Please Note: Posts in the ‘My Story’ page always have the newest post on the top. If you would like to read the story from the beginning – start with “An Introduction”. Thanks for reading! ~IWFA
So, I think I will start this off with some background information. A little about me – and my history. How I met, and knew my accuser, who we shall call ‘Michael’ in this Blog. This will be some basic stuff so you will understand the story as it begins. I will provide more background information as it seems more relevant as the story progresses. I anticipate that this post will get pretty long. There is so much to tell, and I’m sure as I get more used to this process I will find the best ways to break the information up for the readers.
When this story begins I am 29 years old. I have worked in the healthcare field since the day I got out of high school, and I was a top-level administrator at my job. Since I was very young, though, I wanted to work with kids in some way. My father was a school teacher when I was younger – and I had planned to follow that same path, and hoped to specialize in child psychology. In fact, while still in high-school I worked at a before/after school program, and was quickly made a supervisor of the program. When I ended up in a different career, I never lost that passion to help kids – particularly those less fortunate than I was growing up. Through the years I seemed to continually be in the right place at the right time to make a difference. When I was fairly young someone who knew my career goals shared this saying by Forest E. Witcraft with me…and I still believe it is true…
“One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a better place because I was important in the life of a child.”
I will share more specifics about some of those I was fortunate enough to be able to help as the story continues – because it is largely due to their overwhelming support throughout the past few years that my situation did end with such a positive resolution – they had an opportunity to help me for a change, and they stepped up and, I believe, truly made a difference. I am going to focus this post on two kids, though, that play a very early part in this story – Michael (the accuser), and John, who used to be Michael’s best friend.
At the time of the accusations, Michael is 16 years old. I first met him as a patient of mine when he was just 6 years old. Our interaction at that time was typical for a patient, and following his treatment I didn’t see or hear of him again until our paths crossed years later. One of my responsibilities at work was leading a group of high school aged youth who were learning about careers in my field. Michael’s older brother was one of the kids in my group – and I learned that they actually lived only a few doors down from me. The high school group was planning a trip that required parental permission, and Michael’s brother was the only group member who did not return his permission slip on time. Since they were only a few doors down, I stopped at his house on my way home from work one day to see if I could get his parents to sign the paperwork. When I arrived there, I learned that Michael’s brother (who was only 14 at the time) was watching Michael (now 8), his sister (11) and brother (12). It turns out their parents had left the country for vacation the night before, and had made arrangements with a family friend to stay at the house with the kids while they were away for the next 7 days. That friend, however, did not show up, so the kids were left alone. They were without food for that time, had obligations such as school, sports and clubs that they were unable to get to, etc. So – I decided that I would step up and look after them until the parents (who I had not yet met at this point) returned. We went grocery shopping, I took the kids to school, to their sports practices and games, took Michael to his Cub Scout meeting. I did homework with them, prepared meals, washed clothes, read stories at bed time. We became very close. When Michael’s parents returned, they were so happy for my unsolicited assistance that they had brought ME gifts. We all quickly became the best of friends. Our families felt as if they were combined into one. Michael and I were probably the closest of all though – the others were all at the age where they were pretty independent…doing their own things with their friends. Michael wasn’t yet ‘too cool’ to hang around the house, go to sporting events with the ‘family’, etc. We spent a lot of time together over the next several years.
As time went by, I guess Michael was about 10 at this point, his parents separated. The day his mom took him out of the house, she called me. He only wanted to be with me at that time – he was hysterically upset. Together, his mother and I were able to calm him down, and we spent a lot of time in the coming weeks talking about his feelings – the future, etc. At the same time, his mom had a pretty big issue. She had moved into a rented house, now as a single mother – and she worked at night. Michael was too young to be home alone after school, until she got home around midnight, so I ended up being the crutch to get them through this time period. I had a flexible enough schedule that I was able to be there for Michael as often as needed, which quickly became an everyday thing. As time went on with this arrangement, I ended up moving into the house next to theirs. Our houses quickly melded into one. It seemed that everyone was never in just one house – we were all free to come and go at each other’s house as we pleased – and it worked great for each of us. I didn’t have to actually “watch” Michael anymore – I was always right next door if he needed anything…and he ended up being at my house the majority of the time…I probably saw him even more than I had before. All of the kids usually came to my house after school to get homework done – and I often ended up at their house after work for dinner their mom made us before she left for the evening. The situation just worked and seemed so natural for all of us.
As Michael got older, he obviously needed less and less oversight. As my responsibilities at work increased I was not available to him as much either, and he started hanging out with who turned out to be not the best group of friends. We later learned that he turned to drugs very early – by 11 years old he was regularly smoking marijuana and drinking – by 12 years old he had moved on to even harder drugs like cocaine and heroin. Once this began I saw less and less of him – except for times he needed something. He knew that I would not approve of his choices – which is why I think he started staying away. By the time he was 13 his mom and I started to suspect things we going on, and right around that time I bought a new house further away, which ended up removing me from the situation. I only saw or talked to Michael a few times a year after I moved.
From the time I met Michael, his best friend was John. I saw John almost as much as I saw Michael. Since I was the one usually responsible for rides to and from activities for Michael, I quickly became good friends with John’s parents as well, and we spent a good amount of time together when I was picking John up or dropping him off. John was almost always included when we had planned activities like sporting events, amusement parks, etc. and his parents were very appreciative, as John was the oldest of 6 kids. An important factor in John’s life is that he was the only child out of the 6 who was not biologically his “father’s” child. This often made John feel like he did not fit in with the rest of the family – so he tried as much as he could to stay away from the house. When John was 12, he started having increasing behavioral issues when he was at home, and in school. His mother would tell me that the only time he didn’t experience these issues was when he was with Michael and I. Around the same time, John’s parents separated. He became increasingly difficult for his mother to control, and she would start calling me when he had outbursts. At those times I would pick him up for a few hours and he would calm down, talk through his issues with me…and I would bring him back home. It got so bad, that even the school administrators would only call me when he had an issue at school. He would not respond to them, or his mother or father. The behavior progressed to the point that in 7th grade he was expelled from the local public school, and sent to a special services school better able to address his behavior. Right around the time John was turning 13 I was buying my new house. John’s mother was at a point where she had nowhere for her and him to stay. John’s “father” (who has no legal responsibility to him) would not allow John to stay in his house because of the way his behavior was affecting the other 5 kids. So, with literally nowhere else to go, at the end of his 7th grade year, John moved into my new house…where he still lives today – he is now 19 years old.
John, obviously, plays a huge role in the story to come. After living here for 6 years, he has been so many things to me – a son, a little brother, a friend…and he was one of the biggest (and a very vocal) supporter through the past several years. He gave numerous statements, helped get petitions signed, worked with his mother and my family to throw me a huge “support party” to lift my spirits when times got tough.
Well – I hope this is enough background to get the story started in my next posting. If this leaves any questions in your mind, please send them my way in the comments section below. I will try my best to address them all. Until next time…
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