Justice has been served. 3 life sentences plus 10 years. Please have Ronan dancing as an indicator of how I feel right now, and a spacer for what is below. I'm frank about my experiences, so if it's something that will not be good for you please don't read. And, no mainpage. Be forewarned, this is going to be pretty long. But it has a 'reasonably' happy ending at least.
So - a bit of background. 6 years ago, my father was arrested for fondling a child in his care, who he met through his capacity as a Scout leader for the Boy Scouts. I remember getting the phone call about midnight in November from my mom saying that police had come to the house and taken him away in handcuffs.
I knew that he was guilty - and I knew it without a shadow of doubt because he sexually abused me for years when I was growing up. I had never told anyone or done anything about it, and I had mostly pushed it out of my mind since I moved 2000 miles away about 5 years earlier. Well, queue all those memories crashing back. When the dust settled (I'd flown down the next morning to give my statement to the police), there were over a dozen victims with a combined total of 32 counts of various forms of assault and rape. There was hundreds of terabytes of encrypted videos and pictures, and some amount of them the police were able to recover. What I had thought was just something that had happened to me had been going on since I got too old for him. Admitting what had happened to my partner, and my family, was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, and going to the police and being interviewed was even harder. But I thought that'd it'd be over quickly. There were so many victims, there were images of the abuse, so how could it be anything but a slam dunk?
Well, as many of you are aware - the justice system works differently when the criminal is rich, white, and male. And my father was all those things - my family was what could be described as a 'pillar of the community'. He was a Boy Scout leader, he owned a small business and was on boards and committees galore. Over the course of 6 years we went through 7 or 8 different judges that had to recuse themselves because they had a prior relationship with either him, or my family. He had the money, and that meant he had the best lawyers. They filed motion after motion and dragged the hearings out. Year after year we'd get close to a trial starting only to have it pushed back. Every motion that was ruled on was appealed, and several of them went to the state Supreme Court. Every motion took months to rule (including one judge that sat on a simple motion for 2 years. Two Fucking Years.) and every delay meant dealing with the thought of having to uproot my life to go testify for that much longer. It didn't leave me in the best place mentally and emotionally.
In those 6 years I got to watch high profile cases go through trials in MONTHS. Penn State was resolved in no time at all! And It left me wondering why I couldn't get any justice.
Fast forward to last month. I got word that he'd agreed on a Stipulated Bench Trial - which is my understand that the defense and prosecution get together and agree on the evidence to present to the court as fact, and instead of a jury trial the judge rules and sentences. It's faster, and his reasoning for agreeing to it was to "keep the children off the witness stand" - as if that would save him and earn him brownie points. I was convinced that it was just another delay and come the trial date he'd just back out of it. Well, the trial was yesterday. And it went through. I wasn't there, but my family was.. and he was found guilty. Of all charges. In between the guilty ruling, and sentencing, there is an opportunity for the victims to address the court with a victim impact statement. From the moment they started, I'm told that there wasn't anyone in the court that wasn't crying. Except for my dad. The judge was crying, the reporters were crying, the bailiffs and sherriffs were crying, the legal aides his defense attorney brought were crying. The judge had to take several minutes to compose herself before she was able to speak, and she called him evil. She said that in many crimes there is something you can hold on to for justification. There is rage, or poverty, the heat of the moment - but there is nothing but cold, calculating evil for these crimes. And she handed down a sentence that was more then she'd ever handed down in her entire career.
2 consecutive life sentences, plus a third life sentence to run concurrent with the second. Plus 10 years. He's been in the remand center for 6 years, but by the time I post this he'll be in state prison and by the end of the year he'll be in a maximum security federal prison for the remainder of his life. He will of course appeal, but it doesn't matter to me. He's been convicted and there isn't a jury in the world that will side with him.
Burn in hell Dad.