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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)

In the Uk now, child abusers from the 1960s to the 1980s are under prosecution, and similar events are taking place here in Australia. Why is there a statute of limitations in the US? Who does that benefit?

January 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Wilkins

I posted this to the Taos News FB page and it was taken down almost immediately.

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Hi Charlotte, I wanted to let you know out of concern for you, and concern for fellow New Mexico residents, I wrote the mayor of Taos. This is his response :)

Ms. Schmidt,


Thank you for your email. I apologize for the late reply. Please know that I contacted our chief of police today and told him to look into this. Cheif Weaver determined that this is within the county jurisdiction. Therefore either the county sheriffs department or the New Mexico State police would be the lead agency to investigate this. Although this is outside the municipal boundaries and out of our jurisdiction, and since I do consider this a very serious issue, I did ask our police chief to offer our assistance to the Taos county sheriffs department and or the New Mexico State police Thank you.


Regards,


Darren Cordova

Mayor-Town of Taos

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Schmidt

I can honestly say I can RELATE to all you have been thur, I was abused for FIVE years by a step father and i use that term LOOSELY....I can sympathize with your pain and desperation. I am a grown woman now with grown children and have grandbabies and just last year I discovered the "MONSTER" died...It dreaded up all the old memories and pain because I was so ANGRY this man lived to be in his 70s and i had lost my mother (who did leave him) at the time 13yrs previous....I will keep you in my prayers and continue to be strong....Your story will def touch many and if it saves ONE person from the pain "WE" both have endured then you have done your job and rest easy!!! Prayers with you always!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTina

You are so brave! Thank you for giving hope and inspiration to all of us who have gone through similar things. You are such an inspiration!

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarla

Thank you for your courage. You have given me the courage to come out and tell my story. Not sure how soon but it is about someone in Taos that is praised as a hero in the news paper.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterfreedom of fear

I just did a quick prayer for thanks, but I shouldn't have to.. I did it instinctually, thanking God this kind of abuse hasn't fallen on my own siblings. But I hate that I did it. I hate that I feel the immediate need to pray for something so heinous as this. This.. this shouldn't have happened to anyone.

And you're right; it IS too common. My own grandfather and his siblings were abused like this and it makes me sick just thinking about the faceless name that I never want to know hurting my amazingly kind aunts and uncles. I can't imagine the grief you're family has endured.

But I do know the feeling of guilt. My parents separated a couple of years ago, right as I was leaving for college. My brother was 11, and the twins were 4. I felt so guilty leaving them in my parent's emotional mess, wrought with all of my father's lies, and my mother's allowances. Especially when I grew up with a much more wholesome childhood, something that they'll never have. But they are so resilient, and honestly, they handle my parents better than I do...

And I know the magnitude doesn't compare, but I feel like I at least know enough guilt to appreciate your situation, and to remind myself that the world shouldn't just let these people walk on by; that they've done wrong, and they need to satisfy the consequences for those wrongs... no matter how many rights they've also done.

I hope you're doing well now. I hope your siblings are too. But most of all, I hope you can let go of your guilt. I, myself, can't seem to give it up, but I know it's eating at my mental health everyday that I don't. Instead I try to think of my brothers and sister, and how much love I get from them, and how they give me so much more to be thankful for. I may not be able to take back my guilt for leaving them just yet, but everyday that I talk to them or see them is another reason to try.

I may not like the reason for the prayer, but I'm praying none the less. I'm praying for you, Charlotte. I'm praying for your family. And most of all, I'm praying for the day this abuse will just be history.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCamille

Thank you for posting this, a reminder we are not alone in our journey as survivors of sexual abuse.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany Cameron

I posted this on my facebook page and am about to post it on tumblr.

January 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersouthwer

Charlotte,

My heart breaks for you and your family members who were abused by your father. I highly encourage you to fill out a petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/create_start.html?source=ads.ck.mop.gs.g07.a03 and send it out to the millions who will support you. Many individuals have garnered the support of thousands and even millions to get their cause noticed and addressed. Good luck.

January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEileen

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea what your honesty and openness mean.

February 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKeilie

As I read this I couldn't help to feel a pain in my chest.
It just breaks my heart how unfair life is sometimes.
But you're strong, and now you will use that pain that once ate you inside out to help others.
-J

February 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJackiie Cano

Hello,
my name is Melissa, from U K, and I want to express my gratitude for the extensive work you have done over the past week. It was a pleasant feeling a lot of warmth and peace flowed through to me I believe. I felt immediately calmer when the you cast the magic spell and the feeling stayed with me through-out the next couple of weeks. I wish to convey that I have received my results this morning. I was shy to return the talisman to nature and I must tell you I could feel a pulse from it. Or a slow rhythmic juddering. A vibration even, to the extent I can hold it; and I feel the imprint of the vibration in my hand when I take it out again, as this is my first ever experience doing anything like this I feel the need to record every moment of it. I look forward to the next chapter in this my spell and help work.Prophet Lord you are the best i will always be great-full to you. solutionoflovespelltemple@gmail.com

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I found by the end of reading this both my teeth and fists were clenched. I'm so angry at so many people who failed you that I can hardly stay in my skin right now. I've worked as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) as a sworn officer of the court as a voice for abused and molested children in the foster case system so I've read more case files on molestation than I care to recall. The deepest sadness is that this is so typical. I had a case, a 6 year old girl, who had vaginal herpes but because both parents had herpes the court could not prove, "BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT" (I grew to hate that phrase) which parent had been the perpetrator so therefore could not prosecute and eventually, no matter how loud I screamed and yelled, returned this 6 year old "baby" back to that house of torture.

But this reminds me that we must keep fighting for the children we can save and help. Maybe we won't get them all but there is great power in the people.

I wish there was a way to share this story on my FB site. If you ever put it in a forum where that's possible let me know. People will read it and share it, and share it and more people will read it and share it and so on and so on. It works. Ask O.J.

The voice of the people can work - but people need to know about it. As many as possible. This scares me for every child living in Taos because they are at risk from this predator who sadly is your father. You deserved so much more and so much better. You really did.

I took a good long look at your father's face because if I ever run into him I'll be the first to tell him. That first time? He changed who you would become in that instant he changed your forever.

BTW your sister is taking back her power. IT won't change what happened but for every step she can take towards taking control takes any power she gave him as a child, away. It's wonderful you are supporting her even though it's a painful process for you. That's true love.

April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTerri

I respect your honesty.

Time to stop. Time to move forward.

What you've said is absolutely perfect.

April 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe - babynizle

Charlotte, thank you.

Randy Scott Linville - also an unregistered sex offender, including raping grown women in addition to molesting his daughters. I don't know where he lives but he is a harmful, harmful man.

You're right - we can't stay silent. We should start a website where we can just list the names of our abusers. I wish, I wish.

Thank you, Charlotte.

July 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGloria

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