Trauma #2--The Dentist
After mom and dad divorced, mom was determined to get us kids help. She knew we'd been damaged. She thought I needed a positive male influence, so she contacted The Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Spokane. It's an organization that pairs adult mentors with children who don't have a same sex role model in their life. I was a very sensitive nine year old boy who'd already been through a lot, and I did need to know there were good, non-violent men out there.
The organization paired me with a thirty-five year old, unmarried man named John Z. John was a pediatric dentist in Spokane. He was a pillar of the community. He belonged to professional clubs such as the Exchange Club of Spokane. He was a devout Catholic, which was perfect for me because I'd been raised Catholic up to that point in my life. He took me to Mass often.
John became a pivotal person in my young life. He was a very active person. He had a boat, and he taught me to waterski, which I loved. In the winter, he bought me skis and all the equipment needed. He paid for me to have ski lessons. We'd go to Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho many weekends and ski together. He once arranged for me to be named "Boy of the Month" by the Exchange Club of Spokane.
John lived in the basement of his parents' home on the South Side of Spokane. His father was a prominent doctor in Spokane and his mother was a homemaker. They took me into their family and showed me much kindness. I loved John and his family.
John was a well-rounded person. He had many interests. One was collecting and polishing rocks he called "thundereggs." He showed me all his polishing equipment in the basement. John made me a belt buckle from one of his thundereggs. He used to read the parables of Jesus to me down there in his basement. I remember he had a Bible where all the words of Jesus were in red.
He took me on road trips to Yellowstone National Park in Montana, the Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming, and many other fun trips. As a "little brother," I'd hit the jackpot with John.
One day when we were down in the basement, John said he wanted to show me his room. I went in with him. Before I even understood what was happening, I was on his bed and he was laying on top of me, kissing me on the mouth, like a man kisses a woman. I froze. I didn't know what was happening or why.
This happened a few more times and eventually my nine-year-old self realized something was definitely wrong. I told my mom what John had been doing to me, and she freaked. She called the police and the Big Brothers organization. The organization immediately removed John from being a Big Brother. They determined he had broken organizational rules by taking me out of state. Police detectives interviewed me. I told them everything that had happened.
John retained an attorney, a friend of his whom he had also introduced me to. At that young age, I still didn't quite understand what had happened to me. I felt so many different things. But the main thing I felt was sad for the loss of the man who had been so good to me. It may seem strange that I felt like that, but the psychology of child sexual abuse is complicated.
It wasn't until much later, I realized John was a pedophile, and all those good things he did for and with me were all about him grooming me for his eventual sexual abuse.
The police brought no charges against him, saying it was a "he said, he said" situation. John had made sure there weren't any witnesses. My mom told me later that he had showed up at her job at a local grocery store and went through her line. He told her she better not pursue any action against him. He intimidated her. What could she do? She was a single mom, working hard to care for three kids on her own. She didn't have any money for an attorney. He did. So John got away with it.
The "system" had let a nine-year-old child be victimized by a pedophile with no consequence except he couldn't be a "Big Brother" anymore. And that wasn't because he'd sexually abused me. That was only because he broke their rules by taking me out of state. I was now a victim of child sexual abuse.
So the pedophile went back to his practice as a children's dentist. And I went back deep inside myself.
After having been initially traumatized by my father's abuse, I was again traumatized and emotionally devastated. It was then my depression and anxiety really started kicking in hard. I was then ten years old.
I wish to make it clear I completely support the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program here in Spokane. They have significant measures in place to protect children from predators they didn't have in the 1970s, and even when the event occurred to me, they were largely supportive.