BELL VIEW-I once did a short stint at Gigi Gordon’s Post-Conviction Assistance Center. My first week on the job, Gigi dropped 80 pedophile cases on my desk. The Supreme Court’s decision in Stogner v. California, which held California’s retroactive extension of the statute of limitations for child molestation unconstitutional, invalidated hundreds of convictions under the statute. I wasn’t long for that job. I didn’t have the constitutional grit necessary for criminal defense. But I learned a little something about pedophiles in the process.
Although a few of the cases stood out – like the Santeria preacher who charged his victim’s parents hundreds of dollars for “private instruction” as he came to their home and abused their daughter – most of them shared a familiar pattern. A man – and they were all men – would strike up a relationship with a single mom who had a daughter or daughters, and…you can guess the rest.
The nastiest part of the scheme – aside from the actual abuse – was the way the pedophile would prey on a child’s deepest fears in order to protect himself and hide in plain sight. “If you tell anybody about this,” the abuser would say, “it will destroy the family. Your mom and I will split up and you’ll be taken away from us.”
The reason the cases assigned to me had taken so long to come to light – and the reason the California Legislature abolished the statute of limitations for such crimes – is because this technique is brutally effective in silencing the victims of childhood sexual abuse. It doesn’t matter that child sex abuse victims are better off when their dysfunctional “families” are broken up – the fear of the unknown drives the victims underground.
The same is true for adult victims. Abused wives stay with abusive husbands for fear they’ll lose whatever security they’ve exchanged for their sanity; women in a workplace designed by and for abusive men keep silent in hopes the next rung up the ladder won’t be as humiliating as the last; rape victims are shamed as sluts while every divorce, bankruptcy, and bad decision is hung around the neck of the accusers until they sink to the bottom of a toxic lake of sanctimony and disappear.
Pedophile and Republican Senate candidate for the State of Alabama, Roy Moore, knows well how to play this game. Those enablers trying to shove him over the finish line and into the U.S. Senate are finding it harder and harder to get a grip on this slippery snake. But Roy Moore is sick. We all know that. Those who support him, those who vote for him, are evil. If evil exists at all in this world, surely the cold, calculated act of voting for a pedophile to sit in the United States Senate qualifies.
I was talking to a friend the other day about a Thanksgiving disaster averted. Every year, Grandpa comes up for Thanksgiving and spends a few days with his grandkids. But Grandpa is an avid Trump supporter, and, this year, my friends decided they just couldn’t have such a person stay in the same house with their children. This is what it’s come to in this country. This year, Grandpa will stay at home and visit with some friends. And maybe by next year, he’ll be gone or come to his senses. A line has been crossed for some of us. And there may be no going back.
(David Bell is a writer, attorney, former president of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and writes for CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.