July 15, 2009

by A Mother, An Advocate
( USA)

On July 16th of 2009, a parents biggest fear came to fruition for me when I was advised that my 14 year old child had been sexually assaulted by someone she trusted, and that I had never met before.

She was introduced to this person from a friend in school, and after the friend took my child with her to his families home he began to groom my child.

She came home and stated to us that a man was following her around, and we advised her to stay as far away from him as possible. We thought it was over.

We were wrong, after we advised her to stay away from him we never heard anything about him again. She came home one day and said she had a boyfriend named "Bubba" who was her age.

I started to notice characteristics in my daughter that raised red flags. She began to act like she was much older than she really was. Her attitude and personality became that of an adult. She spoke to us like she was an adult. She thought she was on the same level as us, and began to tell us what to do, and demanded that we listen to her, etc.

I was very concerned. I knew something was not right but I could not put my finger on it. She then started disappearing from her bedroom. I would get up to get something, and go to check on her and she would be gone. We started to sleep in shifts quietly, to keep an extra eye out on her.

For 14 years old, she was naturally very naive and vulnerable, and I was greatly concerned.

I would ask her where she was, and who she was with, and always recieve the answer that she was with her friend. I knew differently, but still would have never thought she was with "Bubba" this school mate she claimed to be her boyfriend.

I was in my home office one day when my daughter "Marcy" came to me, and said "Hey mom, Bubba gave me some steaks for the house." Immediately, my heart began to sink as I approached the kitchen to see these steaks that he had given to us. She brings them out of the fridge, and they were big and obviously marinated.

My heart sunk as I asked her how old "Bubba" really was. Red flags were flying up and all around me. She advised that he was her age, and that he had learned how to marinate through his uncle. That his uncle taught him how to marinate these specific steaks.

I recieved a phone call from her school principal wanting to let me know that "Marcy" was in his office and that she was 45 minutes late from her lunch break. That she had leftovers from a mexican restaurant with her, but that she insists that she was alone at the restaurant. He stated he does not believe she was alone, and wanted to let me know.

Shortly after this she needed a ride to the store, and I took her. She went into the store and bought a cell phone. I asked her where she got the money for this cell phone, and she stated that "Bubba" gave her 150.00 to buy this phone. I internally panicked, hesitated and began to ask even more questions. How the hell can a 14 year old afford to give anybody this kind of money?

Enough was enough, and her biological father and I did an emergency intervention with her for 3 days on the lake at her grandparents home trying to figure out who this "Bubba" really was. She would never tell us, and would never take me by his home so I could speak with his parents.

She protected him from us, and in July of 2009, she was with her father for her school break (and because I wanted to separate her from this "Bubba"). I received a call from her father in a panic because he now knew who "Bubba" really was.

He advised me that "Bubba" is not a 14 or 15 year old. That "Bubba" is 35 years old. That "Marcy" was introduced to him through a friend, and that he had already called and spoke with "Bubba" wife who verified they both know "Marcy".

I tore her room upside down. I found a calendar she had that had every date possible that she had seen him. she saw him in the morning before school, and on her lunch hours. She would see him when going to stay at a friends house. As a matter of fact he would pick her up from that house when she was visiting.

I gave her dad all the dates and times, and then went and hid the calendar.

I went through a short phase of denial. I could not believe what I was hearing and seeing. I work in the field of domestic violence and sexual assault. I work in our community to help those who have been affected, and this was the thank you that I get? To hurt my little girl after what I have done to help my community all these years?

It was then that I realized that my children are not off limits, or immune to the 2 subjects that I specialize in. I began to question myself.....why didn't I know what was going on. Why was I not looking for this?? Is this why I saw all the red flags because deep down I suspected? I have never become so angry in my life.

Her father who still had her in his care worked very hard on his end to help come up with the whole truth.

When she came home, and she knew the truth was out, she continued to defend him. Now his name is "Lonnie" and not "Bubba". She proudly advised me that "Bubba" was his fake name, and her fake name is "Ashley". That whenever they are together and they see someone his wife may know that "Marcy" becomes "Ashley" because his wife knows her as "Marcy".

She found the calendar I hid, in the trunk of my car, and she ripped it up into little tiny pieces so it could not be used as evidence against Lonnie. She loved him, and didn't want to see anything happen to him.

I had called my boss to find out the best way to handle this situation as soon as possible. She advised me to call the police for information purposes only. To find out everything that would be expected after pressing charges so there are no "suprises", and we can make a decision based on what is in the best interest of "Marcy".

I called the police department, and an officer arrived. He spoke with me and then "Marcy". He asked her to interview which she agreed after he advised her that his only concern was that she was not forced to have intercourse with "Bubba". After she heard that her defenses came down. I hid in an area where I could hear everything, and they wouldn't know I was there.

I was shocked to learn what he had done to her. She honestly believed he cared for her, and that he loved her. She stated he was going to come to our home and move her out when she turns 18 to go live with him in the tri-cities. Later, she advised me that he also told her that if he wanted to he could come to our home, and get into my heart and have the both of us if he wanted to.

Charges are pressed on "Lonnie", and the officer walks away with the evidence, and her audiotape statement. Within 20 minutes, the police pick him up at his place of employment called "GTF" which is near two high schools, and a school that includes kindergartners, and they arrest him for 6 counts of 3rd degree rape of a trial.

The next day, is when "Marcy" found out he was in jail. She was very upset that we would do that to her. I explained to her that she is not old enough to understand what the word "consent" means, and that he is an adult and he does understand what "consent" means.

That what he did was manipulate her and take advantage of her vulnerabilities.

On July 16, 09 I went to see him on the tv screen at the courthouse pleading not guilty to all 6 counts, and judge Christine Pomeroy set his bail amount to such a low number that he was able to bail himself out that day. I will never forget hearing that he would be released at 7pm if bailed out. His wife shows up after his case is heard. A short chunky spanish woman who will later play a significant role in this case.

I saw what he looked like. An average looking 35 year old male, blond hair, and someone who would fit right into our everyday society. I arrive at the courthouse before he bails out, and wait. He bails out, and I watch from a distance. I see his wife, and an unknown subject there to bail him out getting lost at where they are supposed to go.

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