Monday, April 1, 2013

The Power of Confession

“There was no normal, happy greeting – just a sudden torrent of words from my husband. “I did it! I did it all – and more!” Years of bottled secrets suddenly uncorked with the pressure of fermented evil. Incomprehensible sentences erupted from Matt’s mouth in shocking ejections.
“As the toxic words hit my brain, pushing to penetrate, I stared blankly at Matt. “You did what?” I didn’t understand what he meant.
“‘I did it all – everything Linda said – and more. More than anybody knows.’ For the first time for as long as I could remember, Matt was looking directly into my eyes. Here we were in my office, with the toxic words of Matt’s confession filling the air like a mushroom cloud. The world had stopped spinning on its axis.
“When the eruption of his confession gradually settled into the ashes of our lives, I, feeling like a hollow caricature of my former self, stayed seated in the chair in which I had written, organized our lives and conducted the business of our family.
“I had thought I had been dealing with reality all these years. Silly me. I stared at Matt, now so earnest in his confession, so open in his desire to connect, so visible with the evaporation of his walls. Now that I could see him, I didn’t recognize him. He was a stranger. No one I had ever met before.
“A tiny crack began to grow in the space between us. It widened and widened and gradually yawned into an uncrossable gulf. We were no longer connected. I was on my side of the abyss with my arms around the precious children he had harmed.
“As Matt’s words continued, spilling the dark contents of his mind into the canyon, they filled the horizontal plane, numbing me.”

The foregoing is an excerpt, describing my husband’s confession, from my book,  The Husband I Never Knew.
A confession from a child molester is a powerful factor, determining the ability of all those whose lives are touched by his crimes, to move ahead with their lives. Even if the court finds someone guilty who pleads innocence, the nagging questions remain. If the person is lying about his innocence, it is a further sickening betrayal and lack of respect for his loved ones, who deserve the right to live their lives in reality. If he is, indeed, innocent, his loved ones are left to suffer the condemnation of a misled public.
I’ve been corresponding with Jerry Sandusky’s wife. Despite the fact that Jerry was convicted on 45 counts of child molestation, she continues to believe in his innocence. Strangely enough, I understand her refusal to believe her husband is guilty.
When my husband was charged on a Monday, for a whole week, he denied the charges, declaring his innocence to all who would listen. Most of us believed him. This was a man we had trusted. I had been married to him for 38 years!  I was sure that, if we could just have a polygraph done, his accusers would be shown to be lying.
Until Friday. On the Friday, he confessed.
Then I knew.
My point is that child molesters are the most manipulative of criminals. Their entire modus operendi is built on gaining the trust of people so that their victims become vulnerable; then they are able to move in and take advantage of the situation for their own perverted pleasures.
Building trust, for child molesters, is an art form.
That’s why, unless they give the gift of confession, those whose lives are within their sphere of activity, are held captive, locked in a prison of unmerited trust.
Is Jerry Sandusky guilty? The courts say yes. His wife says no. Until he confesses – until he speaks the words of guilt – his victims will not have closure and those who love him will be trapped in the lonely limbo of trust.

© Diane Roblin-Lee - Mar. 30/13

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