DH's family has always been Cleaver-normal--wide-eyed and amazed at the stories that hale from my side of the world. But on Wednesday DH got a text from his dad saying that DH's great-uncle had been arrested for indecency with a child. The Uncle was a prominent member of his small community and the story was expected to be in the news the next day.
My first question was, "did he ever do anything to anyone in the family?" We learned later that night that he had--decades ago--and that family member never came forward. Today we learned that it was another family member--now an adult--who reported him.
So, the news story broke today. I found it online and sent DH the link. All of the comments were typical disbelief and "he was such a nice guy." The molester is always a nice guy and upstanding citizen. (I also have an uncle who was convicted of child molestation and everyone who ever met him will tell you what a nice guy he is.)
And then, at the end of the day, DH checked the link again to read new comments. And that is how he learned that the Uncle had committed suicide about two-hours earlier.
No, the bastard media did not even allow time for the family to be notified before breaking the news. DH immediately called his dad, who hadn't heard yet, so that he could let other family members know (DH's grandmother is Uncle's sister).
The things this man did were heinous, and I am shedding no tears over the loss of his life. But it is so, so much for his family to deal with. He had children and grandchildren. A wife. His sisters. Who all have to deal with this horrible news and then a funeral on top of it all. (One of the sisters has a grandchild getting married--I can only imagine how this horrific tragedy is marring that joyous event.)
It is too much to process. DH knew nothing about his uncle's dark side. There is a mixture of hurt and anger toward those who did know and swept it under the rug. Why don't people come forward? Of course there are a million answers. But allowing someone to maintain his Mr. Nice Guy image just permits more victims. And I'm not necessarily referring to the victims. There were others who knew and did nothing, and sadly, that seems to be typical.
I don't know how to encourage people to expose molesters. Hopefully all of the high-profile cases of late that demonstrate so clearly how abusers will continue until they are stopped will help in that regard. We are wondering if that is what triggered this report, so many years later. But how many kids could have been saved if he had been stopped sooner?