I am not a victim of this hideous crime. Much to my sorrow and that of my family, I am the offender. Ten years ago, I molested my sister. Betsy (not her real name) was only 11 at the time. I was 22. Betsy was too afraid to turn me in to the authorities, so she confided in a young friend, who was being molested by her father. When the authorities questioned the other girl, she brought up my name, and I was arrested.
I had heard all the horror stories about what happens to child molesters in prison and feared for my life. A detective came to my home with a social worker. Much to their surprise, I confessed immediately, and later that day, I was taken to jail.
Unlike most other sex offenders, I cooperated fully. And unlike most families in such situations, mine was very supportive. Thank G-d, they loved me and knew that I needed help. Like being an alcoholic, it`s almost impossible to get well on your own.
Because of my family`s willingness to stand by me, I served a year in jail and was put on probation for seven years. The probation ended a few months ago. During that time, I had group therapy and joined a support group called Parents United. I can`t say enough about this organization. It is terrific.
Ann, I want to say something to every adult or child who knows that molesting is going on. Don`t just keep quiet and do nothing. This is almost as bad as being an offender. No matter who the offender is, turn him or her in!! It is absolutely imperative that the awful secret be brought out in the open. I no longer need to worry about my world crashing down on my head. It has already happened, and I survived. My arrest and rehabilitation made me a free man. I am no longer a threat to society. I feel like a decent person instead of a creep, and I hope and pray my letter will give others who are still out there the courage to seek help and live a decent life.
Inappropriate sexual urges, thoughts, or behaviors relating to children indicate a serious health problem which requires medical attention and in very few cases will the health problem improve without professional help. For those who have not acted on these urges, please get help immediately before you hurt a child and irreversibly change the course of your life and theirs. For those who have already crossed the line and abused a child, we realize the decision to seek help may be a life changing moment that could result in legal action against you, depending on your age and past victimization of children. But we also realize for many of you, the guilt and loss of self respect associated with sexually abusing children, often the ones you love the most, may simply be unbearable. It may be hard to believe right now, but the sooner you confront this health problem and ask for help, the less impact it will have on your life.
Sections on this page have been adapted from from the: ChicagoTribune