Saturday, August 21, 2010

my friend was convicted of child porn possession

recently, a friend of mine fell off of the radar for a few weeks. so i texted him and asked him if he was alright, to which he replied that he was not, that some things had happened, and that we should meet to talk about things. he told me that he had spent some time in the psyche ward, and that he was now ok, and that he would fill me in.

we were to have dinner in a few days. needless to say, that whole time, i was constantly wondering what happened. did he cheat on his wife? did he somehow hook up with his step-daughter in a drunken mistake? did he get caught stealing something at a store? did he catch his wife with another man? did he get caught looking at something bad on his computer by his wife?

little did i know it was much worse than all of that. i met him at the table at the restaurant where we made small talk and each ordered a few beers. eventually, he said that the reason he was in the psyche ward was because he attempted to kill himself. when i asked why, he said (after a few moments) that he was going to prison for a while. when i asked why he is going to prison, he (after a few moments and attempts) told me he has an addiction to child porn and had gotten caught by the FBI. a minimum of 5 years in prison.

ulgh. what the hell?

initially, my reaction was for his well being. was he over his suicidal thoughts? how is his wife taking this? what is she going to do? are they going to keep their house? how are his step daughters taking it? what did his family say? what is the court system going to do?....

but after our dinner, the realization of what he had done set in. he was deeply involved in the underground child porn industry. the FBI doesn't put someone away for a minimum of 5 years for something small and stupid. 5 years means you were doing a lot of stuff (he actually plea-bargained his distribution charges down to possession, knocking down the minimum sentence from 20 to 5 years). he was guilty. he was doing a lot of bad stuff. he was actively contributing to the abuse and destruction of children.

it weighed heavily on me for a few days, and i went through a few of the 5 stages of grief. at first, i kind of denied his actions. then the gravity of it hit me. the extreme consequences hit me. this guy is losing at least 5 years, will lose his job (and his access to our industry, as he is also a computer guy), will lose his house (wife can't afford it), and will lose most of his friends. he won't be able to get a job, and everyone will hate him. the idea of that happening to a friend's life was a lot to overcome. he will have to wear the modern day scarlet letter.

but then i began to realize the gravity of the charges. they are so bad. there are really only 3 worse things: physically harming a child, rape, and murder. what he did was up there with those things. child porn. child porn? that is so utterly disgusting that i dont want to think about it. i specifically didn't ask him exactly what he was downloading because i dont want to know. i don't want to know what people are capable of doing to small children.

i told my friend that i would support him. but what does that mean? what does it mean when your friend tells you he is a [soon-to-be] convicted child pornographer, and that you will help to support him through his journey. what does that mean? will i constantly remind him of the importance of therapy? will he want me to keep him away from computers? i want to provide support, but i have no idea to the extent of that support.

and he asked me if i would write him a letter for the court, and i said i would. what will it say? i have no idea. i somewhat want to abandon him as a friend and turn my back on him. but i also want to give him a chance to redeem himself, and give him the chance to write some wrongs. i don't want to condone his actions, but also, he is my friend, and i have the urge to want to stop bad things from happening to him (regardless of what he has done to deserve them).

its a matter of not wanting to illustrate condonement, but not wanting to demand maximum punishment. it's a weird gray area, and i'm not sure how i am going to tread those waters. i don't, in any way, want to be associated with any approval of his actions, but i also am not sure that he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. i haven't been asked to write the letter yet, but i'm nervous for when the time comes. what will i say?

it's hard to handle this situation. i feel so bad for this guy's family, but i feel awful for the children who were abused as the source of his entertainment.

what to do...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

little boy going to daycare

my wife is a teacher, and has been off of work the last 4 months to be with our new baby.

we lucked out, because we had him exactly 6 weeks before school was over, meaning she got her entire summer vacation plus 6 weeks to be with him.

taking him to daycare is very hard, and it has been fairly devastating for my wife.  we've looked at our finances, and there is just no way that we can afford to stay home, at least not yet.

i imagine it was really hard for her this morning.

i love them both more than i can express.