The first message I opened this morning was a friend sending an article to say that Billionaire convicted child molester Jeffry Epstein is dead of apparent suicide.
The greatest tragedy, even in light of such news, is when these criminals destroy a child’s life. The next greatest tragedy is when they are not man or woman enough to face the consequences, and choose instead to commit suicide.
While it is not totally uncommon for child molesters to commit suicide, foul play is always a possibility when there are links to other big names. This case is certainly no exception. Though it is also plausible that going from the kind of power he had to exploit everyone around him, especially children, to sitting in prison was just too much to face. In either case, my heart goes out to his family and loved ones, and especially to his victims.
When offenders commit suicide, or when they become suicidal without following through, often the people exposing are blamed and shamed, which usually includes the victims. I’ve been up against that myself after exposing a horrific case – of which I have an audio recording that law enforcement has in their possession – where the child rapist became suicidal. The recording was evidence that I was not unkind or harsh; I merely appealed to the offender to own up to all his crimes, and informed him I would be notifying the law.
Sad truth is, the same people who blame victims and those of us who expose criminals don’t worry that the victims might struggle to the point of committing suicide. (As was the case with one of William McGrath’s victims. Yet McGrath, who victimized many, is idolized in conservative Anabaptist culture to this day as some hero and saint, and the suffering of the victims is disregarded).
What’s more, when victims become suicidal, they are told they are bitter and unforgiving. There’s the shaking of the heads, and the clucking of the tongues, with little to know compassion or understanding, in too many cases.
But when the offender is exposed and struggles with depression (whether to the point of suicide or not), those of us exposing are thoughtless and bitter people. And in those cases, groups of men gather (as was the case in the DD case last year) to support the offender and try to make their suffering go away. (As was the case in the confession a group of men helped DD draft to post on social media in order to quiet the public. That ‘drafted confession’ was the work of a handful of men, including a Beachy Amish church leader, a leader of a ministry in PA that ‘helps victims’, and several other men. And those of us exposing were called names, such as “Matriarchal woman” and “Matriarchal Witch”, to name a few).
This habit of protecting offenders and making victims and advocates villains, while insulating offenders from facing the reality of their crimes, is a significant part of the problem. And the leaders who do it, are too.
Here are the facts. Child molesters choose to commit heinous crimes. The best thing we can do for them is help them face the truth and the consequences of their crimes. Their freedom depends on it.
And child molesters who commit suicide choose the cowardly way out. It’s that simple. There is always a way to own up, without excuse, and face the harshest of consequences for their own actions.
Some choose suicide. Some do the right thing and face honestly what they have done, and accept the punishment they deserve. And they recognize the grace of God as an undeserved gift that is for their eternal benefit, not a way to manipulate their way out of consequences in this life. Which way they go is on them, not on their victims, and not on those who expose them.
If you are tempted to go there, think Judas. It was not Jesus’ fault Judas committed suicide, for not finding some way to stop him. That’s on Judas. There would have been forgiveness for him, had he repented, I have no doubt. And there is forgiveness for sex offenders too. But there is never an excuse.
~ T ~
JASON GRAY CONCERT:
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Lancaster Bible College, Lancaster PA
CONCERT TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC: Here
NOTE: Due to the concert being the celebration for survivors of abuse,
we ask that any who have sexually abused as adults not attend out of respect
November 2, 2019: THE GATHERING, held at Lancaster Bible College, is a place where survivors of sexual assault, together with our support person(s), collectively invite God into our grief. It is exclusively for Anabaptist survivors of sexual abuse and trusted support persons to gather for a day of acknowledging the generations of suffering and sexual violence among us. We will cry out to God, together. Come as you are in your raw brokenness, if that’s where you’re at, or in your healed togetherness. We welcome you! The itinerary is simple. It isn’t about ‘who’ or ‘how’; it is about Jesus and a safe place to meet, to grieve and heal another layer, together.
NOTE: Anyone over 18 who sexually assaulted someone – whether child or other adult – is not welcome. This does not mean they are not forgiven if they have repented. It means victims should not fear being confronted with the source of their trauma on such a vulnerable day. Security guards will be present to remove any who show up and are identified as offenders by the victims.
Until August 1, 2019, registration for the day’s events includes lunch and attendance to the evening concert with Jason Gray, whose music had brought hope and healing to countless victims. Songs like “The Wound is Where the Light Gets In“, “A Way to See in the Dark“, Sparrows“, “Nothing is Wasted“, and many more speak a language we understand.
NOTE: After August 1 concert is included dependant on availability. Once concert tickets are sold out, registrations will continue until October 1 and include lunch only.
If you are able to contribute to Generations Unleashed and our work with and for victims, you may donate via PayPal or e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit Generations Unleashed Donate.