September 12, 2018 1:41pm
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Last night I spent more time than I’d like to admit browsing the Florida Sex Offender Registry.

Normally I’m not one to watch this thing like a hawk anytime someone new moves into the neighborhood, but we’ve got a handful of people coming to the house for therapy for the kids so it seemed like a good idea.

Thankfully, everyone checked out on that front just fine.

That said, afterwards I felt inclined to follow-up on an old (former) friend of mine who a couple of years ago apparently got busted for being in possession of child porn, and also creating it. (???)

As far as I knew, he’d lost his mid-level job with the military and got sent to prison. I honestly hadn’t talked to the guy in over a decade, so it was more of a shock than anything else, and then last night I stumbled upon a court document in which I guess he’s arguing a bunch of legal details on how it was handled…

…and inside, it also contained the legal review of the original video that had been taken…

…and words just don’t even describe my reaction.

I don’t know if it’s because now I have kids of my own that it feels even more heinous than it did originally, but I can’t imagine someone taking that kind of advantage of a kid … in this case, from what I’ve been able to discern, his own teenage daughter.

Reading through the text, and how he coerced her into what they did, I guess all I can say is that it most certainly wasn’t the same person who I was friends with as a teenager myself … who I worked at scout camp with and went to concerts with. It’s been about 20 years since those times, so I suppose that people change, and sometimes those changes cement the reminders why they’re not a part of your life anymore.

There was the friend who I knew since grade school that I had to block on Facebook because he had grown into a severe religious homophobe.

There was the uncle who had always been fun growing up, but in his later years wanted to argue about literally everything with a particularly conservative and often ugly set of views.

One thing that surprised me when I was browsing the registry was not only just how many offenders lived within a 5-mile radius of my cozy, little suburban neighborhood, but how many had gotten in trouble for offenses relating to kids. Some got busted for attempting to do something horrible with a minor and others for actually doing it.

Hell, last fall our kids’ pediatrician got busted in a prostitution sting here in a neighboring county!

I guess the point is, regardless of a history that you have with someone, you have to remain vigilant to those closest to you. I don’t think anyone ever expects something like that to happen. All you can really do is shake your head and think, “Thank god we didn’t keep in better touch.” 

It’s a little sad because I’ll never forget seeing Aerosmith with him from the second row as Steven Tyler twirled his mike stand over our seventeen year old heads. Or all of our shenanigans in scouts together. In fact, he was the one sitting in the passenger seat when I wrecked my sports car the same summer that I bought it.

But we were different then.

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