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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)

I saw this on one of my friends walls. I just wanted to tell you that you are so brave. I have been sexually abused by someone in my family also but I didn't do anything about it. It still haunts me to this day. I will try to email the right people to get you the help you need.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Please, Please, PLEASE don't feel guilty. I know that it's tough, but please don't feel guilty. My wife was in a similar situation, except that her father went to jail and came back to the home - to three daughters (including his victim) still living there. My mother in law and the church leaders all declared that her dad was safe to go back home and that the abuse had been limited. Further, they indicated that the family couldn't heal until the father was back in it. Even though we have no evidence that the abuse has occurred since he got back home, we recently found out that his abuses before he went to jail had been far worse than my wife had been led to believe, with him having seriously abused an aunt, as well as having tried to groom another two minors and very likely having abused a third person who never came forward.

Having been the main victim, my wife was asked if she was okay with her father returning home and she, being ignorant and being pushed by her mother and church leaders, said yes. Now that we know what we know, my wife is terrified that she opened the door for him to abuse more girls (and there have even been some disturbing reports of strange behavior that seriously worries us), but it isn't my wife's fault if he did do something. When you're that young and you feel all of that pressure from parents and church leaders who are supposed to be inspired, seeing things clearly can be nearly impossible. PLEASE DO NOT HOLD IT AGAINST YOURSELF! You're doing something now that is right and that is what matters.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDon't feel guilty!

As I read your blog I felt like I was reading my own life story. The similarities are amazing. I also fully understand the frustration and hurt/anger that comes when you finally become brave enough to go,as an adult to get justice for yourself and to protect and then find out that it's to late? I'll never understand how there is a statute of limitations to protect someone who didn't protect their own children. I think it's great your able to post and maybe make a change! Thank you.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBev

It has reached Taos County... I hope me sharing this helps!

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I am glad you are taking a fighting stance. I was sexual abused by my step-brother for many years, and even after going to court about it he got away. This takes a lot of guts to do. Good luck saving the next little girl.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersiemie

I wanted to send this whole post to the people you mentioned but I couldn't figure out a way. I copied paragraphs and a picture and did the best I could but it
didn't tell the whole story! Post directions, please! Thanks for your bravery in sharing your story!

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoanpteacup

Thank you for knowing how to use the media we have at our hands in order to bring some type of chaos to your abuser's life. Hopefully, the chaos will end with justice being served. I was lucky enough to have had a loving set of parents who never sexually abused me but I can't say the same thing about someone who was a close friend of my sister. The man was a father of two children and a husband to my sister's best friend. Because he was a father, I assumed that my father would do the same and I pushed him away for many years. It wasn't until I was about 20 when he finally asked me what he ever did to me. It was so hard to admit that he did nothing to me and I told my parents what happened. The statute of limitations screwed me from being able to go after the jerk because I was 13 when it happened and I didn't get the nerve to seek prosecution until I was almost 30. If I had been 12, there are no statute of limitations (in Florida) but once you turn 13, you are suddenly given a time limit of 12 years.

You have inspired me to start seeking out where he now lives and possibly write my own blog. Thank you. I hope the best for you.
Chris L.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChris L.

Thank you for sharing your brave truth Charlotte! I have send emails to all you mentioned, submitted tips, and fb page shared the blog post in all the places you mentioned and several others <3. I will see what I can do on amazon next! I appreciate your information so that others can help bring light to this darkMess! So much love and light and thanks! Love, Maggie

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLove Maggie

What's even more devastating is that the church didn't save you. Just like the pedophile priests and pastors that still lurk within the churches, they just shuffled them around from church to church to avoid prosecution. In your case, they encouraged your mom to let him back in your home, back in the area of where his abused children reside. I'm so sorry this happened to you and your sisters and I'm very glad that you spoke up. I was abused myself since i was 5 years old by an older cousin and I wasn't able to tell my mother until after I had my first baby at 25 years old. The pain never goes away. And he too, has never been prosecuted.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

"Prosecute Stephen Michael Morrisette‏" emails sent.

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSu

This is the body of the email I sent to the 3 email addresses you provided, if it helps anyone figure out what to say, or if you want to share a possible template for others:

Dear Mr. Erick Chavarria, OSI Investigator,
and Mr. Michael Geraghty, Alaska Attorney General:

Prosecute accused child sex offender Stephen Michael Morrisette, retired Air Force.
No excuses.

The alleged abuse took place in Alaska. Morrisette currently resides in Taos, NM.

See this website for more information:

http://www.therebelheart.com/charlottes-blog/2014/1/13/my-dad-is-an-unregistered-unprosecuted-sex-offender-please-h.html

Do the right thing!

Sincerely,
[my full name]

cc: Miguel Romero, Jr., Taos County Sheriff Department

January 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSu

Your post was a flash back, back to a time 24 years ago. I know your pain, and I feel your pain. I hope that you are able to get justice served and get him prosecuted. <3 I will e-mail these people, because I would like to see justice be served for all of you, it does help the healing process, I know from experience.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer L

Charlotte,

So this come up on my facebook wall twice today. If your unsolicited story can come up on my wall them my unsolicited comment can come up on your screen. I do not agree with all the other comments.

I do not think your father should be prosecuted, nor do I think you should peruse him in this way. It's almost as if you are chasing him down in hopes he will kill himself.

No matter what you do, you will not get to have the father you wanted and the father you deserved. You won't be able to go back in time and have healthy and appropriate emotional, sexual and spiritual development.

I have very little doubt that what you said about what happened is true. It happens too often to too many of us. But in the end, it is how we live our own lives and forgive that matters. No how many people buy into our own self-pity, we only find peace through forgiveness.

I won't be looking back to see how many people rant and rave over my comments. So people, feel free to post whatever you want.

I flat out think it was wrong what happened, but I also think that registering people as sex offenders is wrong. I think that prosecuting people for sex offenses long ago is wrong. I think that the weight of their own actions in the past is punishment enough for them. I think that IF they are currently engaged in sex offenses and are caught - then they should be prosecuted. But having lived a life very, very, very similar - I find that forgiveness and empathy are the two most powerful actions in the universe.

I wish you well. I wish your father well.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

Thank you for your courage.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Rushworth

Daniel is misinformed or uninformed and totally misguided. He simply does not know what he is talking about. Pedophiles do not think they are doing anything wrong. THEY FEEL NO GUILT! EVER! Charlotte's father said to her, "This is what daddies do." What a withering, condemning statement for a child to hear. Pedophiles can not be rehabilitated. The recidivism rate is extraordinarily high. Because they think their feelings and actions are normal, they can lie convincingly. Children who suffer from abuse by a pedophile, usually a relative, often the father, are in a black hellish place from which they can see no escape except death...their own. It is unfortunate in the extreme that Daniel's position is shared by more equally ignorant people than one would want to believe exist. But it is a fact. Too bad Daniel isn't returning to read these comments. He might learn something. Too bad Charlotte's brother thinks like Daniel. However, his behavior is not at all uncommon. It's just a another knife in her heart. Thank God she's not a child any more.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSheron

Charlotte it took a lot of bravery for you to write about this. I loved how you brought out the MANY dimensions of conflict that sexual abuse creates in the lives of those that were abused. The conflict of loving someone still even though they hurt you. From being scared to report it for fear of what might happen to the rest of the family to the guilt felt later as if his later transgressions were your fault for not reporting it. I applaud you for sharing this with others. I really believe this is helpful to others with similar experiences and am going to share it with someone else that I am very close to who had a very similar experience. Part of her guilt was that she still loved her dad in spite of what he had done AND all of the negative things that other people would say about "I would have done this" or "I would have done that". Thank you for your honesty and know that it is helpful to other to see your post. I hope and will be praying that God will continue to help heal you and to see that justice for you and your sisters and all of your fathers victims will be served. : )

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne Cobos

Charlotte-
You and your sister are so brave. I wish I could reach out and hug you both and tell you how truly sorry I am for your experience and young life.
I will reach out to some of the links you gave, and I will re-post your story on Facebook to my community so that perhaps others can find the help they need with your brave story.
I hope every day you spend with your family out on the sea in the beauty of god is another day to help you heal. Blessed Be.
-Cheryl

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

Writing this seems to have really taken immense courage! I imagine you feel a lot different after hitting that "send" button.

I hope that you are able to thoroughly enjoy the feeling of relief and power that this has no doubt given to you. (it will come with new pain, but try not to let that affect you, it's a necessary step) And I hope that it serves to educate the many people that read it. Many don't know what is and isn't wrong, they seem to think that everything is black and white, and that if it's not outright movie-style rape, then it's "just a bit creepy". Articles like this help to clear up those often blurred lines and remind people that it's just so wrong and damaging.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

I am so sick and sad reading your story. Our family was blown apart last April when my 25 year old niece told me her father (my only brother) raped her from the time she was 5 until she was 13. There were many strong emotions that came out at the time she told me this upon confrontation my brother admitted it and my mother was told anywhere from 1 to 3 years before this and did nothing to protect my young daughters 5, 8, and 13 at the time I found out. My niece is not strong enough to want to go forward and prosecute her father and she is in a terribly abusive relationship with a man still, which now totally makes sense knowing the abuse from her past. So many things you said in your post, I have heard since April. It makes me sick. The police will not prosecute him unless my niece presses charges. So he is free to live his life where he still has very close contact with young girls in his current relationship. I hate it!! I cannot believe the people in my family who are protecting him and allowing his sickness to continue. I hurt for you and feel so frustrated at our broken protection system in our country. There is no reason your father should have been able to abuse one more time after you spoke out about what happened to you. Praying for justice! If I can ever help with your situation or you know of anything that could help where my niece or brother are concerned, please contact me.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I had a similar experience (though it was an uncle). He was not prosecuted at the time. I did my own therapy and dealt with things. My aunt found out (over the years) that there had been several of us. But statute of limitations was up and she was no longer married to him.

Fast forward about 30 years. He was caught molesting a grand child. We were all able to band together and finally speak out to the court. Not for ourselves, but to show the pattern. He was incarcerated. (Sadly, he got out very quickly for "good behavior" but at least we put him away for a time.)

Please keep working on this. I promise he won't stop. Protect the innocent. Awesome job woman.

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie Rewis

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