SEXUAL SIN SERIES
<-- Part 1
Rumors, Reaffirmation, & Reckoning
Addressing Sexual Scandal in The Messianic Movement - Part 2
Back when all the alter-boy abuse scandals really started snow-balling, I was a just a boy myself - about 12 years old; becoming a young man, and growing up next door to an old man who was the bachelor son of a pastor. His nephew lived beside us. There was a cornfield to the left of us with corn so high you couldn’t see over it, and the man across the lane was who farmed it. I even drove his tractor a couple times, threw slop in his pigpens, and fed grass to his steers over the barbed wire fence that ran the length of our country lane.
We lived in a village and almost everyone was related to the man across the lane in one way or another. Behind us was a narrow stretch of swampy woods with lots of thick undergrowth and bushes. It made the perfect place to hide when you were in trouble, or for anyone else to hide for that matter. I didn't think about that as a boy. I was actually very fortunate, considering that years later - after I was married and moved away - Edgar, my old bachelor neighbor, died of AIDs in jail.
How did Edgar come to be incarcerated? How did he contract am incurable sexually transmitted disease? Because for years and years - the whole time I'd been growing up actually - he and his Roman Catholic friend with a misshapen arm had been sexually abusing children and teens right across the driveway from where I was sleeping.
I didn't escape completely unscathed either. The fact I'd spent time on his side of the asphalt at his coaxing qualifies me as another potential victim he was grooming. In Yahweh's mercy, he didn't quite succeed. He did, however, steal a portion of my innocence through the sometimes suggestive, other times direct, and often pornographic nature of his comments. A majority of them at the time went over my carefree boyish head, and I just thought he was a sick old man who joked about perverted things. Years later, after I've become aware of what is in the world, the memories are nonetheless haunting how close I came to being another victim. He was not joking. Yet how was I as a young boy supposed to know who I could trust to expose the inner workings of this man? To this day I ask, how did everyone else, including his relatives who made up the majority of our neighborhood, have no problem with their children and grandchildren engaging him? This is a pattern that plays out again and again unfortunately. Blood is thicker than water and Uncle Edgar or Uncle Rick or Cousins Danny and lucas or Pastor Allen would never do such things. In reality, however, an overwhelming majority of sexual abusers are people who are trusted by those they end up violating.
Friends from Florida with a history in law enforcement moved in across the stream from the house where I grew up and it only took them a couple summers to know there was substantiating evidence against our old neighbor. I don't know how they knew, but they gave us a warning and both unfortunately died a short time later. Still, no one told anyone to keep their kids away from Edgar because the only thing that kept us in our comfort zone was racking it up to rumors. As we all have been informed from blithe facebook MEMES quoting Ziad K Abdelnour, "rumors are just spread by haters, carried by fools, and believed by idiots." Certainly there could not be such evil among us. Certainly I must have misheard Edgar or misunderstood him. For years that's exactly what I convinced myself to believe. The day a couple months after I married and moved away that I learned he had been arrested, I couldn't believe that any more. Ziad was wrong in what he said about rumors.
Until that day we had no evidence against Edgar, even though the evidence had been walking in and out of his house for years on a weekly basis right in front of us. Someone could have reached out to those boys. Why didn't anyone? Only because the rumors and suspicions couldn't be right, and the kind couple across the stream had to be wrong, did no one ever attempt to help them. The rumors only remained rumors for so long because no one (ourselves included) took the necessary time and steps to substantiate them. That is a damning mistake, and reflects incredibly poorly upon us. It is all too common a scenario, however.
For years I somehow convinced myself the problem with Edgar must just be my imagination. It must be evil thoughts in my own head that just had me misunderstanding and misinterpreting him. Ironically, some of the evil thoughts in my head, he placed there. Even after his arrest though, I questioned whether the allegations were factual. Maybe his friend with the misshapen arm was the real one responsible. After all, he was the Roman Catholic. Edgar on the other hand was a minister's boy, the son of a Protestant pastor. Somehow, when I learned what disease Edgar died from, that was the myth-buster. I realize alot of people can somehow keep denying a reality that is staring you in theface screaming at you, but I finally got to the point that I couldn't.
Alot of youth wish someone had told them the rumors. That's because they were factual, and in spite of an attempt at justice ultimately being meted out by a secular legal system, it was not Scriptural justice. There were already too many victims to justify by that point, so the only semblence of justice is that Edgar is dead. True justice died somewhere in the middle of our Railroad Lane, run over by a metaphorical freight train many years prior to that.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 says "Because justice against evil languishes, therefore the heart of the sons of men becomes fully comfortable within them to do evil" and that couldn't be truer for this generation.