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Friday
Jan102014

My Dad is an Unregistered, Unprosecuted Sex Offender | Please Help

**Please see updates at the bottom of this post.**

Warning: the following post could be a trigger post if you have been a victim of sexual abuse. If you are currently a victim of sexual abuse, you don't have to suffer in silence. Tell a teacher or a trusted friend and get help. If you are a survivor of past abuse, or a current victim, you can get help through the hotline listed on RAINN's webpage here.

My dad in front of the Mesa, Arizona, Mormon Temple.

"Do you want to press charges against your dad?"

"No!"

Because what else would a 14 year old say? About her own father? At 14 I was horrified at the idea of having to confront my father in court. I couldn't even conceptualize having a father in prison. My family simply didn't have people in jail. My father wouldn't survive in prison. How would I tell people that I had a dad in prison? How would my mom support five children on her own? 

These are the things you think as the oldest at home of five kids, when you are 14 years old, and a cop asks you if you want to press charges against your father for sexually abusing you.

One of the real fucked up things about being abused by a parent, is that they are still your parent. You still love them. You still want to protect them. You can even still admire them.

It's so twisted.

This is the man who taught me how to drive. How to shoot. How to identify flora and fauna, and how to survive, in the Alaskan wilderness. He gave me a love for learning and writing and taught me how to balance a check book. He took us gold panning. He taught us history. He introduced us to theater, poetry, and public speaking.

But he is also the man who sexually, mentally, and emotionally abused me. As a parent myself now, I am dumbfounded at how someone could hurt their own child. Children are truly innocent and so utterly vulnerable and trusting.

Welcome to the family, sister. You have no idea what is in store for you.

And the mind fuck that occurs when the person who you love and trust, abuses you? It is a total mind fuck. 

I was thirteen years old when the abuse chronicled above happened to me. At the time, I thought it was only that one incident, but after years of therapy, I now know of more. Not because I forgot them, but because as an even younger child when the other incidents occurred, I didn't realize they were abuse. The incident above, done when my father thought I was asleep, is what first blatantly registered to my young mind as abuse.

My father, Stephen Michael Morrisette, who now goes by the name of Rocky Morrisette, touched my breasts (or chest, pre-boobs) several times when I was a young girl. And when he wasn't touching them, he was trying to touch them. 

"Can I give you a front scratch?" (As opposed to a back scratch).

"I didn't have sisters when I was growing up, so I don't know what developing breasts look like. Can I see yours? Can I touch them?"

He would press his body and his erection up against us when we were standing up, or lying on the couch, or in bed at night while we tried to sleep.

Thanks for the sexy silk robe, dad...

He brought me gifts when he returned from his long TDYs (temporary duty in the US Air Force.) One time he handed me a silk, white negligee. I was 12. He asked me to try it on for him. Another time, a purple silk kimono he wanted me to use as a 'house robe.' We were children, and thought the presents were beautiful and exotic (they were); they were also wildly inappropriate. Gifts like these are called 'grooming behavior.' I didn't learn the term until I was in my twenties, in therapy.

There are no nostalgic photos with my dad from childhood. Everything is tainted.

The abuse he perpetrated on one of my younger sisters, Sariah, was much worse. Besides all of the same breast touching, he also digitally raped her (fingers in the vagina). Repeatedly. For years. The first time happened when she was in KINDERGARTEN.

He also made her touch.him.back.

This abuse of my sister was far more extensive and perverse then what happened to me. He would say to her,

"You are beautiful, just like Charlotte."

"You should be a cheerleader, just like Charlotte."

"If you tell, our family will be torn a part."

"This is what daddies do."

"You're a happy girl; stop crying."

His abuse was not only sexual, but emotional. My sisters and I were treated like his wives.  When he came home from work each day, we took off his boots and rubbed his back. He woke me up early in the mornings to have breakfast with him and talk about his upcoming day. We all slept piled on either side of him in his bed. 

My father with my sister, Sariah.

--------------------------

"Why don't you press charges against your father?" my husband , Eric, asked me when we were first dating and I told him about my past. 

"Because I'm trying to get over it. Because I want to move on with my life and I don't want to re-live it."

Eric has always been supportive of me. Years ago, when I told him that I had asked my father to drive out to San Diego for a joint therapy session so I could confront him in person, Eric offered to be there. I didn't want Eric in the room with me, so he waited right outside for me until I was done. When I confronted my father in front of the therapist, I asked him point blank if he had abused any of my other sisters. He said he hadn't.

He was lying.

Foolishly, I believed him. It wasn't until years later that my sister contacted me to share her own story of abuse. We talked by phone, but we didn't go into detail. It is not really the sort of thing you chit chat about. I emailed my father and asked him again, did you abuse my sisters?

Again, he said no.

He was lying.

--------------------------

"Will you help me press charges against dad?" my sister asked me.

A few months ago, my family and I flew up to San Diego to visit relatives and pick up items for our sail across the South Pacific. While I was there my sister told me she had contacted the Air Force (my father is retired USAF) and was attempting to press charges about the past abuse. Why, after so many years had passed, was she pressing charges now? Not that she needs a reason to pursue charges at any time, but in this case, she had reason to believe he was now abusing another family member (family member/age/name/etc not mentioned to protect her identity.)

My sister had contacted the authorities in the state he lived in to let them know her suspicions and now wanted to pursue charges from her own past abuse. She asked me if I'd be willing to speak to the investigators and help with the investigation. For the first time that someone had asked me this question, my answer was unequivocally, 'yes.'

As I'm sure you can imagine, having to dredge up these old memories and emotions wasn't easy. It was one of the tipping points in my descent into postpartum depression after Lyra's birth. The thought that my father was now continuing to abuse the next generation made me physically ill. It took me awhile to realize that by trying to forget my past and move on, I had been putting others at great risk.

Incest. Pedophile. Rape. Molestation. 

Nobody wants to say these words. Nobody wants to think about them, or talk about them. And I don't blame them. There is such a strong taboo surrounding talking about these issues that the perpetrators of these crimes often go unpunished because "we don't talk about that." Or, "that was in the past." Or, "you'll bring shame on the family name." Or, "let bygones be bygones."

I can't keep quiet anymore.

I realize that I have done a great disservice to society by NOT saying something sooner. Not only is it possible that there has been a new victim of my father's abuse, but who knows how many others because I didn't speak up? I moved out of the house when I was 16 so I wouldn't have to live another minute with my father. And my father retired from the Air Force...and became a High School teacher.

And he volunteered as Santa.

And he worked as a train conductor for little kid trains.

And my dad is currently living in Taos County, New Mexico, as an unregistered sex offender.

Do I want to press charges against my father?

I really, really do.

Here is my problem. I recently got an email from one of the investigators at OSI, (the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.) They were updating me on the investigation and said that they can't find an Attorney General in any of the states they have been investigating my father in, that will prosecute because of the statue of limitations. I'm shocked that there are statutes of limitations on child sex abuse, but there you have it. After months of working through all this past trauma again, after preparing myself to confront my dad in court, to see my dad go to jail, to finally see justice served, it looks like my dad will not be prosecuted. 

As so frequently happens, another family sex abuse case will be swept under the rug. My dad will get to grow old with his new wife. And live in a new community where he'll do book signings for his new young adult book. Written for young girls!! :puke:

But if I can't confront him in court, I can at least confront him in the court of public opinion.

As a child I had no voice. But I have a voice now. After the abuse chronicled above, I didn't say a word. I kept quiet because I was certain that if my mother found out, she would leave him, and my family would be destitute. My mother would have no way to support all five of the children who were still at home. We would be split up into different foster families. I couldn't let that happen. My mom finally asked me one day, out of the blue, "Has dad ever touched you?" And I lost it. I cried for so long and so hard that I couldn't even answer her question right away, not that she needed a verbal answer after seeing my physical response.

And once I told her, I was so relieved. At last. She knew. And the process that I was sure would happen, would begin. You know. My mom would call the police and our bishop. My dad would go to jail. Our family might be torn apart, but dear god, I was so relieved that someone knew and that my dad would be out of my life soon.

But I was wrong.

Yes, my mom told our church leaders, who then called the police and the Air Force. My dad had to leave the house. There was a lot of turmoil. My dad was institutionalized because of a mental breakdown. When he got out, I heard that he was going to therapy. I told a policeman that I did NOT want to press charges. But I also, naively, assumed that my mother would never let him come back to live with us again.

I was wrong.

This blog post is not about my mother. But many of the decisions my mother made ended up hurting her children. My mother said that she decided to stay with my father because God told her to stay with him and because church leaders told her to stay with him. I was devastated. And while my father was not allowed in the house for awhile, eventually we were told that he was "better" and it was "okay" for him to move back in. 

Left to right: My uncle, my aunt, my mother, and my father.

The abuse came up right as my father was about to be promoted to Major. Instead, his commanding officer told him to take retirement so he wouldn't have to pursue military action.

And at 15 years old I was told that my father was moving back into our house, with me and my three younger sisters, whether I liked it not. And I didn't like it all. 

My dad moved back in, and I moved out. At least temporarily. I was shipped from church member to church member's homes for a few weeks at a time. One family would take me in until it got inconvenient (and trust me, I was a model house guest. I was terrified of being asked to leave and go back.) After being shuffled like that for months, the mom in the current family I was living with said, "Look, you can't keep hiding. You need to go back home."

I wanted to vomit. But I had no choice. I moved back home. And I lived in the same house as my dad. I tried to avoid speaking to him and walking past him. I went to school early and stayed late. Eventually my oldest brother, Rich, told me I could live with him in Texas and at 16 I left Alaska and I left my three younger sisters still living at home with my dad.

My three younger sisters. Bottom left, Phoebe, top left, Sariah, top right, Rose.

The guilt eats at me.

I had to basically close my eyes and not think about the fact that I was leaving my sisters within his grasp. I had to protect myself and I left. And it turns out that my dad continued to abuse my sister for several more years. I feel physical pain in my chest thinking about it. I would have given anything to protect my sisters. But they said he was "better." They said he could "come back home."

--------------------------

Am I writing this so you can pity me or pity my sister?

No.

Sadly, this kind of shit happens to far, far too many children. I am already aware of the huge percentage of people reading this post who were also abused by a family member, a neighbor, a stranger, or have been dated raped, or sexually attacked in some way. The prevalence is nauseating. 

No, I'm writing this so one day, when I'm ready, and when my daughters ask about my father, I will let them read this post so they understand who he is and what he did and why he isn't in our lives.

I'm writing this post because I'm no longer a child. Because I have a voice and I don't have to be silent anymore.

I'm writing this post as a Public Service Announcement: there is an unregistered sex offender living freely in Taos County, New Mexico, who goes by the name of Rocky Morrisette.

Stephen Michael Morrisette, aka "Rocky" Morrisette

I'm writing this post to ask for your help.  

(Please see post update below about who you can directly contact to help.)

Here is the Twitter page for the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. You can also 'submit a tip' to the OSI here. Though submitting a 'tip' sounds so hopelessly inadequate. Here's a tip: apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before you go out into the sun. Here's some info: the Air Force let my dad retire instead of prosecuting him.

Here is the Facebook and Twitter pages for the US Air Force. Feel free to re-post this blog and let them know what one of their retired officers has done.

Here is the Facebook page for Alaska's Governor, Sean Parnell.  Here is the email address for Michael Geraghty, Alaska's Attorney General. Maybe if enough people email or Facebook them, they'll decide it is worth pursuing.

--------------------------

I want to pursue charges against my father. I'm ready to see justice done. But if I can't see justice done for myself and my sister, I need to at least make sure that my father can't harm anyone else.

I'm not ashamed of the abuse that happened to me. It wasn't my fault. I was a child and what my father did was wrong. I'll forever have the guilt though. The guilt of feeling like I left my sisters behind (because I did). Of staying silent because I thought I was protecting them and then the guilt of leaving when I couldn't stand to be living with him any longer. My chest wants to crack open with hurt when I see the pain it has caused my sister. I couldn't prevent her abuse, but if I can help just one other person who may read this blog, then maybe some good can come from all of this. If I can get information to one person about how to heal from past abuse, or let them know that I have been there too, that I am still there, that it is possible to keep living, to be happy, to move beyond it, I've got to try.

If you need help for issues like these, please contact RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. Here is their site, and here is their Facebook page.  And please know that you are not alone.

Lastly, I highly suggest this book for reading about ways to protect your own children from abuse, and this book for protecting yourself.

----

This post was written with knowledge and permission from my sister, Sariah.

----

I am no longer blogging on Rebel Heart. You can now follow me on my blog: http://www.charlottekaufman.com/

 

I’ve recently completed my first draft of a book about how Eric and I met, our life on Rebel Heart, the rescue, and its ensuing aftermath.  You can sign up to receive my blog updates and information on when the book will be published by clicking here.
 
 

Reader Comments (116)

I'm so sorry to learn of the abuses that happened to you and your siblings as children. I also am surprised to learn that you think there is a statute of limitation on the prosecution of these offenses. If you look here: http://rainn.org/public-policy/legal-resources/alaska/statutes-of-limitations#time-limitation-for-prosecution it appears that there is NO statute of limitation for these acts against you and your sisters by your father. I am no expert in this matter but it looks like no time limit. It may be very true that the US Air Force has a statue of limitation on the time frame they can take action such as a court martial (internal action by the Air Force) but that isn't to say the authorities in the state(s) you've lived in cannot do something. And further, if you lived in numerous states and there can be confusion about which states can prosecute, you may be able to get action in a federal court on this matter. A lawyer could advise you on this of course.

The above link says that in Alaska there is no time limit for the following things

(a) No time limit for the prosecution of

Felony sexual abuse of a minor
Sexual assault that is an unclassified, class A, or class B felony, or a violation of § 11.41.425 (a) (2) - (a) (4) (offender, an employee of the state correctional facility, engages in sexual penetration with victim, who is committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections; offender, legal guardian of victim, engages in sexual penetration with a person 18 or 19 years of age who the offender knows is in the custody of the Department of Health and Social Services under AS 47.10 or AS 47.12; or offender, peace officer, engages in sexual penetration with a person with reckless disregard that the person is in the custody or the apparent custody of the offender or a law enforcement agency)
The following offenses when committed against a victim under 18:
Sexual assault in the third degree (§ 11.41.425)
Sexual assault in the fourth degree (§ 11.41.427)
Incest (§ 11.41.450)
Online enticement of a minor (§ 11.41.452)

Unlawful exploitation of a minor (§ 11.41.455)

I don't know what the definitions of all the above crimes are but it seems like your situation fits into them.

Like you, I had some horrible things happen to me in my childhood, and like you, I left home at 16 to get away from it. My method of protecting myself was to simply cut off contact with the offending parent. Other than a therapist, I never told a soul what had happened. In my 20's it was difficult because sibling and other family members characterized my actions of refusing to see that parent as selfish. I would not explain to them the "why" of it all. Even so, my own "wall" of refusing to communicate with or be near my parent was successful and healing but it cut me off from other important family members for life.

You have a beautiful life now and I hope that you are able to do what you need to do for closure of the wounds of your own childhood. The past shapes our present actions but need not force what we do in the present. Take care of yourself and your children, don't waste your time explaining to others what you're doing or why, just do those things you need to do so you can have the closure that you need.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterConcerned Friend

Charlotte,

Your kids are lucky to have such a brave mother. I can't even imagine what you and your sisters have had to go through and I hope that justice is served to your father, who robbed you of the unconditional safety and comfort that all fathers should give their daughters. Hang in there.

Lauren
S/V Piko

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

Oh Charlotte. <3 I am so, so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story. I was so lucky that Lily told me and anyone who would listen (loudly!) at the mere attempt on my ex's part, and now he's locked away. I hope the authorities will listen so that he can never hurt another child again.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

Thank you, Charlotte for your honesty and courage.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJacqueline

I have heard a few very close family members' stories of abuse. And it is unbelievably devastating. Those who abuse others (and CHILDREN none the less!) in any way (emotionally, sexually, etc.) are certainly f**ked up. That being said, there is a good chance that someone before them did something equally inappropriate that f**ked them up. But the difference here is this...you could choose to take the dysfunction and abuse you've been dealt and let it bleed into future generations...or you can be courageous. You can essentially break the disc. YOU have chosen to stop the continuation of this extremely messed up abuse. YOU have chosen to rise above it and be better. And YOU are choosing to protect many others by speaking out about it. I support you and admire you for so many things...this is just another to add to the list. Thank you for sharing your story. And know that your wisdom and bravery will be a turning point in someone else's story. Great big hugs to you, dear friend.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina

I got this response from Alaska Governor Sean Parnell:
Thank you for sharing this information and for your concern for those who have suffered sexual abuse. We have reached out to the author and are seeking more information in order to evaluate what legal avenues of recourse may be available at this time. Preventing and combatting epidemic levels of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse in Alaska have been and will continue to be one of Governor Parnell’s highest priorities. You can find more information about the Choose Respect initiative, as well as resources for victims and survivors on our website at www.chooserespect.alaska.gov. We appreciate hearing from you.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

My heart wrenches for the pain you and all your sisters/family have endured. I have a daughter who was diagnosed with cancer at 18 months and the treatments were brutal. But whenever I read something about sexual abuse or sex trafficking or anything related I think that would be so much worse to know that a person is knowingly doing something so horrifying is vile and filthy. I am pleased to hear you are moving on and doing what you can to protect others from the same awfulness. My heart extends to you I hope justice will be served sooner than later.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Thank you Charlotte, for being an example of strength, for living your truth and for sharing your vulnerability. What an amazing person you are. I send you so much positive energy to continue your journey with this and I am so happy you are surrounded with so many who love you.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarilyn Karimi

Charlotte,
I know it's cliche but I am so proud. I read this entire message with tears streaming. Our family (although not my immediate) also has a "swept under the rug" issue that has effected literally generations of my family. I hold so much hostility and your letter and my relation of guilt to yours seriously gave me a huge relief and justification for years of repressed anger.. All at once. Funny how religion can be excuses for monster behaviors for some people and what depths families will go to to protect their names. I hope your father goes down and if for some reason not.. That your brave letter lifts a million pounds off of your shoulders; just reading this lifted a thousand off of mine. Love and Thanks

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmber

My father was prosecuted for abusing me, in the 80s, before there was a sex offender registry. He got probation, I think, nothing more than that. I don't know if he is still a perpetrator but I know he is inappropriate. He is not allowed around my daughter, this is what I found the strength to do. This is incredibly brave and powerful, as a fellow survivor of father-daughter abuse, I'm proud to see you confront this.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaliforniagirl

Wow, Charlotte. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to write all of this out in a public forum. You are incredibly humble doing so in order to bring awareness about this man who you may not be able to prosecute. I'm so sorry you have these incidents in your past, but hopefully the cycle can broken and he will be prevented from hurting anyone else.

My sister left home when I was 10, me when I was 13 but I came back when I was 15. I know from experience that problems at home are never as easy when you are right there dealing with them then they appear years later when everything is safe. Try not to struggle with the guilt you feel for "leaving" your sisters, after all you were only a child yourself and did what you felt you had to to survive. You only had 2 more years until you were 18 and were going to leave anyways.

If your sisters are anything like you I'm sure they will find(or have) found the strength to move forward, not letting these past events damage them as people. It isn't them or you, it's him and it was out of your control. I hope you find resolution in the legal and emotional battles that lay ahead. Your girls are lucky to have you as a mother so you can protect them from the horrors you know so well. Take care.
Dani

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDani

Charlotte, the strength this took to write and share with the world is immense. I am so sorry that you and your sisters experienced this. I hope that through your sharing of your story and your sister's that healing can take place. Know that you did the very best you could at the time, you were a child, and that NO child should be expected to have to deal with what you did or be forced to make the decisions that you did. You are a beautiful shining star, and I am sure a wonderful parent. I hope your adult life is blessed with all that you deserve from Life! Take care of yourself...

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGretchen

You may check state laws, I was abused by an uncle and learned that the statute of limitations only starts when the victim recalls the abuse (at least in Colorado where mine occurred) so in my late 20's was when the clock of limitations started. Also I was an AF kid and there are some crimes that transcend the military insulation, check state status where you were and where you are there may be options through those.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfubeca12

Sent you a private message via FB.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjanet lee enders

Charlotte, I greatly admire your courage for posting about your experiences, and am glad to see such an outpouring of support from the others who commented.

There is a 12-Step program (S-Anon) for family and friends of sex addicts, which you might find helpful as well: http://www.sanon.org/.

I will follow up with the actions you have requested...stay strong!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Mason

In your article (which has indeed touched my heart....I pray for your continued path of recovery) you list him as living in Taos, NM. As such, my agency has received many emails about this.

I need to point out to you two errors....first, the email address you have linked to is the Town of Taos Clerk, not the Mayor. Second, he does not live inside the Town of Taos....therefore my agency cannot legally assist with this issue. It needs to be addressed with the Taos County Sheriff's Department or the New Mexico State Police.

If I can be further assistance, please feel free to contact me. However, I did not want this issue to be sent to the wrong agency, and thus ineffective.

Respectfully
David B. Weaver, Chief of Police
Taos Police Department

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChief David Weaver

Charlotte

I don't know if you remember me, but Phoebe and I were extremely close as kids. I remember coming over to your guys house all the time. We'd play in the tree house. We'd be up at all hours talking. We even found the magazines your father had hidden in the ceiling. We always talked about growing up and doing big things and getting away from Eagle River. When you guys moved away Phoebes would write about wanting to get away from home. She was always so persistent and I just assumed it was because she missed Alaska, I just never knew. She had a hard time and disappeared from our lives for awhile, but I never stopped looking for her. A few years back we found each other again and our letters by mail started up all over again (one of my most favorite things about Phoebe is her love and appreciation for the written word, not typed) Now we're friends on Facebook and she invited me to attend her wedding in March (which I would move mountains to make it to!) I guess I'm just writing this because I remember you all, I remember how wonderful you all were, I remember hearing about you leaving, I remember feeling like I was missing something but too young to understand. What you went through breaks my heart. Horrible things should never happen to people as wonderful as you and I want you all to know you have the support of so many loving people. I desperately hope that on one else has to go through what you and your family went through. Thank you for sharing something that could not have been easy to share.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLizzy

At first I skipped over the parts of the sexual abuse because the other day when you wrote this I had a hangover and as I started to read it I started to wretch, I just wanted to fucking puke. omg how can anyone do that to little children & even his own kids, he is an absolute horror of a human being. I've read about stories like this from people I've never met, yet this time it hits me really hard knowing that you Charlotte, someone who is my friend suffered from that monster.
Monsters are real, they're all around us, they're close to us.
peace
Dillinger

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDillinger

Hi, I'm Sariah's husband's cousin. We had something similar happen in our family, and I feel for you in that I was the older sib who had to get away for my own sanity and felt awful about leaving younger ones in harm's way. I hope you're able to find justice, and good luck.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Charlotte, you are so courageous. I admire you for having the strenght to write this post. I think you did the right thing. English is not my first language (i'm a French canadian). I read your blog few times a week since a couple of years. I want to assure you that i will write to M.Chavarria using my best English. I also will read the book you suggest to protecte children from abuse. I finish this comment by sending you light and positive vibes.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterannie

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