My fellow journalists and I are in a somewhat shocked state tonight after we were reluctantly required to report the story of a former co-worker and long-time friend who stands accused of multiple counts of lewd molestation of minor children.
Normally when we report on events such as these, the accused involved are strangers, and as such are easy to dismiss as monsters and perverts. We almost universally regard child molesters as one-dimentional sub humans. This dismissal protects us by creating distance and alienation. The less they are like us, the less likely evil is among us.
The man accused in this case is not a stranger, and in our interaction with him, he was not an alien monster. He was a friend, who we repeatedly featured in our newspaper and magazine. I was always glad to see him, and he was glad to see me. He was intelligent and well-spoken. I guess that’s what nags at me tonight. In my life, he was a good man. How can such obviously wrong acts come from such an apparently good man, a man who is without any doubt able to distinguish good from evil?
I told my friend Ann, who is also a journalist, about it, and she said she couldn’t believe it. Later she texted me, “In total shock”, “Watched channel 9 news, still in shock” and “Just can’t believe it.”
Am I wrong to believe that humans are sentient, and as such can easily chose right from wrong? Am I being naive? Or is there really in all of us what my friend David calls “the dark fucker”? Are we all just one terrible temptation away from evil?
I don’t know if the accusations against this man are valid. Hopefully the justice system will lay bare the truth. But tonight, we are in shock.