi informative. I do NOT blame you for your policy of NO Pedophiles in your class. What I disagree with is the “know for certain” aspect. I understand you would and should be cautious. Only you know his story as you didn’t share with us nor did you allow the “gruesome” truths to be told to you. In my opinion you should have listened. Who knows maybe the claims against him were recanted, maybe he was found innocent. Our jobs as parents and as people are to protect our children and loved ones to recognize dangers and the situations that can be dangerous. My predators were people I knew and trusted as a child and a couple that occurred in public. We as people *do* have the power to change and maybe the jail setting for him was that eye opener, but we do not know and can not pretend to. If I lived my life in fear of everything that had happened to me I would be an incompetent boob. From what I gather you are a type of councilor and I would go so far as to say that for the betterment of your class you should have had him removed, however I also believe you as councilors have a responsibility to be open to all views. I learned a long time ago that not all labels are accurate. IE. an 18 year old caught with a 17 year old would automatically be reported and labeled a sex offender/pedophile. I agree our system is broken but perhaps not in this case. Please remember to keep that open mind. I have what I consider a radar now, I have learned that many that have been victims of specific crimes have that as well. We learn to recognize and stay away from those types of people it is almost a gut wrenching feeling, survivors instincts or intuition. Just recognizing the signs isn’t enough though because not everyone acts the same.. Not everyone lies or tells the truth. I have seen innocent people go to jail for crimes that they didn’t commit, and have seen guilty men get off scott free (as a few of my predators did) for things they should have been hanged for. I applaud you for sharing YOUR story…You are very much correct in your statement “Our system IS broken”

    • Susan Lewis says:

      JC,

      Thank you for your comments.

      There seems to be some misunderstanding in the story. The man was a convicted pedophile. My opinion or feelings never altered that fact.

      You cannot have a session with one type of person and introduce another type into it. It’s not done and I think I was VERY clear that there had been a mistake. For example, if I was working with abuse victims and someone brought in an abuser, it would not only ruin the session, I would also lose all the trust I had built up with my students.

      I did find out what he had done. I used the word pedophile correctly.

      But, back to you. I know several men who are registered sex offenders because of sleeping with a girl who wasn’t 18. In each occasion, it was a one time mistake and I don’t agree with the way they have been treated. Another thing that is broken in our system.

      I am sorry those things happened to you, even though I don’t know you. It breaks my heart but your words have given me some comfort.

      It is totally fine not to agree with me and I welcome the discussion.

      I agree on keeping an open mind as much as possible. I do not have the skills nor the desire to work with pedophiles. I would not do that and the people that do work with them have an interest in that field. I applaud them and it’s best if I stay away. I don’t wish them harm. I just don’t wish to help them, which of course is my choice. 🙂

      I am so glad you took the time to read and comment and start a conversation. That means a great deal to me.

      Feel free to comment any time.

      Susan