Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood

I know I said I would never write about my dating life again unless that guy made me want to have his children, but this one is worth mentioning to all the women out there for safety reasons.

I don't generally believe in internet dating. I do have some good friends who have met their future spouses and nice, normal (at least it seems so far) boyfriends on the internet. And so there I was on this site that is actually not a dating site but found myself chatting with this guy about politics. It turned out we both actually lived in the same neighborhood a few blocks away from each other and that we were even both of the same religion. It also turned out he was single, my age and his picture looked cute. And so, though I was hesitant, we decided to meet IRL.

We went to listen to vespers at the Cathedral. Beautiful. Great, intelligent, in-depth conversation. He seemed cute enough and was a gentleman. And somehow it got around to how he was still single, never married, no kids. It was inevitable I suppose. He said he didn't want to tell me why he was still single but that it was pretty big. And he said he liked me and thought I was remarkable. But I prodded.

So what was it? Well, if you know anything about me you should know I have a knack for getting people to open up and say things they wouldn't normally say. My mom has the same gift and I suppose passed it on to me (which came in very handy when I was a reporter). And soon he started to open up. He told me he was a registered sex offender. A pedophile. He had fondled his niece when she was 8. Ya.

My stomach sank. My jaw tightened. I recoiled in total horror. He said it only happened one time and that he was in counseling and working on it. I didn't know what to think or say or do. I had never known a pedophile to only do it once. He asked if I wanted him to leave. I said no (but I did, actually want him to). It was probably the most horrific thing he could have said to me. I was glad and surprised he told me and it probably was very hard for him to admit but there was no way any of whatever was going on between us was going any further.

He said he now had a great relationship with the girl he did that to (his niece who is now 18 and he claims remembers nothing).

It was disturbing to say the least. He left on the verge of tears and then emailed me after to apologize for making me feel uncomfortable.

It was a very confusing situation. I could tell he didn't want to be that monster and to carry that label.  There is something seriously mentally wrong to find a child sexually arousing. The very thought of someone being like that sickens me to the core. I knew he was sincere and sounded like he was working on his problems, but I could not stand to be in his presence. It was so dark and awful and I wish I'd never met him at all.

Last night, after he left, I went and downloaded the sex offender tracker app on my Android. It lists all the sex offenders and what they were convicted of in my area. It has their name, address and a photo ID of what they look like as well. Sure enough, there he was on that list. I was glad to know where they all were and surprised to find so many in my area, but sickened inside to read what they had done. I am hypersensitive to this situation because of my grandfather. Why do people like that even exist? Is there no cure for something that dark and devious? On the one hand I could feel his pain and he said it was like he carried the scarlet letter with him, but that is like having sympathy for the Devil. He said he hoped to find someone someday who would look past what he'd done. But that person is not me. It is the most awful thing you could possibly do and I did not care to be anywhere near such a diseased and dangerous soul.


erinannie said…
I'm going to guess that he was in his 30s now? So he was in his 20s when it happened?
Unfreakingreal. I understand where you are coming from.
Steve said…
Way to be Christ like and forgiving in this holiday season!

I won't for a second try to defend his actions, but it was at least 10 years ago and the fact he admits he did it and is working on his problems shows he has changed from then. I do not believe in the registered sex offender database for this very reason. I believe he told you only b/c he has learned that if he tries to delay in telling a woman, she will eventually find out and he'll look worse. He told you to get it over with and determine if you are an understanding person.

Again, I can't forgive him for what he did, but it isn't my place to. Something that happened 10 years ago and something it seems he has since learned from doesn't mean he should have to live the rest of his life being looked down upon by society, especially if, as you have said, everything else in his life seems to be so righted.

Again, you might have personal issues with this, I can't exactly understand your situation having not gone through it, but to cast a stone at this guy for something he clearly regrets (it would appear), isn't much different than someone holding you up for something horrible you may have done in college 10 years or more ago, it's just that we don't have a public database to look you up in!
mj said…
Yeah, this is a tough one. I get that this is one of those things that's not just bad, like say stealing, but unimaginable bad, like well sexual assault on a child. Just writing it makes me think about it and feel disgusted and awful for the poor girl. And yes a lot of sex offenders repeat their offenses.

That said, Steve does have a point, and this guy does seem really sincere.

On the other hand again, I get that where you are at, you are asking yourself right away if this guy is marriage material and--yeah--a horror scene flashes through your mind.

Maybe just think about the fact that this guy probably needs friends desperately and he certainly seems penitent and worthy of at least that. Then just get to know him as a friend? I just wonder if cutting the guy off completely is a big reason people like him have a hard time reforming.
mj said…
I just looked at your post again and it seems like you maybe got a really dark vibe from the guy. In which case, staying away is probably the thing to do. You know, as long as you didn't make it up in your mind to make yourself feel better (which is totally something I would do).
Steve said…
I don't know, MJ. To me, she was falling over this guy, even trying to get into his "mysterious" background, until the truth came out.

I'm not saying forgive and forget here. But I do think MJ makes a very strong case; maybe be friends with the guy. Maybe just feeling welcomed back into society (this guy has to live forever with his knowledge and guilt, not to mention the fact he has to notify neighbors and potential employers forever!) to become normal.

Chances are you might not 'fall' for the guy, but certainly there is no harm being friends or at least not shunning the guy.
SJ said…
I don't have to date anyone I don't want to. And I'm confident I have no interest in a guy who went and fondled an 8 year old girl. I don't care if it is once or many times. I'm not dating that. Why would you try to make me feel bad about that?
Steve said…
SJ, sorry about that. Wasn't my intent. I guess I was thinking more of the lines of what MJ said regarding not treating him like a Leper for what he hopefully knows was a very bad mistake. Although, like I said, if you never share a word with him again, I'm sure he is expecting that so it won't be much of a letdown.

Seriously, it IS your life and at this point in your(and my) life, I totally understand not having the need to let in anyone that doesn't have longterm potential as a person, male or female, in it. :)

Merry Christmas, hope you got to PHX safely and look forward to future posts next year!
SJ said…
Steve, no worries. We're cool.

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