Detective Diamond finished up the interrogation and walked out of the room. He didn't tell my abuser (Bob) what was going to happen next. I walked into the interrogation room and sat down in a chair. I was alone in a room, not more than 3 feet from the man who ruined my life.
“Do you know who I am”? He said “no”. “I'm the little Irish kid who lived down the street from you back in 1975. My name is Brian. I want to be sure that we are on the same page”. I took out my Little League team picture and pointed to the 11-year-old child I was talking about. “This is me in the spring of 1976. This picture was taken about 6 months after you started molesting me”. I asked Bob if he remembered anything about me, what I liked to do or what I wanted to be when I grew up. He told me that I liked to play baseball and I wanted to be a big league player when I grew up. I told him that he had a good memory. I then told him that during that year and a half that he was molesting me, I had changed my career plans. I asked him if he remembered telling me not to tell anyone about what he was doing to me and if I did, the cops would come and take him to jail. He said “yes”. I then told him that I was a cop. I showed him my ID and my wallet shield. I then told him that I wanted to be the one who sent him to jail.
I told him that I have been watching the interview for the past 3 hours. I then pointed to the mirror. He said that he thought someone was back there. I then told him that I was not alone. There were other people back there watching the whole thing. I then asked him if he knew how many other of his victims were behind the mirror. He shook his head no. I then went into a 45 minute “grilling” trying to get him to confess to other victims. I concentrated my efforts on Adam (Adam is the 15 year-old boy who use to cut Bob's grass. He lived right next door to him with his mother. Last year Adam moved away to live with his father).
Bob denied molesting Adam. I tried every interrogation trick that I could think of to make him think that Adam was also behind the mirror. He kept denying it. He told me that when Adam was doing work for him he did “think” about it but he did not touch him. I watched his body language, his tone of voice and the words that he choose to use. He flatly denied molesting Adam. After going after him for 45 minutes with all I had, I was convinced that he was telling me the truth. I don't think he ever did touch Adam.
I then went on to my personal issues. I told Bob that I knew he would admit to molesting me and other young boys. I told him that when Detective Diamond left the room for the first time, he told me that he was concerned that you were not going to talk. I assured him that you would talk. I told Rick that you were not a monster and that I knew in my heart that you felt terrible about what you did. ]
I then told Bob that I did not hate him but I did hate what he did to me. I also told him that I was going to forgive him for what he did to me. He took a deep breath and said “Thank you. I need to be forgiven”. I told him that I was not doing it for him but I needed to forgive him so I could go on and start living what's left of my life. I told him that if he could get any benefit from my forgiveness, he was welcome to it. “I want to be perfectly clear. I am doing this for me. But before I forgive you, I need to say a few things.
“I am not asking anything from you. I'm not asking for an apology or even the slightest response. I just want you to listen. I want you to know that what you did to me destroyed my life. There has not been a single day in the past 26 years that I didn't see your face. I thought about you every day. You have caused me so much pain, anger, loneliness, guilt and shame. You sucked the life right out of me. I have been numb for the past 26 years. You did that to me”.
“I was angry at my father for the past 26 years. If he didn't leave, you would have never been able to molest me. I blamed him for what you did to me. I hadn't seen or spoken to him for 23 years. He died 6 weeks ago, 3 days after I found you. It's your fault that I hated my father for so long. You did that to me”.
“I attempted suicide when I was 15 years-old. How does that make you feel? I felt so bad about myself that I just wanted to die. Sometimes, even now, I still feel the same way. You took away my childhood innocence. I couldn't trust anyone. I still cant because of what you did to me”.
“When I was 15, I started chewing tobacco. It's a disgusting habit. I did it and continue to do it to keep people away from me. I didn't want anyone to know what a piece of garbage I felt like. For the past 26 years, chewing tobacco has been my best friend. I know it is killing me but I don't care. It's my way of trying to kill myself by getting cancer. I don't care if I live or die. You did that to me”.
“You took away my adult life. I never got married. I don't have any children because I could not stand the thought of people even thinking that I would do that to a child. I was supposed to get married this past February but I couldn't do it. I didn't believe that I was worthy to have someone to love me. That's how fucked up I am. I am an angry, lonely person. You did that to me.”
I then made some small talk (I even cracked some jokes). I asked Bob if “he was having fun yet”. But I did it in a way that made him loosen up a little bit. He felt comfortable enough to start telling me about his life. I stopped him before he became “too comfortable” by saying “ Bob, let me let you in on a little secret. I don't care about you or your life. This is my day. It's not your turn to talk yet”.
I told him that I was “kind of concerned” about his career path (as the operator of a carousel in a shopping mall and selling sand art to the kids at the local flea markets and fairs”. I asked him if he could understand my concern. He said “yes. I know I shouldn't be doing that. There is a lot of temptation”.
I asked him if he ever took a little “extra time” strapping the kids on the horses or touching the kids while he was helping them do sand art. He said “no”. I then looked at him and said “I thought we were going to be honest with each other here”. He didn't answer my question but he did admit that he often thought about it. I then told him that his days having that kind of access and physical contact with children would be coming to an end. I told him that he had a month to find another job. He told me that he would give his notice at his job and begin to look for something else. I made it clear that this was not negotiable. It was something that he would do. If he did not, I would see that he was fired. I asked him about his background and I made a few suggestions on where he might find “more appropriate” employment.
I then began to discuss all the media attention that sexual abuse of children was getting over the past few years. He told me that he has seen numerous television shows about it. I then asked him if he had ever seen a police officer on any of these shows talking about their experiences as a sexual abuse victim. He said no. I told him that I was considering such a move. People have to know how to protect their children. I'm going to teach them how to do that.
I then changed the subject. I asked Bob about his small town and what it was like to live there. He told me that he didn't have a lot of contact with his neighbors but they were nice people. I then named over a dozen of his neighbors, told them where they lived in relation to his house and what color house they had. He seemed surprised. “I know all your neighbors. I've been talking to them for the past 6 weeks. You are lucky to have such nice people as your neighbors”, I said. I asked him if he noticed any difference in the way his neighbors treated him in the past 6 weeks. “I told all your neighbors about you and who you really are. They all had heard rumors but never had any evidence. They do now. They know all about you”.
I then talked to him about detective Diamond. I told him that he was very lucky to live in a community with such dedicated police officers (Yes I was using a bit of sarcasm that day). Rick had bent over backwards for me and assured me that he would do anything in his power to help me. I made a little speech about the “brotherhood” that exists among police officers. I then told him that I was so impressed with Det. Diamond; I wanted to meet all 24 police officers in his small town. Diamond invited me to address roll call and I was able to speak to every cop in Hudson Falls. I also told him that I spoke to the 80 NY state Troopers in the 50 mile radius of his house.” I told everyone about you”. I then told him to be aware of all the cops he saw in the next few months. I assured him that he would see more that he usually saw.
“All of your neighbors and all the cops know who you really are and what you are all about. Don't try to run and hide from me. All of your neighbors have my phone numbers (including my pager). You cannot hide anymore. I have all of your information. I have your full name, date of birth, social security number and credit card numbers. If you keep to yourself, behave and find a new job, you won't have to worry about talking to me again. If you slip up, I will hear about it and the good detectives won't be there to protect you.”
Kingswood Golf Course is only a mile away from where Bob lives. It's one of my favorite places to play. I told Bob that I am up in his area every 2 weeks. I also told him that I like to play in the early afternoon so I would personally keep an eye on him. I told him that if he sat on his front porch around noon time for the next week or two, he would see me driving by his house (It is only a block out of the way).
I then moved my chair very close to him. My nose was about six inches from his. In a very soft voice, I said “Bob, I'm begging you, please don't hurt anyone else. You have caused me so much pain in my life. Please don't make me go to prison too.” By the look on his face, I could tell he knew exactly what I was saying. With that said, I gave him his personal space back. I took a deep breath and asked him to hang in there. This is almost all over. I then asked him if he had anything that he wanted to say to me.
He looked me in the eye and said, “I'm sorry”. I snapped at him in an angry and sarcastic tone “what are you sorry for”? Then he said it… “I'm sorry. I manipulated you and I took advantage of you”. I closed my eyes for about 10 seconds. When I opened them up, I could feel the tears running down my face. It was at that moment that I finally realized that it was not my fault. He manipulated me and I was not to blame. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect answer. I was finally able to forgive myself.