And the first thing that came to mind when I saw them was,
Have you stopped abusing your kids, Richard and Tracy? I doubt it, but then, with DSS on your case after Richard choked Tracy’s girl, maybe they finally forced you to change your ways.
That girl must be about 19 now; I wonder what she’ll do now, where she’ll go, if she’ll still keep in contact with the one who almost killed her a decade ago and beat the crap out of her when she was little, or with the mother who screamed like a demon at her and called her stupid.
You tried to blame it on me when I avoided you, Tracy, tried to make all our problems my fault. But no, it was all on your head: I wanted nothing to do with an abuser and a bully, someone who included me in her list of abuse victims.
And Richard, you tried to force me to be friends with such a person, even when I saw her abuse you and the kids. I knew you had issues, but I thought you were trying to do better, until I learned what you did to your child. I knew Tracy abused you, even hit you, but I didn’t know at first that you also abused her. I also didn’t realize yet how you manipulated and abused me, too.
I don’t know why you guys still read here (happy 8th stalking anniversary in two months, BTW), because that won’t change. I will never say I deserved any of it, or that you were innocent of child abuse. I will never say you didn’t abuse each other. I will never say you were kind to me. I will never stop blaming you for everything that happened. I will never want anything to do with you unless you repent. And you couldn’t silence me: My friends and family know what happened and have seen your mug shot.
Meanwhile, I feel the same frustration as the professionals who try to stop abuse but don’t see results. I post here, I share articles on Facebook etc., yet keep seeing the same old comments everywhere: “My parents hit me and I turned out okay!” Um…no, not if you’re hitting and screaming at little kids.
Ethan Hauschultz was placed with an uncle who was a known child abuser, with convictions–but because he pled to lesser charges, social workers were forbidden to even consider the convictions as a bar to placing children with him. This uncle, who could not use physical violence to punish, used other methods on the children under his care, which proved to be fatal. Though it was actually another child who carried out the punishment, it was at the uncle’s direction while he was away from home. Story here.
Now, two lawmakers want to keep this from happening again.
Today’s article would explain why Richard’s step-child, Tracy’s child, was placed back with Richard and Tracy even after Richard nearly choked her to death. He was charged with Child Abuse, but it was dismissed and the charges reduced to Battery after he pled no contest. (Story here.) I always wondered why the [email protected]$k I saw all four of their kids, including the step-child, with Richard and Tracy after the charges and the conviction. A man who can choke a 9-year-old child is not fit to have any children around him–and this was not the only thing he had ever done to her. Richard and a mutual friend both told me of things that had happened before; the mutual friend said Richard had beaten the crap out of her when she was real little. Yet there she was, still with Richard, rather than placed with her father as I would’ve expected.
This loophole in state law would explain why this happened. But after the Hauschultz case hit the papers, lawmakers now want to change that loophole:
Hauschultz, who in 2009 had admitted to beating a child with a wooden carpentry tool, had been found guilty of felony child abuse. But through a plea bargain, the conviction went on his record as disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor that doesn’t involve violence.
That created a loophole that eventually proved fatal to Ethan.
Had Timothy Hauschultz been convicted of child abuse in the 2009 case, Wisconsin law would have barred human services workers from placing children in his care. But because there was no child abuse conviction on his record, caseworkers were barred from even considering the incident — though pages of detail were available in a public file in a courthouse a short walk from the human services office.
Jacque’s bill would bar human services workers from placing a child in the custody of any adult who’d admitted in court to abusing a child, pleaded “no contest” to a child-abuse charge or been convicted of a lesser offense via a plea bargain in a child abuse case.
I came across a Nigerian article on the subject of slapping kids upside the head in punishment, based on research done by Nigerian researchers. Now, I get the impression that the writer and researchers don’t yet realize that other forms of physical punishment such as an “all-out whipping with a belt or paddle” are just as abusive and damaging as smacking a kid on the head. So be warned. But I’m glad to see awareness being raised in other parts of the world about damages that smacking does to the brain. Some quotes:
Although, such an act may not make the child lose consciousness, medical experts warn that repeated blows to the head may lead to worrying consequences, including increased susceptibility to concussion, long-term cognitive decline and chronic traumatic encephalopathy – a degenerative disease associated with people who have suffered multiple head injuries.
Paradoxically, little blows to the head can add up to big risks, even a continuous habit of hitting a child on the head. A growing body of evidence suggests that repetitive head trauma may increase the risk of a variety of progressive brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and the muscle-wasting condition, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The following article, written by Brian Bennett, is very informative about strangulation and research done in recent years. Some quotes:
An idea was promulgated for decades that there must be external signs of injury such as marks on the neck and/or petechial hemorrhage in the eyes when strangulation occurred. It was believed that without those injuries the assault could not be proven and likely did not occur. This idea is far from the truth.
It can take as little as five pounds of pressure for six to ten seconds to render a person unconscious. … Signs and symptoms known to be associated with strangulation now include a raspy or hoarse voice, difficulty breathing, vision changes, fluid in the lungs, vomiting and involuntary loss of bladder/bowel control.
If a person loses consciousness because the brain has been starved of oxygen then there is permanent brain damage.
In reality, the act of strangulation itself is a lethal act regardless of an offender’s intent. It tells us that the offender has a propensity to use lethal violence and I would argue also demonstrates a mindset that lethal violence is justifiable against anyone. If an offender is willing to harm their intimate partner, child, vulnerable adult or anyone using strangulation, then they can kill anyone….
A study of 300 “choking” cases by the Family Justice Center Alliance in San Diego and Institute on Strangulation Prevention showed that a woman who is strangled even once is 750 percent more likely to be strangled again and 800 percent more likely to be killed later.
Research is showing that many of the domestic mass shooters in the U.S. also had a history of domestic violence and strangulation prior to their mass killings.
This worries me because my ex-friend Richard strangled his own step-daughter, who was only 9, until she passed out. He, by the way, was some 400 pounds at the time, according to court records. She reported it herself, which must have taken amazing courage–and there must have been physical evidence. Since so many incidents don’t have physical evidence, and this was the following day (IIRC), Richard must really have pressed hard.
The information in this article makes me worry that 1) he could do it again, 2) he could murder somebody, 3) she had permanent brain damage from this, and 4) his step-daughter could end up with some guy who chokes her again.
Especially since, in an e-mail to me, Richard and/or Tracy jeered at me for “not having all the facts” in this case. Um…Exactly what “facts” make it okay that you strangled your daughter? Even if they become so-called pillars of the community, I know what kind of people they really are: the kind who would minimize strangling a child and threaten and make fun of and stalk the person who discovered the truth.
But back to the article. Lots more good information is in the article here. I encourage you to read it if you’re with an abusive spouse/parent/caregiver/etc.
In July 2011, I learned that my ex-friend Richard, a narcissist, had been charged with Child Abuse with High Probability of Great Harm and Second-Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety. I did not, however, know any details: which child, what did he do, and was it even the same Richard? It was his name and birthdate, yet the address was different.
On September 12, 2011, I found out the truth. I was waiting anxiously for the police department to release its investigation into the Cruckson case that day. James Cruckson had raped his ex-girlfriend, and while holed up in his house, shot and killed a police officer–then himself.
Because the ex-girlfriend was reportedly physically abusive to him and her child, this case was highly controversial in the community, as people argued over whether or not she was really raped, did she try to set him up, etc.
I followed a conversation in the comments of a local blog, and was especially interested because this was supposedly a woman abusing a man.
I had become an advocate raising awareness, on Facebook and my website, of women abusing men, because of Tracy abusing Richard, and Chris’ wife abusing him as well. So it was a big deal when the reports were released to the public.
While watching the website for the Fond du Lac newspaper, waiting for the reports to be released, I happened to come across a feature I did not previously know about: weekly court cases, presented with mug shots and a short description.
I had been watching the print version’s court cases for years, but lately they’d been missing. So that’s where they put them!
I began poking around, scanning through the archives, looking for information on what Richard did. And there it was, in the March 4, 2011 court cases!
No more doubt that it was the same Richard, because the address was different–That was him in that mug shot! And with such an angry look! I yelled at the picture for what he had done to that girl.
The old court cases were purged from the Net in 2013, but I still have the printouts.
As I had been doing ever since the “friendship” ended, I went to my real friends for support, expressing my shock and anger at what he had done to his own daughter.
(My friends are far away, but we are connected by e-mail and Facebook; I also reconnected with some old friends here in town who had drifted off.)
Their comfort and support helped me realize that my reaction matched the situation, that this was an evil deed.
This was important, because my own Stockholm Syndrome still affected me a year after the end of the friendship, still made it hard to tell myself that Richard was not the kind, gentle, loving soul I always thought he was.
I posted the following on my website two days later:
Now I know what happened, something so terrible that Todd is so disgusted that he has dropped Richard even from Facebook, and regrets ever having let Richard into his life, let him influence him, etc. etc.
[Added 3/17/14: I don’t know if Todd told Richard why he dropped him from Facebook. But I do know that he said that Richard is a “f**king scumbag” and that Richard–who at the time had an icon of a saint for his Facebook profile picture–is a hypocrite.
Todd also said that if Richard kept coming to my church, then Richard and my husband needed to have a little talk about Richard not going there anymore.
Todd has also seen some of the nasty e-mails Richard and Tracy sent to us, and knows about the abuse.]
The details are on the local newspaper’s website, in its weekly listing of court cases and mug shots, from the week of 3/4/11:
On September 21, 2010, the oldest child, who was 9 at the time, was being a typical child, not listening to Richard or cleaning up, when he strangled her until she passed out, and she awoke on a couch.
(He often complained that the kids did not listen to him and clean up.)
She told the police the following day, he admitted to the police that he did this and why, and said that he apologized to her when she woke up.
He was summoned to court and officially charged on March 1, 2011, the same day I posted my letter to CPS, and released on bond. His court date is very soon.
Now I’m told that when this same daughter was very small, he got so angry with her once that he beat her mercilessly. This poor girl has been through so much crap in her young life, and now this? Kudos to her for telling the police instead of pretending everything was okay.
This incident tells me that Richard is not worth my grief, that I should not regret losing his friendship, that his and Tracy’s opinions on anything and everything–including me–are suspect, questionable, and not to be taken seriously or sleep lost over it.
He and Tracy are just big, violent bullies who want to push other people around and intimidate them until they get their own way, and punish them–verbally or sometimes physically–for having their own minds and feelings about things.
I thought for so long that he was so awesome and cool; turns out he’s just a big bully. He had told me a couple of times that he had abused the children in the past, but that he wasn’t doing that anymore.
But this incident was in 2010, not 2006 or 2005 or 2004 or whenever he might have done the previous abuse. This shows that he is not reformed, after all.
Especially because of his size (6’5 and 400 lb.) and strength, this shows that he is not safe for anyone to be around, whether small child, woman, man, anybody.
He deserves to sit in jail for a long time, and he just might. It puts his comments that he wanted to “strangle” me for something once, into a whole new, disturbing light–because it may have been literal.
This LIAR told me that Tracy was the abuser, when he himself was also abusing the kids. This also means that when he told me Tracy was abusing him, while I could see that she was truly abusing both him and the kids, he was probably abusing her as well!
This, at last, is the “ah-ha” moment I needed to put this issue to rest in my mind, all the self-reflection, wondering if something they said may have been correct, wondering if I should’ve done something different.
It shows me that I was correct to think they are abusive and manipulative bullies, vindicates my letter to CPS, vindicates me.
It shows me that they have absolutely no business lecturing anyone about right and proper behavior, or boundaries, because they don’t respect the boundaries of others and behave very poorly, selfishly and boorishly.
It tells me that Richard manipulated me into thinking that Tracy was the problem, and that he had learned to control himself through religion, when he himself still has violent tendencies.
It tells me that Tracy’s opinions of me and my behavior, and her justifications of herself, are just so much dung to be thrown into the sewer.
It tells me that when Richard blamed me for anything, or lectured me for anything, or told me it was stalkerish to save all my letters, or told me I shouldn’t get upset about him not calling when he said he would or responding to my e-mails, or told me that even little kids know that giving a compliment is your cue to start a conversation–that his lectures also needed to be thrown into the sewer.
It tells me that yes, Tracy is indeed a malignant narcissist and/or narcissistic borderline personality disordered person who only seeks her own twisted ends and doesn’t care about the rights or opinions of others, that I was probably right to suspect that she twisted anything I did or said when reporting to Richard about it, so that he believed her and thought badly of me.
(Once he told me she said I had manipulated Jeff into doing something, when that wasn’t true at all!)
[2014 note: I added “narcissistic” to “borderline” after discovering that there are different kinds of BPD. I want to distinguish between those who do and do not wish to cause harm.]
It tells me that yes, Richard is indeed a narcissist who twists his way into your heart (whether you’re male or female), manipulates you into doing what he wants you to do and then lets you take the heat
(such as when he began manipulating me into thinking it was perfectly right and proper for him to give me long hugs or put his head on my shoulder when Jeff and Tracy weren’t around and then let Tracy blame me when she found out, when he knew full well what Tracy’s temper was like while I had never even met her before),
then sucks you dry and tosses you aside when your narcissistic supply becomes old or inconvenient.
It tells me that I’m done grieving over the loss of his friendship, done wishing things were different, because there is no way on this earth that I’m going to be friends with child abusers.
[Addendum written 2014:] On September 12, 2011, at 8:13pm, 6 hours after posting a link to the Cruckson case report, I posted to Facebook in a fury I could no longer contain for social niceties,
The one I thought was my awesome, best friend–I was SO fooled. Whatever he and his wife may have thought, the true reason we “broke up” with them was that they’re both violent bullies–verbally and physically.
I witnessed and was told of domestic & child abuse. The LIAR, he told me SHE was the abuser.
But the local newspaper says that HE *choked* his eldest till she passed out. CHOKED her. Confessed to it. And will probably go to jail for it. I NEVER want to see those creeps again!
What the F**K? They did sh*t so bad it’s in the newspaper? That’s disgusting. And to think I was friends with them once, too. Do you have the link to the article?
He was especially disgusted after seeing the mug shot and court records for himself, since they were freely available online. One friend said to let CPS protect the kids and not dwell on it. I responded,
It’s hard not to when for about 5 years I thought he was so cool…when we had seemed like such close friends…when he told me the awful things his wife was doing and that he had to be around to protect the kids from her….
Now to find out that HE is also capable of awful things.
Then I think back and remember: some details of his violent past, being arrested dozens of times for I know not what, how he almost assaulted his landlady until his wife talked him out of it, how he threatened physical violence against my husband for sticking up for me when my “friend” and I were having problems, how he used to be a thug of some kind (I didn’t get many details) when his friends were doing shady activities back in college [that’s the Mafia thing], that he told me if his wife ever cheated he’d take a baseball bat to the guy (just like the Apostle), that if she ever hit him in the face while punching him he would fight back as if she were a man….
Keep in mind that he’s very big and powerful…..I shudder to think what it was like for the eldest girl, only 9 years old at the time, getting choked by him.
It makes me wonder why my husband and I both witnessed the family all together back in June, three months after the charges were filed. I can only hope CPS is working closely with them and getting them to make changes, for him to be allowed to be so close to them.
Another friend wrote,
Oh Nyssa. That is so very sad. I can’t even imagine why that child is still with parents like that. I agree with you and hope CPS is working closely with them. Also, I’m sure that must be difficult news to find out about your exfriend. Prayers!
The first friend wrote,
Ok, that is too much to forget about. Maybe you should write about your experiences with them to start yourself on the path of recovery? Please know that your true friends would never manipulate you like that and we support you whatever your decisions.
If you saw them in a public place in June, maybe CPS was nearby. But then again, maybe not. This seems like the type of couple that can play a part to manipulate a judge.
Yes, I’ve been writing down my experiences….It seems that the more I remember, the angrier I get….
I saw plenty that the wife was doing–screaming, cussing, smacking around, belittling the children. I heard her yelling at my “friend” and screaming and cussing at others….
She made all sorts of nasty comments to me and deliberately in my hearing and kept getting angry at me. I didn’t get too close to her because of that, but of course, she acted like *I* was the one with the problem, that I was making excuses of shyness etc. for not talking with her much, and tried to force me to befriend her to “prove” that I wasn’t out to “move in on” her husband. (We were just friends!)
And he just kept enabling her. Who needs that kind of drama?
After she became especially nasty one day after an e-mail which she read into all sorts of things that weren’t there, and posted on FB that she’s having a GREAT day because she finally was allowed to scream at me, Jeff and I dropped them like hot potatoes.
But I thought that my “friend,” at least, was a gentle person trying to tamp down his violent past and be pious…. Then I began to write and remember….
My husband told me how, on the day we ended the “friendship,” this guy tried to get into his face and tower over him (he’s very tall) and scream at him, and Jeff yelled at him, “You SIT DOWN! Don’t intimidate me like that!”
And they both went on about how 99% of people would react even more severely than his wife did, etc. etc…..
For so long I’ve been mourning the loss of the friendship and wishing things were different and wondering if maybe, someday, it can be restored. Constantly going over my own part in things and wondering if I should have done some things differently.
But now that I have proof–from our local newspaper and the state’s public court case website–that my “friend” has done something horrible–NO WAY. All the self-reflection can now STOP. All the grief can stop. There’s nothing here that I want back.
My friend wrote,
And there is nothing you did that was wrong. You’ve turned the other cheek to them so often you’ll be spinning for the better part of a year. Keep on writing and maybe go to the batting cages to release the anger.
And yes, I have reported them to CPS–ironically, posting my letter to them the same day he was charged with child abuse. So they know what I know. I’ve done all I can.
At the time, I thought the report would lead to services offered to the family, such as parenting classes and anger management and the like, and CPS would work with them to improve their lives.
When a guy shot a cop and himself after a domestic abuse situation with his ex-girlfriend here in town, I thought, “I hope that my letter to CPS means that my ex-friends won’t turn out like this!”
I had no clue that the same day I sent the letter, one of them was being charged with intentional child abuse causing injury (high probability of great harm) and 2nd-degree recklessly endangering safety, both felonies which could lead to many years in state prison.
At the time, I was very low spiritually, wondering how God could have led these people into my life and then ripped them out again in such horrible circumstances.
Now I see His leading, helping me find the spiritual answers I was seeking 6 years ago, but also putting me in position to witness things that needed to be brought to the attention of authorities.
I was there to try to influence them if possible and save them from themselves, I think, because I did try, but they scoffed at my opinions.
Then God yanked me out of the situation just in time–only two and a half months before this horrible thing happened.
And kudos to that little girl for having the courage to tell the police what happened.
Another friend wrote,
God works mysteriously, and thank God that girl had such courage. I’ve been in situations as a teacher where I knew abuse was occurring, but the child had been so well trained to lie and protect the parent.
Nyssa, you are a beautiful soul. It is so Christ-like to see the good in such a person. I remember the pain you suffered when the friendship ended, but in hindsight: what a blessing!
I’ve made some really sorry choices sometimes in friendships too, so please don’t beat yourself up about it. Lesson learned. Blessings and prayers!
Thanks! It’s painful to think of someone I trusted and thought was a good person, doing something like this….
But I’m told that when this girl was very small, he beat her mercilessly once. What kind of person does such a thing to a little girl??? And now he’s proven that he’s not reformed, after all.
The only good place for him is in jail, sad to say.
And of course, when it became clear that Tracy was still with Richard, some of us wondered WHY? HOW can you stay with the man who nearly killed your daughter? One person said she had seemed too smart for that. We were all quite puzzled by the whole thing.
First, the local newspaper reported Richard’s summons on their website’s weekly court cases.
Every week (except for the week Richard was convicted, naturally), they post mug shots and details of selected court cases in the county.
The week of 3/4/11, there was his mug shot for all to see, and what he did, along with his confession. There was no mistaking that was Richard.
But the week of his plea/sentencing hearing, they posted nothing. So I had to get details from the state’s court website. Finally, today, 11/11/11, the newspaper printed in the “Day in Court” section:
Richard —-, [address], one year probation, [fine], battery.
It’s heartening to see that his sentence was actually worse than similar convictions in that section. The person below him got battery (domestic abuse, repeater) and disorderly conduct (domestic abuse), and two years probation, but a much smaller fine.
Another person was charged with battery and also paid a smaller fine, no probation or jail.
Another person got battery (domestic abuse), one year probation, and a much smaller fine.
Apparently, the local courts are trying to keep people out of jail, getting money from fees rather than paying money for their room and board in prison.
When I look at his mug shot, I try to identify his demeanor: Angry at his daughter for turning him in? Angry at the police? Sheepish? I just can’t figure it out.
I can pick up many body language cues these days, but nuances still can elude me. Sometimes I think he looks upset with himself for getting himself into this mess, and hope that means he’s willing to change.
But lately, when I look at it, I think he looks angry. My husband agrees.
And that disturbs me, because why should he be angry if he’s truly sorry for what he did? Why did he plead no contest instead of guilty, even though the newspaper website stated that he did confess after his daughter reported him? Is he or is he not taking responsibility for his actions?
My husband thinks he’s angry because he doesn’t think the government should be telling him how to raise his kids. I wonder why it took five months for the police to charge him, when his daughter reported him the next day.
But she was a brave little girl, doing what so many abused children do not do, whether because they’re brainwashed into thinking their parents are just disciplining them and they deserve it, or because they’re too scared to report their parents and enrage them further.
But there you go. The public knows thanks to the newspaper. (No, “Richard” is not his real name.) And because the public knows, he must know that Hubby and I know, and I hope the thought shames him.
I thought he was cool. I thought he was awesome. I thought he was gentle, godly and pious. I thought he was fun to be around, and would never hurt his own children, other than one time when they were little.
But now everybody knows the truth. How was I so fooled?
We are not to blame. His wife is most likely borderline personality disordered/malignant narcissist, making all her opinions of me worthless.
(Borderline is described by NAMI as a serious mental illness, her mother has it, and she was abused herself as a child, making her higher-risk for developing it.)
[Update 5/10/14: I have since learned of a borderline spectrum. She is more likely to be high-functioning borderline, which is more under control but less likely to recognize one’s own emotional instability–and also more likely to be narcissistic as well.]
Besides her behavior which matches everything I read about borderline, I witnessed her hanging half her body out of their van as Richard drove along the street, very dangerous behavior which I’m told is common with borderlines. One of the traits of BPD is impulsive and reckless behavior, and this may also be considered suicidal or self-harming behavior, another trait.
Richard, as well, could be personality disordered/narcissistic, especially from living with someone with BPD traits.
Nobody who was not disordered in some way, would betray and threaten friends who had been extremely kind to him, or choke a child within an inch of her life.
My mind is still reeling from the juxtaposition of what I thought he was and what he’s been proven to be.
I figured Social Services (or CPS) was involved, because they work together with law enforcement on child abuse cases.
But there on that page was proof that Social Services is indeed involved here, that they set rules which the court ordered to be obeyed as conditions for Richard’s bond:
Signature bond set
Follow rules of informal agreement of DSS. Fingerprints and photo.
[Update 2/2/15: DSS is an acronym for “Department of Social Services”: See here, where “DSS” is used in the address and e-mail address for the department, which includes protection of children.
The use of an “informal agreement” for a case that has been charged in court is confusing, because the description here is,
If the case is handled informally an Informal Agreement is signed outlining rules of supervision and appropriate services for the family. This signed contract means that the case does not go to court and is in effect for six months.
The family may or may not continue to work with the Dept. of Social Services beyond the initial six months depending on whether or not the informal agreement was satisfactorily met.
But the above does not fit the actual court case AT ALL. First of all, contrary to the above description, it DID go to court.
If the court has made following the agreement a condition of bail, and a criminal charge has now been made, it no longer fits the above description. It sounds more like Court-Ordered Supervision.
Since it took more than four months for the charges to be filed, I wonder if they made an informal agreement but broke it–then got charged and forced to follow it. I also suspect the rules of probation, which were not stipulated online, were to follow this agreement.
Also, the charges were formally made on the same day I sent a letter to Social Services describing Richard’s own abuses: He told me he put the kids in the closet and smacks them on the head. I often wonder if the results of the investigation into that letter, were used in the court case, which took seven months from initial appearance to conviction.]
So they’re working with the family, and Social Services also has a letter I wrote (completely separate from this case, which I did not know about at the time), so they know what I know.
So I do hope that in time, conditions will turn around in this family, that Richard and Tracy will learn how to control their anger and stop the abuse, and some sort of friendship will be possible between us again–though only if the past can be dropped and I can be allowed to be myself.
Because I want to be back in the lives of the precious little children whom I felt led to protect with that letter to Social Services.
Because I hate having enemies, especially ones who were once friends.
It helps that I have not used their real names, and that I did not publicly shame them. That Richard did it himself–and now his name is in the paper as convicted of battery, and on the newspaper’s website and the online database as a child abuser.
He screwed up his own life and dreams.
According to my priest, he’ll never be ordained now that he has this on his record.
Any political aspirations would be cut short as soon as the media dug it up, and any potential employers can Google his name and find his online case file on the very first page. [2/2/15: I’m told that employers are allowed to refuse to hire someone with abuse on their record, if it would affect the job.]
He has no one to blame for his public shame but himself.
(Update 11/15/11): Until October, I hadn’t cried over this for many, many months. But the depression is back. The sadness keeps weighing me down like a lead blanket.
Seeing his name in the newspaper court records on Friday, has put me into a funk again.
I can’t help crying at what he’s done, how many people he’s hurt: his former friend Todd, his little girl, Hubby, me, numerous people in his past.
The proof is there–I need no more evidence–that he has done a horrible thing, been convicted of it.
It’s no dream, no fantasy I dreamed up.
He did such a bad thing that Social Services was involved before they even got my letter, giving him rules that the court ordered him to follow.
This guy was my friend. I thought he was such a pious, gentle, harmless person, who loves his little children dearly and wants to protect them, who would never harm me, either.
I went to him with spiritual and religious questions, as a fellow searcher who had already found his path. He guided me every step of the way until I found my way into Orthodoxy, helped keep me there even when the fundamentalist converts on the Net made me waver.
He even offered to be my godfather if I decided to be chrismated (made Orthodox). (I said no because he was a man my age, so it would be too weird.)
He had a similar religious background to mine, so we both had dealt with many of the same things in our old churches. I saw him as my spiritual mentor.
Now I see someone I’m afraid of, whom I once loved as my best friend.
Someone who nearly killed his daughter, someone who went along with his wife’s abuse of me and began bullying me as well to save his own skin.
Someone whose circumstances I kept crying over and trying to help with, only to be tossed away like an annoyance for some petty thing.
Things like this don’t just go away overnight; you don’t just forget them.
Breakups with boyfriends in college and the funk they put me into, seem like nothing compared to the betrayal and loss of someone I considered my best friend forever, someone who had my back, only to turn around and stab me in it.
I still keep hoping that one day–especially if Social Services succeeds in helping him turn his life around, counsels him on anger management and parenting and such–that he will come to us and repent of what he’s done to us.
Because despite everything, despite my anger and disappointment with him, despite how I feel about his politics and his opinions on NVLD, a part of me still wants my friend back.
(Update 11/26/11): Another examination of the mug shot, along with some googling for how to identify facial expressions, reveals a more disturbing interpretation: not just anger, but also contempt.
The rest of his face looks angry, and one corner of his mouth curves down–but one corner of his mouth curves slightly upwards, causing just enough wrinkling to look like the beginning of a smile. In other words, a sneer.
The other basic emotions all have basic facial symmetry, but contempt shows on only one side of the face. And while both his eyebrows curve downward in the middle, one side of his face definitely looks different from the other, and he’s looking down.
Everything I read says this is a classic contempt expression.
Contempt? Contempt for whom? You’ve just been summoned to court for nearly killing your daughter, and your face shows both anger and contempt?
“Guilt, shame, and contempt are each based on meeting expectations: Guilt: I did not meet your moral standards and expectations, Shame: I did not meet my own standards of behavior, and Contempt: you did not meet my moral standards and expectations” —(http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/contempt.htm).
This is extremely disturbing! If he were angry at himself, his face would show shame, not contempt. Contempt means he’s angry at somebody else–but he’s the one who did the terrible deed! Who is he angry at? Who did not meet his moral standards and expectations?
Researching “contempt” also brings to mind Tracy’s claims of feeling snubbed. Well, if she felt snubbed or like I felt contempt because I was reacting to her many acts of abuse of Richard and/or the children while I was right there–well, it’s her own fault!
If you verbally or physically abuse somebody right in front of me, what other expression (other than surprise or fear or being appalled) could I rightfully assume, in all justice toward the victim of bullying and abuse?
(Update 12/4/11): It’s also baffling to see things turn out like this. In the beginning, Richard seemed like a good guy, a decent sort, gentle and god-fearing. He would get excited about theological points and articles just as I would, so we could talk about these and search out what Orthodoxy says about such topics as literal interpretation, End Times, original sin, and universalism. He was happy to read an article I lent him on what an Orthodox writer says about the salvation of all.
There is a part of him that desires the truth and could still lead to his salvation. But somewhere along the way, he got lost in all this violence.
I pray that he finds his way back Home again. Not just for his salvation, but because I miss the friend who once was.
Not what he turned into, which was a jerk, but the friend he was in 2005-2007, the one I told about my family crisis in 2007 even though I only knew him via phone and Internet, because we were that close and comfortable with each other.
But did that person ever really exist, or was it just the facet he showed me?
I pray for the social workers and probation officer, so that they can help this family stop the abuse and begin to heal. Otherwise the misery could continue for years, because these beautiful, sweet, innocent children will most likely carry it on into their own relationships and families.
(Update 12/20/11): In trying to find out what happened to a guy I went to school with, who still lives in my home state and is rumored to be in jail now, I discovered a multi-state inmate locator. So what the heck, I checked it for my state.
Two things I found out: The guy I mentioned a few posts back, who annoyed my SCA shire in 1999 and ended up getting charged with photographing teenage girls a couple years ago? His stayed sentence has been revoked, and he’s in jail now. He has to register as a sex offender for many years to come. LOL Guy’s a sociopath.
Also, I found that Richard took five updated pictures in November for the state, which were posted on this site. When he showed up at my church a week or two after the verdict, and showed some signs of repentance (for one, holding himself back from the Eucharist, which you do when you’ve committed some grave sin and need to do penance), I hoped he was sorry for what he did and working on it. These new pictures were taken after that.
I had hoped to see some evidence of repentance and change in his pictures; all I found was more contempt. More hatred being sent to the camera. More “you are scum” being sent to the camera.
More of it than before, because now he has his head up and cocked to one side (all the easier to look down his nose at the picture-taker), his mouth is curled upwards more clearly on one side, and he’s looking up instead of down, so the look in his eyes is much clearer to see. (Before, he was looking down, but his eyebrows were angry.)
Heck, I could swear it was my brother’s expression when he bullied me.
The old mug shot has more anger in the eyebrows; the new pictures have more raised eyebrows, making the contempt win out over the anger.
There are five pictures, not just one moment in time like the mug shot, so you can see it’s not just a posed half-smile; all three of the front-facing pictures have the same expression. It’s a scary look.
I spent so much time with him and got so comfortable with him that I could hold eye contact and pay far more attention than I normally do to people’s body language; I felt I could read him extremely well at times; I don’t recall ever seeing a look like this on his face.
I saw joy, sadness, religious devotion, humor, annoyance at his children, happiness to see good friends, playfulness, or anger with his wife, even anger at me once, but I never saw him look like this.
And I see it very clearly in these new pictures. I see that side of him that I never could quite believe in before, that violent side.
Hubby says he looks like the cat who swallowed the canary, like he got away with something.
I see that my suspicions of narcissism–as much as I hoped I was wrong about that–are confirmed.
I had hoped for better than that. I had thought he was better than that. What the heck has happened to him? Yuck.
Somehow I have to stop wishing he’d call me up and say he’s sorry, say he wants to make things right.
Lately, I’ve been missing him and wishing that would happen. Well, I don’t know if I can ever stop wishing for that; I’ve had bullies and exes do that, so why couldn’t it happen here, too? Even my abusive ex *Phil* apologized to me. I know Richard has made peace with people in his past before.
But to long for it, wish for things to be the way they were in October/November 2007–somehow I have to let go of that.
It does help to keep looking at these court records and pictures, because the contempt I see in them is disgusting. I do it again and again to try to drive the longing for reconciliation out of my heart.
What he did was disgusting. But still that part of me keeps hoping for change…..
But I am so frickin’ GLAD I sent that letter to Social Services in March.
I am so glad I told them he talked about putting the kids in the closet.
I’m glad I told them he might strike Tracy one of these days if she hits his face.
I’m glad I told them about the crap Tracy was pulling.
And I hope that the probation officer sees (or probably took) those pictures, sees the contempt in his face, and either makes him do the full sentence, or asks to have the stayed sentence revoked so he can go to jail for ten days. [Update 2/2/15: Richard served the full probation sentence.]
(Update 3/12/12:) After reading what the District Attorney said about my former boss, that he gave him a deferred prosecution agreement so he could have more control over my former boss than “if he had just pled to the felonies,” such as anger management, medication, etc.–I wonder if it was the same thing here.
Did the plea agreement result in probation so the District Attorney could have more control over Richard, get him into counseling and the like, make sure he followed the agreement with Social Services? I do hope so.
(My boss went ballistic when his wife wanted to leave him. It seems he’d been physically abusing her. He drove the red pickup truck I remembered, into the kitchen and did lots of damage to the side of the house; he resisted arrest; he caused damage when the police hauled him in.)
One of the most fascinating aspects of Zimmerman’s latest incident was that he himself called the police to counter his girlfriend’s call, and offered another dispatcher a separate set of facts. He said that the girlfriend had “gone crazy” and had broken a table in the apartment.
“I just want everyone to know the truth,” he tells the dispatcher. “She got mad that I told her I would be willing to leave.”
There’s no telling what exactly happened before their respective calls to police. But, if Zimmerman’s girlfriend is telling the truth, then his effort to turn the tables and make his girlfriend sound guilty is again a classic case of something domestic violence prevention advocates call “minimization, denial and blaming,” which is when abusers make the victim feel as though they are responsible for the abuse, or crazy for thinking any abuse occurred at all. –Annie-Rose Strasser, What George Zimmerman’s story can teach us about domestic abusers