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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.

Reader Comments (116)

Charlotte, this sounds so similar to my family's story in an alarming number of ways. Raised mormon, born in Alaska, father in air force, big family. Mother stayed in support for her spiritual reasons, with great support coming from church members and leadership. I feel your passion and absolutely respect your courage. As obvious as it might seem to somebody outside of this awful experience that hell ya, post his face, his name, tell the world - I know how much courage and conviction, self-reassurance that takes. You're amazing. I will certainly follow your links to try to help out.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterslcslc

I am so sorry Charlotte. If I would have known, I would have tried to help. I know it is a difficult thing to overcome. I hope that with counseling things will be better. You are so brave to share this story. Our love and prayers to you and your family.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElaine Nisonger

My heart hurt reading this. I can't stop crying. When my daughter was four my mother's husband at the time digitally raped my daughter. My daughter, confused asked my mother why. We went to the police, he refused to answer questions and then he fled, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. The district attorney in Colorado Springs, Colorado (in 2003) refused to bring charges against him because there wasn't enough physical evidence (no signs of trauma) and because it boiled down to a 4 year old child's word against his. His name is David Garcia. Here is an unrelated arrest picture of him that I found on the internet http://www.google.com/imgres?start=180&client=ms-android-verizon&sa=X&espv=1&sboxchip=Images&biw=598&bih=287&tbm=isch&tbnid=Gosd7HzXnpDkIM%3A&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fmugshots.com%2FUS-Counties%2FNew-Mexico%2FSanta-Fe-County-NM%2FDavid-Garcia.4212304.html&docid=XoPfVYIH9Kz2fM&itg=1&imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fthumbs.mugshots.com%2Fgallery%2Fimages%2F2%2F17%2F42%2FDavid-Garcia_mugshot.80x80.jpg&w=65&h=80&ei=XmDWUvz8CoW0ygGRwYFA&zoom=1&iact=rc&page=9&ndsp=27&ved=0CKYCEK0DMGA4ZA

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMom of a 4 year old

I am so sad and sorry for all your pain and for the fact that there has never been any help or understanding, and now not even closure. All I can say is how much I care.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClare

I am truly touched by your story and your courage in sharing it. I wanted to let you know that I shared your story on my facebook wall and one of my friends contacted the NM book store, Moby Dickens where he was doing a book signing, this is the response he got:

"thanks for the information. Yes, I did read it and find it appalling. Obviously, we had no knowledge of this prior to a few days ago but have since removed his books from the store and will not support him as an author any longer at our location. Thanks for the feedback and info on this issue. "

I hope this is a small consolation and that you can gain further victories in making sure that he is brought to justice and is not able to hurt anyone else. God bless.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel Nakai

Dear Charlotte:

I am proud of you for posting all of this about your father. The bastard should be prosecuted because all of you kids suffered emotionally and physically by his deviant behavior. It's a shame that parents sexually abuse their kids and actually get away with it. I'm sure you struggled immensely with this throughout your lifetime. And now it is time that he pays the price. Kudos to you for being strong enough to write this post.

Much love and support, your cousin. - Alana

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlana Joos

I am very touched by your bravery and your courage. I hope justice is served. I emailed everyone you suggested and I messaged them all on FB. I don't know you and I'm not a victim of any type of emotional/physical/sexual abuse, but my heart is with you. I admire your strength. Stay strong.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Charlotte,
I live in Taos. I have a young daughter. Thank you for doing this. You are so brave.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy

I posted this on my Facebook and I also wanted to share what I said with you. You already know that you are (sadly) not alone here, but I am heartened to know you are out there. I hope you will feel the same from all of the other incredible responses to your brave BRAVE writing.

From FB: This is a really huge deal. My father died at 42, just two years older than the age I am now. I never really got the chance to do anything about what happened to me but try to pick up my shredded innocent and begin to spin a beautiful web. I don't know if I wish I had pressed charges, or if I wish for more justice than dying young and virtually all alone was enough for all of his emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. What I do know is that no matter how hard I work in therapy, how much I grow closer to the light, the things he did will never ever leave me. And they won't leave this family either. I am just profoundly touched by this article and if you read it, please take good care.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlysia

I'm so glad you wrote this. You have to let go and forgive yourself. If you need more help for a minor please reach out to Childhelp USA. They helped me so much. As for New Mexico it doesn't surprise me they're of no help considering their laws give perpetrators the right to harass their victims throughout the prosecution process.

Stay strong and don't give up!

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersara

Good Luck. From someone who knows what its like. Thank you for your post, it makes it easier to know there are others out there fighting to protect children from our fate.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I am so proud of your courage. Thank you for honoring yourself and caring about others this way!
I will post it on social media.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria D

Charlotte;

I wish you the best of luck in finding some peace and closure, whether he is held accountable or not. I am without words in expressing my sorrow for you and your sister(s). All I can say is, as a perfect stranger, I am proud of you. This is no easy task that you have taken on and you are an amazingly strong woman for doing so.

Social media will help you find resolution, in one way or another. You will affect others lives in a positive way by sharing this very personal information. Thank you for being brave enough to do this.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEH

Mrs. Chalotte my family is from Taos NM can u plz inbox me asap thank you

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

THANK YOU.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I'm so sorry for your pain and for that of your family. Thank you for sharing your story! You have amazing courage. I hope the investigators in the state where your sister reported her suspicions and let them know of his past are doing a thorough and swift job of investigating and taking appropriate action. Even though statute of limitations has run out on his crimes of the past you and your sister are to be commended for reporting and trying to protect upcoming generations. Don't give up on this.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

Thank you......

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKay Barron

THIS i.S. My Story too.... I cannot begin to describe how surprised I was to read it and go there in my mind ... I had to stop reading, it is so just like mine. I am so sorry for the loss of your innocence... Thank you, thank you for sharing your story....

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKayel

Let go and let your Higher Power take over. I will send you healing Light daily. Let go. Let go. Let go. This whole account what you wrote was so brave. So necessary. So justified. Thank you for writing it . And thank you for you and your sister's actions toward him. Just please don't let it eat you alive. You have the Power within you to overcome. Let go and let Light fill you up.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAngela Censoplano

What I love about this post is how you have broken the circle of silence. In breeching that circle, you have given so many people the courage to talk about their own abuse and seek help or retribution. I love you beyond the end of the world. Thank you also for giving us "listeners" a way we can put things into action. You have my heart. Kisses.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

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