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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)

My abusers were my father and brother...They are both still alive and living free in Florida. Too much time has passed for them to be prosecuted or so I am told. I am 55 and have been in therapy off and on for years. I can empathize with you. I left as soon as I could and moved to Taos where I lived happily for many years. I applaud your courage and your heart for speaking out...You are a special kind of hero !

January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNan Truman

As a fellow world traveler who suffered (along with my 4 siblings) the emotional, physical, and sexual abuse of a lunatic I used to call father and an insane enabling monster I used to call mother, I both sympathize with you and applaud your willingness to share this story and unfortunate journey. I have given up on that once upon a time parental relationship. And, since my older sister (who suffered more than any of us) was murdered, my brother wrongfully imprisoned for confronting the monsters (formerly mother and step father for him) because he called out his now elderly victimizers, and my two younger siblings shrug their shoulders to it all, I would like to follow your lead and set the story straight. There is a pedophile named Ted Morris living in Temple, Texas who abused all of his children in so many ways that lives with an enabler who still supports him, named Jeannie Morris. Keep as far away from them as possible.

January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStirling

I'm very glad that you spoke up for yourself and in support of your sisters. Sometimes speaking out can be very cleansing. I've done it for years.

One thing I never understood was the concept of a statute of limitations on crimes like incest, sexual assault, etc. In Canada, there is no such thing. There is only the difference in prosecution laws delineated at 1982, when the Criminal Code of Canada was changed. There is no longer rape, and there is no differentiation between male and female victims. There are only degrees of sexual assault. Pre-1982 is somewhat different and tend to be very difficult to prosecute because of the language of the law. That doesn't say that they aren't though. They are. As well. The police investigate any allegation of sexual assault of a child, regardless of the time since the crime.

When I reported my brother to the police, it was so much of a relief. My Dad kept saying that I was out for revenge. Perhaps I was, to a degree. What I really wanted was vindication that I'd been victimized, that a crime was committed and an outside force would see it for what it was. That was most important for me. I would have gone through with a prosecution, if that was to be. It wasn't. That's ok, too. It was investigated, the Crown Prosecutor looked at the tape and the investigator's notes and said that, though he was certain a crime had been committed, he couldn't prosecute because of lack of evidence and that they weren't able to find my brother to get his side. I had my vindication in that small letter written to the police officer that he read to me over the phone.

I hope your father is eventually prosecuted. Too many get away with a lifetime of using up children without consequence.

January 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi

You are SO STRONG. Wow. You have done a great service to victims everywhere by bravely posting all of this publicly. I hope other victims will follow suit and make others more aware of these kinds of crimes.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKim Carver

I am so sorry for your terrible experience. Thank you for speaking up.

Sadly, the Air Force's response is standard for them. Many years ago my husband (active duty AF at the time) and I became aware of the pedophilic behavior of a young lieutenant we sponsored. We contacted the OSI. Instead of prosecuting him, he was simply discharged. He went back to his hometown and lived his life. We know he didn't change. :-(

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTara Lee

I would love to have the pleasure of killing this man! I was also sexually abused as a child but so small i bArely remember the first time!

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

There is no statute of limitations in Alaska.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBob Frye

God Bless you for sharing your story.

Offenders should never roam freely and the fact that the military let this man go is disgusting.

You are so brave and full of courage and you should be so proud of yourself. I hope justice finds this man who does not deserve the term father, but rather pervert. I will pray for his day when he meets his maker.

Jessica

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

It is like you wrote the story of my life. I've been feeling guilty my whole life in knowing that my father had been allowed to continue his sick perverse lifestyle because I was afraid to speak up. My sister tried to speak up but it was all for nothing. I know that there are girls out there that have been hurt by him and someday I want to write an article like this to help them and let them know that they are not alone and that I'm sorry that I was not strong enough to end this horrible cycle. I never left him alone with my children. He would ask and I would tell him he knew why he could not be alone with them and he would nod his head and not ask for a while. Whenever I heard he was going to be alone with a girl (THIS HAPPENED A LOT) I would make it a point to be there with them the whole day. He hated me for that I think but the kids were always happy I was there. I can only take comfort in the fact that on a day that he was alone with one of his "favorite" girls he hurt himself and the wound never healed properly and his leg had to be amputated. The infection never stopped and he died from it. My dad was dead. People felt bad for me saying how sad it was that I was only in my twenties and I had lost my dad. It was a huge relief. I stood over his newly dead body and told him I forgave him for everything, but today only ten years later, I know this is a lie and I will never forgive anything that he has done to me, my sisters and to all the little girls that Big G was trusted with. I forgave my mother a long time ago because she knew and divorced him because she knew but yet let her little girl go on unsupervised visitation with him. She couldn't believe that he would hurt me, his biological daughter (My sisters were from a previous marriage). I know his family knew and continued to let him have access to there children. I can't look any of them in the face anymore and have chosen a life without them. Today I look in the mirror and see the broken little girl that is left. I look in the mirror and see the woman that is the spitting image of the man that hurt her, I try not to look in the mirror too much.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlost girl

Hugs!!! The silent ones hear yours and your families cry!!! Say it!!! Tell it!!!! Release it!!! God will judge him AND your mom!

I want to ask what church was this...I think I already know.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHugs

Thank you for the courage and the willingness to tell the story. Blessings to you. You have made the world a little safer for others.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLarry

Have you thought about flyering his neighborhood and place of employ with information about who he really is and what he had done? If you can't prosecute him, you can at least make his work and community aware of what he had done.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterconcerned

It is very brave of you to share your story with the world. It gives me hope.
Honestly besides my sister, I have never met anyone else whose sexual abuser was their father. I believe that's because our society doesn't often talk about it. I gave up trying to press charges on my father at as a teen. After my original attempt at 6yrs old failed.
My father is also an unregistered unprosecuted sex offender. I can understand your guilt as well, because I could not get charges pressed against him, he is free to molest any child left trusted to him.
The best I do to cope, is to try and forget it ever happened. I cannot protect other children, I don't even know where he lives. I know one thing for sure, and it's what hurts the most. He's some place with access to children.
I wish you all the best in your fight, and I hope its one you win.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Christ

Thank you for sharing, somewhere and somehow this makes a difference.

I work with young victims and my heart breaks for them. Over Christmas I had to work so hard with one of my victim's moms who was set on having the father (the perp) spend Christmas with them. She really seemed to think letting him be involved and buy presents was more important to her girls' happiness than keeping him out of the house (because she wasn't sure that "it" happened)--the youngest was trying to show mom in so many ways she didn't want him there but her words said, "it's ok". Thank goodness she listened and after he was gone the 5 year old told mom, "dad did do it".

We can't change the past but we can be the kind of adults who listen to kids, who believe it's better to err on the side of the child because molesters lie, it's what they do. I hope you find peace and if possible, justice too.

Recently a six year old I work with testified in court, she was awesome and when he was found guilty and sentenced to +25 years, two adult victims talked about their guilty feelings in not coming forward. I don't blame them, they were only six years old. Our little survivor was fortunate to not only be awesomely brave but to have a mother who without question listened to her daughter and put her kids first no matter what (which meant certian hardships).

Most of the young victims I work with have mothers who were victims (I don't call themsurvivors because they hadn't yet dealt with the abuse). Good luck with your healing. Your therapy and healing helps lower the chance your daughter(s) becomes a victim or even worse-a victim without an advocate.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSunnyJane

The courage it took you to write this is well...I have no words. I'm angry at the officials that asked you as a child if you wanted to press charges. (?!) It was my understanding that any inkling of this going on and the criminal justice system investigates and pursues on their own (of course with as much help from the victim as possible.) You are a strong woman, not only for posting this but in being able to keep moving on. Hang in there.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTina

I feel your pain. But God has done so much healing for me in that area and he continues. God is my true friend,parent and protector.. I now know he loves me and was just as horrified that his child had to go thru this but he held my hand and helped me walk thru the pain. PTL

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNelly

You are in the right path. Hopefully one day justice will come!

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

Charlotte, I'd like to reprint your post on my website. I think I can get it a lot of attention. You can email me at tiff@liberalamerica.org.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTiff

sorry for your pain. awed by your courage. thank you.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

bless your sweet 13-year-old self for keeping that journal ("keeping" both as in "writing" and as in "preserving"). i have a lifetime of journals that i turn to sometimes to re-introduce myself to a younger me. i'm grateful to have that record of my life. you were so smart to document that event. i assume you had no idea that your diary could be such an important resource for you to confirm and validate something that might sometimes be hard to believe.

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlisa

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