I Didn’t Believe

I didn’t believe.
God help me, I didn’t believe.

It was a normal stressed out Wednesday. I was getting ready to go home for supper and take a break before services when the phone rang. I heard the words, “something’s happened and it’s bad.”

Before the evening was through, a professional counselor would tell us she believed Cole had been molested.

A handicapped young man.
Wheelchair bound.
Totally dependent.
Mentally deficient.
Molested (and worse) at the hands of a seventy year-old man.

On our part, there was tears, anger, hurt, and confusion.

How could this be?
How could such a thing happen?

And then my distorted view of reality kicked in.
No way.
Not possible.
There has to be some kind of mistake.
Cole is just confused. He has no idea of such things.

I didn’t believe.
God help me, I didn’t believe.

How could I?
How could I suspend disbelief and even think such a thing was possible?

I know these things happen all the time. I know that sick perversions warp, hurt, and do damage to a degree we may never fully comprehend.

All the time.
In situations and places where kids ought to be safe.

I know this intellectually, but emotionally, I still find it hard to wrap my mind around such a thing. It makes no sense to me at all.

I didn’t believe.
God help me, I didn’t believe.

While we had lots of lively arguments and discussions at my house during those early days of discovery and comprehension, I was still determined to support my son. The disbelief of others made me incredibly angry.

And yet,
I didn’t believe.
God help me, I didn’t believe.

Before you judge me, hear me out.
I didn’t believe, not because I distrusted or doubted my son.

I was a Daddy who loved his boy with all that I was or could ever hope to be. Still do.
I didn’t believe because I didn’t want to.
Would you?

Who could want to believe such a horrible thing? I would much rather Cole be confused or even dishonest than to be forced into believing such horrible things had happened to him under my watch.

I didn’t want to believe because I didn’t want it to be true.

But, God help us, it was true and I had to believe.

You need to believe too.
You need to believe that there are sick evil people in this world who prey on the helpless, the innocent.
You need to believe there are those who will go to any measure to infiltrate the lives of good people in order to fulfill their wicked desires.

When it does happen to someone you know, please be sure to understand that how you handle the knowledge can have a lasting effect.

I didn’t believe.
God help me, I didn’t believe.

But I believe now.
And that belief will ever be vigilant for the predators among us.

If you or your church are interested in a conversation along these lines, please let me know.

Les Ferguson, Jr.

It Has To Stop

You must meet Clara Hinton.

She is a wife and mother.
She is also a former preacher’s wife.

Her husband is serving hard time for child molestation.
At least 23 counts.
Over at least a 40 year time frame.

He was a preacher.
A trusted man.
A loved man.
A believable man.

At the same time, he was a purveyor of a consummate evil.
He betrayed those who entrusted him.
He used the Bride of Christ as avenue to perpetuate a horror far to great to even try and comprehend.

You simply must meet Clara Hinton. She is on the front lines… she has had an experience of evil that is all to common. She has a first hand knowledge of how those who prey on children work.

To ignore her is dangerous.

On her blog she tells the story of her experiences. Just a little bit of reading will catch you up to where she is in sharing this strange journey. Her wisdom is compelling.

As one who has had the evil of molestation invade and destroy, let me make you a most solemn promise: You want to do everything you can to avoid, evade, and stop molesters.

It is an evil that has a lasting impact.

Here are two things Clara Hinton says in her latest blog post:

Pedophiles are liars and manipulators on every level. Playing people as puppets delights them. They are masters of deception and they know how to take total control.

Pedophiles are conniving, manipulating, deceitful liars who work hard to harm our children. It’s time for us to open our eyes wide and stop this horrendous cycle of abuse!!!

Please take the time to listen to her and her son, Jimmy. He too is writing and sharing information we need.

I don’t know how much speaking and teaching I will get to do on the subject, but I plan to educate as much as possible–it is another way to honor those I have lost as a result of this pervasive horror.

And guys, if I might add one more thing or make one more suggestion, it would be this: trust the instincts of your wife. Even if you have to apologize later, you will be better off doing that than living with the results if she was right and you did not honor the threat she perceived.

Been there and doing that. In that regard, don’t be like me!

God bless and have a happy Lord’s Day tomorrow!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

What Molesters Do

What do molesters do?

That’s a seriously good question with major implications.

What do molesters do?

Please don’t freak out on me or get all squeamish. This isn’t about the actual molesting. You’ll get no prurient details from me this day.

Obviously molesters do lots of ugly nasty things. But outside of the ugly and separate from the nasty that actually makes them molesters, it’s important to know what they do.

My new friend, Jimmy Hinton can probably help us better understand the process child molesters go through in selecting, grooming, and manipulating their victims and their families.

But make no mistake, I can easily see with hindsight the inroads Paul Buckman made into our lives and the life of the Orange Grove church. I remember with crystal clear clarity how he played my family’s difficult situation into being the hero of the hour–our helper straight from the hands of God Himself.

Even now it makes me sick to remember how easy it was–how desperate we were for help and relief.

To call it easy is a seriously major understatement.

Cole had a difficult existence. By the time Paul Buckman entered our lives, he was completely wheelchair bound. He took narcotics three times a day for severe leg and muscle pain. Moving from the wheelchair to the van and then the van to the wheelchair again was a painful process. Add to the fact that he was a homebody, and, well, anytime we needed to go somewhere was fraught with hardship and difficulty.

In the meantime, Cole had an upper body strength that was astounding. If he didn’t want to go somewhere (which was most of the time unless it was Sunday morning worship), he fought. If he grabbed you, he was not letting go.

Consequently there were many times when one of us stayed home with Cole. We needed help. Paul Buckman volunteered with a grandfather’s enthusiasm to sit with Cole every Wednesday afternoon–clearing a timeframe where both parents could be out of the house doing whatever we needed to do.

If that wasn’t bad enough, our molester/ murderer also divided the church. Long before the murders of October 10, 2011, he was helping foster the murder of relationships.

Because he loudly and publicly proclaimed his innocence, he contributed to the death of commonsense.

Instead of reporting the criminal accusations (which turned out to be far worse than even our imaginations could conceive) I should have–as it was pointed out to me quite angrily and forcibly–gone to Paul Buckman and worked it out with him.

If it wasn’t so sickening, it would be laughable.

And yes, a few folks left the church over the way we involved the law. Others began a campaign of innuendo and slander.

Let me be fair. Most members of the church were very supportive. But, it only took an extremely small, tiny minority to swallow Paul Buckman’s lies… and those few made life even harder.

The point of all this isn’t to make you feel sorry for me or my family. Not at all. The past is the past–and even though the past extends to the future, we are marching on with determination.

However, there is a point. When churches are invaded by those who would do great bodily and emotional harm, church members have to unite. The offenders will do anything to persuade and deflect and turn public opinion in their favor. As that happens, more harm is being inflicted on the victims and their families.

Believe me, there is a loneliness in that situation that boggles the mind.

What do molesters do?
They destroy lives, futures, families, churches, and ministries.

Be vigilant.
Stay strong.
Protect the children.

They deserve that and more.

Thanks for reading, sharing, and commenting. Let me know if I can help you or your church/group!

Les Ferguson, Jr.

No More Molesters

Yesterday was very productive. I wrote and sent a bio. I wrote and sent a book proposal to three different people. I asked another if He might be interested.

Now I wait. Very impatiently.

In the mean time, there is something I want to share…

In the aftermath of Cole’s molestation and multiple rapes, I was beside myself with guilt.

How could I have not known?
How could I have not seen?
Why didn’t I protect my child better?

Did I say guilt? Absolutely. I still find plenty of opportunities to beat myself up over my failures.

And then, after Karen and Cole were murdered, more guilt, more self-recrimination throbbed like a smashed thumbnail throughout my psyche and my soul.

This isn’t, by the way, about having you massage my guilt away or somehow make me feel less like a failure.

The truth is a bitter pill to swallow. When it counted most, I failed.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not wallowing in pity. There were plenty of signs for me to see–there was ample evidence to have helped me grasp what was going on. But, I have since learned that child molesters are very smart and controlling people. They are manipulators who groom both their victims and those around them. They play masterfully on our preconditioned desire to trust–especially when we are needing help.

When we looked at Paul Buckman, we saw a kindly, grandfatherly man who loved us, loved Cole, and wanted to help ease a burden. We were ecstatic. That’s exactly what we were supposed to see and feel.

I will always believe Paul Buckman could have been stopped–should have been stopped. So somehow, someway, we have to find a way to protect our children. Even in churches. Especially in churches. We cannot allow a fear of conflict to hinder us from saying or telling what needs to be said. Especially for our children.

The very place we want to trust the most is an easy playing field for the stalkers among us.

I’d like to introduce you to a couple of blogs–http://jimmyhinton.org and http://www.findingahealingplace.com. These are important. The writers know first hand what it means to live with a predator.

The first blog is written by a preacher (Jimmy Hinton) who was also a preacher’s son.
The second blog is written by a woman who was a preacher’s wife (Clara Hinton).
Was is the operative word.

Together, they lived with a preacher husband/ father who is now in jail for being a child molester. A predator who went undetected for over 40 years.

Can you imagine the horror?
And yet, even having lived through my own hell, I still have trouble imagining how much and how often our children are destroyed by this pervasive evil.

It’s way beyond time to say no more. I am looking forward to hearing more of Jimmy and Clara’s story–not because I revel in ugliness, but because we must wade through it in order to stop it!

Standing up for children is everybody’s business!

Can I get an Amen?

Les Ferguson, Jr.