Photo: My appearance on the Dr. Drew show tonight.
"Once a Fry Cook, Always a Fry Cook"
I'll explain that in a minute.
First, pedophile defined, as found on wikipedia: As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia (or paedophilia) is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary). The child must be at least five years younger in the case of adolescent pedophiles (16 or older) to be termed pedophilia.
Um, hello? My husband is NOT a pedophile, Dr. Drew.
Today, I was interviewed by Dr. Drew for his show which aired tonight on HLN. I was told by the very nice producer that I would be asked questions about SOSEN, my book, and my feelings about the Sandusky case. Wrong-o! I spent the whole time defending my decision to marry a sex offender. GAH!!!! The interview went horribly wrong. So horribly wrong that it is almost comical.
OK, it IS comical. I am actually laughing.
I was totally and completely ambushed by Dr. Drew who's objective was clearly to sensationalize and belittle women who choose to marry sex offenders. And the worst part was seeing, "THE MAN IN MY LIFE WAS A PEDOPHILE" in a banner above my name during the whole interview. Let me clear this up right now: I did NOT marry a pedophile!!!!
Not only did Dr. Drew call my darling, loving husband of ten wonderful offense-free years a pedophile, Dr. Drew continually interrupted me and wouldn't let me explain my reasons for choosing him as a husband.
The state of Arkansas has NEVER labeled my husband as a pedophile. He is not, nor has he ever been a pedophile. I'd like to add that not all offenders NEED treatment, as suggested by Dr. Drew. Just because a guy makes a mistake one time does not mean he is a predator, pervert or pedophile. My husband went through a lengthy invasive stringent interview and assessment. If the professionals who assessed him felt he needed treatment, then he would have certainly received it. No one has ever suggested he get treatment because no one ever felt he needed it.
I, however, as a child sex abuse victim, DID need treatment in therapy, and I DID receive it. I went to counseling for about 2 or 3 years after the abuse, and it did me a world of good. I KNOW, without a doubt, that I was not "attracted to pedophiles" as Dr. Drew luridly suggested.
My explanation is this: I felt that with my unique experience with child sex abuse, that I would be acutely alert to any inkling of sexual deviant tendencies of any man I brought into my life. Prior to meeting my current husband and during my divorce, I was cautioned by my own father how common it is for men to molest their children, ESPECIALLY if they are step-children. I knew I would have to be extraordinarily cautious about who I brought into my life.
When I met my husband, I did not know he was a sex offender. Once we began to build a relationship and once we saw that there was a potential future together, he told me about his one and only crime that happened in 1996. It was now 2001, I did the math, it had been five years and no offense since then. As he explained to me what happened, I could see that he was completely remorseful and ashamed of what happened. He had learned a very hard lesson in life and had paid his debt to society. He was not on the registry at the time and was not made to register. At that time, he was leading a normal life as a free citizen and a successful contributor to society. I figured, well, it's a low-level crime, after all, the girl was well known in the community as being a sexually active teenage girl and she had wanted to drop the charges. I met her personally and talked with her myself.
Finally, I concluded that my children were actually SAFER with a man who had made a mistake, paid dearly for it and learned his lesson, than they would have been with someone who had never offended who had the potential to offend. 95% of all sex crimes are committed by first offenders - people who are NOT on any list.
Still, I took every precaution I could in preparing to bring this man into my life and into the lives of my children. I even sat them down and told them that if he ever touched them or ever made them uncomfortable in any way, to come and let me know immediately. That never happened.
He has been a very good father to not only my two older children, but also our young daughter. He has also been a very good husband for me. We have been married ten years. It has been 15 years since his offense, his one and ONLY offense.
Studies show that offenders who re offend do so within the first three years.
So at what point do we stop punishing people for what they did one time many, many years before?
I've said this before, and I'll say it again. I was once a fry cook. And not just once, either. Multiple times, over and over again for a period of just under a year. Am I still a fry cook? No, that's ridiculous. I am no more a fry cook than my husband is a pedophile.