reporting abuse

I learn that Richard choked his daughter

[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 wrote the following 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!

Todd replied,

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.

I wrote,

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.

I wrote,

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!

I wrote,

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.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing


“The Third Man” and having to report a friend

[This was originally a Facebook post.]

During our trip to Tennessee, I watched this movie, The Third Man, one evening with Hubby’s parents.

Martins discovers his best friend of many years, Lime, was committing crimes which caused children to die.  Lime’s girlfriend Anna also hears about these things.

Martins helps the police, but Anna calls him a Judas.  It’s a horrible choice, one in which morality and values contradict.

I connected with it personally because I also had to report my former best friend, Richard, for things he and his wife Tracy did and told me about (child abuse).

Even if you know you did the right thing, it still burns inside you….

I report them to CPS; Richard is charged with abusing his daughter

[There is more to this story later.  This update was written before I knew what all had happened.  In September I found out more details.]

I discovered on July 1, 2011, through our state’s public access website, that Richard has been charged with two felonies by the state: Second degree recklessly endangering safety, and child abuse with high probability of great harm.

Research into these statutes reveals that the second one, under the statute for physical abuse of a child, is described as, “Whoever intentionally causes bodily harm to a child by conduct which creates a high probability of great bodily harm is guilty of a Class F felony.”

So he has done something terrible to at least one of the children–on purpose.  Which of those beautiful, sweet girls did he hurt?  How did he hurt her?  Why??  How could he??  Was it reported by a teacher, by a doctor?

When I first made acquaintance with him over the Internet in 2005, he seemed to be very cool.  For years I thought he was the most interesting, charismatic, and pious person I knew.  I was drawn to him, and for a long time, he seemed to be drawn to me just as strongly.

But somewhere along the way, things changed–and I never could have imagined that one day I would be writing these things about him and Tracy.  And now he’s done something horrible to at least one, maybe two of the children.  I don’t know what, because the website gives the charges but no details.

It happened on September 21, 2010–almost three months after 7/1/10 (the end of our friendship), either a few weeks or two months before I saw Tracy hanging out of the van window as they drove past, and three months before they came to my church at Christmas.

Then in February 2011–the same month that I probably looked at the calendar, realized six months had passed since I told Tracy that Jeff and I wanted a six-month break, wondered if they would now try to contact us, and soon became very upset that they did not–the charges were filed with the District Attorney’s office.

While I posted my “Fighting the Darkness” blog post and wondered if he would see it (since I was still on his blogroll), he could have been sitting in jail:

The charges were filed 2/10/11; I don’t know when the crime was discovered and reported, when/if he was arrested or how long till he posted bail, since none of these details are on the website at this time.

We saw nothing of him between Christmas 2010 and the Sunday before Greekfest, which was in mid-June 2011, not even a glimpse of his minivan on the street; could he have been in jail then?

I can hardly expect someone who’s dealing with such things to put problems with me on his list of high priorities.  But then, wouldn’t it be good to get all the friends around you that you can?

Still, it would be useless for him to court us if he justifies his actions and thinks the state should not prosecute whatever he did.

I can have no friendship with a child abuser, and only tolerated Tracy because of him.  Child abusers and spousal abusers disgust me, which is why I only tolerated Tracy and would have preferred to have nothing to do with her.

But of course, they blamed me and treated me like I was the problem, like there was absolutely no reason not to be friends with Tracy, like only skanks would not want to be friends with the wife of their male friend.

Research into the state statutes on the charges filed, the different kinds of felonies, and state manuals for Child Protective Services, revealed that he could be in quite a bit of trouble.  Felonies are the most serious kind of charge, with serious consequences.

“Intentional” means he would either have done it with the purpose of hurting the child, or while punishing the child, even if not necessarily meaning to hurt the child.

In either case, this would not be an accident, because anything accidental could either be given a lesser charge (negligence or recklessness), or not charged at all.

And bodily harm of some kind was done to the child, by behavior which caused the high probability of great bodily harm.  You can’t use the defense of parental right to discipline when you’ve caused bodily harm to your child and put the child at risk of great bodily harm.

The types of felonies involved could lead to many years in prison.  Research into how criminal charges are filed, revealed that first there would be an arrest, then a police report sent to the prosecutor.

So at some point, he must have been arrested, possibly thinking he was being oppressed, because he was against the police–wanted police departments to be disbanded and all such matters put in the hands of sheriffs and citizens with guns to protect their families–said he could protect Jeff’s and my family.

Also, he had made grumblings against CPS, as did Chris, the friend he made here in town who agreed with him politically.

And I have discovered that their political persuasion tends to be very anti-CPS, treating CPS as the oppressor–an agent of government control, kidnappers, rapists–rather than as the protector of children who can’t protect themselves.

[Note: This paragraph was written after I found the details of the case in September 2011.  I discovered that Chris vanished from my Facebook probably late January or early February 2011.  He had only just posted something that showed up on my wall around that time, so I knew it was very recent when I first discovered it.

The charges were filed on February 10, so I don’t know if Chris knew about them yet.  I’m pretty sure Richard wasn’t talking about them on Facebook, since Todd was on Richard’s Facebook but had no idea about these things until I told him about them in September, but Richard may have mentioned them to Chris.  

On December 8, 2010, when charges had not yet been filed but the choking incident had been reported a couple of months prior, I posted a link on Facebook to Domestic Violence Handbook: For Wisconsin Child Protective Services Workers.

Facebook at that time was full of people changing their profile pictures in remembrance of child abuse, but I was posting links and this note about things Tracy did, instead.  

I don’t have the message in front of me and have to go on memory, but Chris posted in response to the link something nasty and accusatory about CPS.  Something about them wanting to take your kids away if you don’t follow the rules.  

I deleted it because I wanted my post to help people avoid child and domestic abuse, not become some political argument about CPS.]

The prosecutor decides from the report whether or not to press charges, and for what, and must do so within a few days.

Since the charges weren’t filed until nearly five months after the incident, what was the incident, and did it take a long time before the authorities became aware of it?  How did they learn of it?  How did they know it happened on 9-21?

This suggests that the arrest would have taken place around early February, as I wrote above.  The trial is set for November 2011.

When I learned about the charges against Richard, the shock and dismay affected me physically.

On March 1, 2011, I had mailed a letter, i.e. filed a report, with the local Department of Social Services agency about them, expecting only that–if my report was even taken seriously–it would lead to the DSS providing them with various services and helps.

My old college friend Mike, a pastor and former shelter worker, spoke with me on Facebook on July 4th or 5th, 2010, about the friendship breakup.  The breakup had just happened on the 1st.

I told him the abuses that Tracy had committed against Richard, their children and me, and that Richard was tempted to hit her back if she ever hit his face.

Mike told me I needed to report them for the sake of the children, but I wrote, “I don’t want to be vindictive.” He wrote, “Don’t let friendship stand in the way of doing what’s right for those children!”

I did consider it.  I had also considered it back in January of that year, while we were still friends.

But I was afraid to call CPS because Tracy could punish me for it, either by trying to kill me like I was told she once wanted to do while living in my house, or by reporting me to CPS on some trumped-up charge.

Or because Richard could assault me as he had wanted to assault that apartment manager.

When I discussed it with Jeff, probably shortly after talking with Mike, we agreed that it was too risky to report Richard and Tracy.

Though I was afraid, over the following months I kept coming across things again and again–forum posts, newspaper articles–that said if you suspect child abuse, you must be an “angel” to that child and report it.

Then in late February 2011, I saw The Boondock Saints for the second time (the first time being the night before 8/1/10, when Richard and Tracy came to my church), and the scene which says that evil happens because good men do nothing:

Monsignor: “And I am reminded, on this holy day, of the sad story of Kitty Genovese.

As you all may remember, a long time ago, almost thirty years ago, this poor soul cried out for help time and time again, but no person answered her calls. Though many saw, no one so much as called the police.

They all just watched as Kitty was being stabbed to death in broad daylight. They watched as her assailant walked away. 

Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.”

Connor to his brother as they leave church: “I do believe the monsignor’s finally got the point.”

I was so worried about Richard and Tracy’s girls, growing up in that squalor, in that abusive environment, with that crazy mother–though I had no idea yet that Richard was just as bad as she was.  So finally I said Uncle to my conscience, and began compiling a letter.

First, before mailing the letter, I checked the state’s public access court records website to see if either Richard or Tracy had been charged with domestic violence in the past few years, or any sort of violence–especially since Richard made some comment back in spring 2010 about being arrested numerous times for reasons he didn’t explain.

I wondered if Tracy’s rages had ever been reported by neighbors, especially since I knew she was going into them in early 2009, when they lived in an apartment building and could probably have been heard easily.

But I found no such listing for either of them–though if I had checked the very next day, I would have seen that Richard was charged nearly a month earlier with intentionally and physically abusing one of his children!

Then I checked with a college friend who has been doing social work for years in Madison with troubled adolescents, to see if the things I witnessed, qualified as child abuse in Wisconsin.

She said my concerns are indeed valid, and that Richard and Tracy both sound very abusive.  Her own family was like Richard and Tracy’s, and they still suffer from the after-effects to this day.

She urged me to please report them, to help the children and to help Richard.

I filed the report with DSS, not with the police department, because I wanted them to get services, not to be charged with a crime.  I didn’t expect the children to even be removed from the home.

I expected they would work out a long-term plan, in accordance with DSS procedures, with anger management counseling, parenting courses, and various other services that would help them to stop the abuse and become a healthy, happy family.

I figured that if they knew what was in the report, they would know who made it.  But I saw a news documentary in which one couple said they’d been reported for abusing their children, and a year later, they were very grateful for that report, because they were now much better parents and spouses.

I hoped that this would be the same thing with Richard and Tracy, that in time they would forgive me because they knew I did the right thing, that they would realize it led to their family becoming healthy and happy, and that they would reach out to Jeff and me in friendship, forgiveness and repentance.

Though when I showed the letter to Jeff, he said it meant the permanent end of the friendship.  But I accepted this because it was the right thing to do.  My friends praised my courage.

Also, when I made the report, it was Tracy whom I saw as the principal abuser, with Richard primarily the victim and the one who was trying desperately to keep her from harming the children as well.

On July 1, 2011, the first anniversary of the end of our friendship, I was grieving, and also wondered if the report to DSS had led to criminal charges, so I looked them up again.

When I discovered these charges had been made against Richard, and that they had been made before my report was even sent to DSS, I was devastated.

I had so looked up to him, so idolized him, and used his story as a reason to raise awareness (on the Abuse page of this website) and on Facebook for the problem of domestic violence by women against men.

I saw him as the protector of his children against someone who could very easily harm them all physically and mentally if left unchecked.

In the summer of 2010, I had even written down all the knowledge I had of her abuses, so that if one day I was called as a character witness for him in divorce court or on domestic violence charges, I could present it to the court.

Could he really be capable of harming them himself?  Then I began to piece together the things I already knew, things he had said to me, things I had already written right here in this account (which I started writing in probably fall 2010).

I realized it was all right there in front of me that yes, he is capable of hurting his children!  I just didn’t want to see it!  And if Tracy were to hit him in the face, he could fight back and kill her!  It’s all right there!  The bastard!

I was now very glad to have put in my report the things he did, too, that I knew about: putting the children in the closet at least once, defending smacking a kid upside the head.

He would occasionally deadpan to the oldest girl how he was going to treat her if she did something bad like have sex when she became a teenager, the horrible things he would do to her, then she would cry, and then everyone would laugh nervously as Tracy scolded him for scaring the girl and we realized he was joking.  At least, I think he was joking.

He once told me that when he said things like that to the second-oldest daughter, she just laughed at him.  But if the oldest daughter didn’t get the joke, then it’s not funny, and could actually scar her for life.

Another time, as he drove his children (three at the time) and me to his church (since my priest was on vacation and there were no services), I told him my frustrations with dealing with my son.

This was 2008; my son was four at the time, had begun smacking me around and taunting me so I was actually scared of him.  The only thing that got him to stop (and kept me safe) was to lock him in his room for a few minutes until he calmed down.

It was the middle of the day, he still wore Pull-ups because he just wasn’t interested in using the toilet yet, and it was only for maybe 10 minutes, but I still read books that made this sound abusive.

“What else am I supposed to do?” I cried.  “This is the only thing that works!”

I wasn’t beating him, wasn’t putting him in the closet (unlike Richard), wasn’t putting him in the dark, wasn’t leaving him in his room all day long, wasn’t making him wet himself; I was just separating us both for a short time-out so he wouldn’t hurt me and we would both calm down….

Richard began telling me about something he either did or threatened to do to his oldest girl, something horrible.  I don’t remember the details, just that he deadpanned it and freaked me out a bit.

Something about it made me think he was just kidding around, so I said, “It’s a good thing I know you’re just joking!”

But now–I’m not so sure it was a joke.  I just wish I could remember what he said.

On June 10, 2010, he posted on Facebook for suggestions on how to get the kids to clean without “beating them into bloody submission” which only gets them flinching when he raises a hand and gets them working far less than they already were.

At the time, I thought he was just joking with hyperbole.  Now, I’m not so sure.  Jeff wrote when I e-mailed him about this post, “So: he’s finally learning…?  Yelling at them just makes things worse, and should only be a last resort.”

Richard once plotted to kill the woman who evicted them.  He was once a Mafia thug.

I knew all along that Richard was just as capable of abuse as Tracy, but I didn’t want to face it!

He had said things to me that I found very disturbing, defending and promoting behaviors toward a spouse and toward children which shocked me.  He threatened my husband, said that he was very easily provoked to physical violence.

It was all there!  (And it’s also all here in this account.)

These charges had absolutely nothing to do with my report, being filed almost a month before I mailed my report (a very detailed letter).

The children had probably been removed for a time, but by the time we saw Richard around town again in June, they had obviously been returned.

But his address, according to the website, changed in April 2011–Was he allowed to live with the children, or did he have to move out?  Why were the children returned to someone who had obviously harmed one of them?

I tried to be sure that DSS wouldn’t let him be around the children without certain safeguards being in place, without him at least showing that he could control himself now.

That man is very large, 6’5, 400 pounds according to online court records, even larger than his large wife, and his children very small.  (Those little ones especially needed protection from two large, angry people.)

For months, I had been posting this account online, then making it private, over and over, as I continuously added things.  What started as two short paragraphs on my abuse page, turned into thousands of words.

Sometimes I was too scared to post it, and sometimes I wanted the world to know what happened.  In June 2011 it was online again, but I blocked this account from the public starting on 7/1/11, after discovering the charges, at least until I knew what happened and whether I’d be subpoenaed.

The charges against him could lead to many years in state prison.  I could end up subpoenaed, either because of our friendship or because of the report I made to the DSS.  Could we end up taking in the children?

This discovery has done several things for me, especially since I had nothing to do with the charges made against Richard:

  1. Shown me that I was not imagining it, that their abuse was real.
  2. Shown me that their good opinion is not worth courting.
  3. Shown me that neither of them are good people, that they’re both child abusers who should not be in our lives.
  4. Shown me that DSS–which confirmed the receipt of my letter–must have taken it very seriously, not tossed it aside as I had feared, because they and the state would already have a file open on Richard, would already be extremely interested in what goes on in that family, would be working on a case against him.
  5. Helped me to start moving on.

If Richard is in jail for many years, it won’t matter one bit if our friendship is repaired or not, because our friendship will be at an end anyway.  How can we be friends with a jailed convict, with a convicted child abuser?

How can I spend hours chattering and playing with him on the Net if he’s in jail?  How can we chat on the phone, or visit each other if he’s in jail?  How can I want to be friends with someone who has hurt one of his children on purpose?

And since both Jeff and I can’t stand Tracy, we will not wish to have a thing to do with her if Richard is in jail.

If DSS’s investigation into my report, along with the investigation they were surely already doing because of the charges against Richard, leads them to agree that Tracy is very abusive, that Tracy should not be left to raise them alone–the children could be placed elsewhere.

Richard may still be able to be a psychologist when he gets out of prison, but a priest?  No one will ordain a convicted child abuser!  I will have nothing to fear on that account.  I will also not have to fear him finding this blog.

I can hope that while in prison, he will have lots of time to think over his life and make changes.  Who knows, maybe Jeff and/or I will receive a remorseful letter one day….

[Update 5/3/14:] Every day after this discovery, for some time, I kept printouts of Richard’s case next to me on my computer desk, and looked at them.  I needed to believe it was real; I needed my heart to understand that he’s no good.  Every day I wondered what he had done, and if the newspaper would ever report on it.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing



Then Richard choked his daughter

[This is a backdated post written later.]

I titled the last chapter “Conclusion” because I thought the story was now done, unless one day, finally, Richard would come to me and apologize for his actions and for hurting me.  I often dreamed of it, whether at night or in daydreams.

But then everything changed when I discovered that he choked his daughter shortly after we broke off the friendship:

The local newspaper published Richard’s charges, address and mug shot online, and the state’s official online court records published his birthdate as well, so there was no doubt it was the same Richard.

Seeing his face on my computer screen, angry and looking down, with the charges described underneath–I never could have imagined this….

Here is the exact quote from the newspaper, only edited to remove Richard’s name, address and age:

[Richard] was charged March 1 [2011] with second-degree recklessly endangering safety and child abuse high probability of causing great harm.

He is free on a $5,000 signature bond.

On Sept. 22, 2010, police met with a 9-year-old girl who claimed [Richard] choked her and then she awoke on a couch, according to the criminal complaint.

[Richard] allegedly admitted that the girl was not listening and cleaning up and that he had “asphyxiated” her, according to the complaint.

[Richard] said he apologized to the girl when she woke up.

[Richard] will be in court March 31 for a preliminary hearing.

This was also backed up by the online court records, which gave a full history of Richard’s charges and a partial history of court events, including that–as a condition of his bond–he had to follow an informal agreement with Social Services.

On October 3, 2011, when Richard went to court for a plea/sentencing hearing, the court records published that he was declared guilty of battery through a no contest plea, and sentenced to a year of probation.

His no contest plea meant that the endangering safety charge was dismissed, the child abuse charge was dismissed but read into the record and could be used in sentencing, and his charge was amended to battery.  He was found guilty of battery, a misdemeanor.

I hoped he would plead guilty and save his child from the stress of going through a trial, but I thought he would still get jail time.  The initial charges would have made him a felon, in prison for many years!  Even his beloved guns and voting rights would be forbidden him.

I thought my once-beloved ex-BFF would be locked away for years, with a restoration of friendship impossible–but I no longer wanted it.  Friends with someone who choked his own child?  Heck, no!

He must have had a dang good lawyer to get such a sweet deal.  I refused to vote for her when she ran for city council, because getting him a deal like this, made me wonder about her character.

At least he still has probation, still has a guilty charge of battery.  He was found guilty of battery by a court of law for choking the 9-year-old.

This city is way too lenient on child abuse.  This was just a frickin’ slap on the wrist.

As soon as I discovered this, I realized that everything Richard and Tracy ever said to complain about me, was a sham.  I saw that they are the true criminals here. 

I saw that the image they created of themselves to everyone, of being decent, pious and law-abiding Christians, was a lie, a cover.  And now the law had laid it all bare as the con act it is.

I saw all of Tracy’s words against me, evaporate as if they had never been uttered–because none of it is real, none of it matters, when uttered by criminals.  I might as well have dreamed it all.

I expected that they were both ashamed of what had happened, so ashamed that they would creep out of the public eye.  I expected that Tracy would divorce Richard for nearly killing her daughter, and/or that the child would be given to her birth father.

Discovering later that none of these things happened, shows just how much the world lacks justice, how light on child abuse the courts are around here, and how ineffective Social Services is. 

I have discovered other people who complain that Social Services and the courts here are a joke regarding child abuse.

In a perfect and just world, Richard and Tracy would have been tossed out of every respectable circle or establishment, Richard would have gone to jail for many years, the children would have been placed with a loving and NOT abusive family, and Richard and Tracy would have slunk off to some other place where nobody heard of Richard’s charges.

They certainly never would have dared show their faces at my church again, because the shame of what happened would fill them so much that they would not want to face me.

Because they would know that they treated me poorly, that I did not deserve it, and that they had no right putting themselves above me morally or in any other way–whether how I run my house, how I raise my child, what I feed my family, how I act socially, what is “appropriate” behavior, how a wife should treat her husband, how she behaved on 7/1/10, etc. etc...

All her scolds and nasty e-mails to me were just as meaningless as a small dog barking at a passerby, and just as worthy of disdain.

But this world is neither perfect nor just.  Richard and Tracy still imagine themselves superior to me, as you will see if you read here and follow the posts after.  They are probably both narcissists and/or sociopaths.

And Richard and Tracy’s children are the victims, the ones who are made to suffer for this.

The following parts of this story are my reactions in the months following this discovery.

Table of Contents 

1. Introduction

2. We share a house 

3. Tracy’s abuse turns on me 

4. More details about Tracy’s abuse of her husband and children 

5. My frustrations mount 

6. Sexual Harassment from some of Richard’s friends

7. Without warning or explanation, tensions build

8. The Incident

9. The fallout; a second chance?

10. Grief 

11. Struggle to regain normalcy

12. Musings on how Christians should treat each other

13. Conclusion 

13b. Thinking of celebrating the first anniversary

14. Updates on Richard’s Criminal Charges 

Sequel to this Story: Fighting the Darkness: Journey from Despair to Healing



[This was originally a Facebook post.]

Waiting to hear back on Jeff’s second interview at the M– job…..

This past week has given two reminders of why I wouldn’t mind moving to Sheboygan: We ran into the ex-friends (Richard and Tracy).  Twice, exactly one week apart.

Jeff and our son Daniel ran into them at the store last Sunday (and heard Tracy scolding Richard, as usual); then they came to Greek Fest.

I was following Jeff and Daniel through the main hall, on our way to the kitchen where I was going to wash dishes, and I practically ran into Richard.

I know he saw me; he couldn’t have missed me, because he was facing my direction and I was right in front of him.  I just turned and walked past him without saying a word.

I hope it sent a very clear message of how disgusted we are at what they have done, and that it includes him, too.

Betrayal from your best friend is not something you just excuse.

Of course, he’s probably glad to see that I’m not some drama queen out to make a scene, yelling and such….

Three months ago, I also reported these people for child and domestic abuse.

It was not out of revenge–heck, I resisted doing it for a long time after the breakup.

It was out of concern for the family, all the dysfunction and abuse that was going on all the time.

I got the impression that there was a lot more going on than I was ever told, hints of “drama” and the like, they did things right in front of me, and Richard even told me of things he had done and excused.

Privacy laws mean I can’t find out what Social Services did with the report, but I don’t see how it could have been screened out and ignored, with all the things I described.

And if they got details of the allegations, they probably know exactly who told.  Which means that when we encounter each other like this, they know I reported them.  AWK-ward.

But necessary.  I can’t stand the thought of those kids growing up damaged, to become abusers or abused, and me having done nothing at all to at least try to help them.

I also can’t stand the thought of Richard telling me how Tracy was verbally abusing him, even hitting him so much that he struggled not to hit back, of him saying that if she ever hit his face, he’d say, “You’re not a woman” and hit back–and me having done nothing at all to help him.

Especially when, shortly after I reported them, an abusive relationship turned deadly here in Fondy, resulting in a policeman and the shooter (James Cruckson) being killed.

Even if I am disgusted at the ex-friend’s betrayals, and the many things constantly coming to mind that show a pattern of his gaslighting, deceit and manipulation–I still couldn’t live with myself.

So at least it has been done.  Though they probably hate me for it, it had to be done…..

But at the same time I think how much I’d like to move away from all this, I would miss the people I know here, the people at church…..

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