A few years ago a monster was reveled to be among people I knew and hung out with for years. Bruce was sexually molesting the children of those who knew and trusted him. This had been going on for years. Eventually one of the kids became old enough and strong enough to let people know what was going on. Then the true horror came out as family after family realized they had let this monster have access to their children. And the questions started, did he do anything to my child or children. Unfortunately the answer was yes. (Not my kids because we did not let them baby-sit or be alone with them)
So people did the right thing (or not) they let him live and put him in jail. That was not the end of it. There are countless children, some are teenagers now, dealing with what was done with them, who statistically will either become victims or abusers if they cannot get the help they need. The parents are still dealing with the guilt that they let this happen. The guilt destroyed relationships, families and marriages. The guilt and anger ate away at them.
A large group of people literally fell apart. Years of friendship and experiences all became tainted by one man. The local SCA group (the hobby group they all belonged to) became associated in the minds of many with this man and what he did to the children of his friends. People stopped being a part of the SCA because now the people in it and the events they went to reminded them of Bruce. Even people who did not have children molested by him pulled away. Everyone was thinking, how come I did not see this, what could I have done, how did I let those children down?
His family had to deal with the guilt and shame. Though his sister and her husband publicly supported him and still feel he should be let back into the SCA. Not going to happen, they know what he is now. However this has caused a lot of conflict and destroyed quite a few friendships. The fact that they are both still part of the SCA group is part of the reason why so many have left it.
Then there is Bruce’s wife. She said she knew nothing about this side of him and divorced him as soon possible. She feels guilt for not seeing through him, and the fact that he was using her to get to more kids. They were babysitting a lot. She lost a lot of friends even though people said they knew she had nothing to do with it. She was still his wife. People could not be around her and not think of him. She has tried to move on and is in a new relationship but is still being affected by what he did. It did not help that Bruce and his lawyer tried to say that she was supporting him to try and get a lighter sentence. People who heard the lawyer say it in court are having a hard time getting past that even though she said it was a lie. No mater what she does now she has been tainted by the brush of Bruce and even years later feels as if she has to defend herself, that she did not know what he was doing and did not support him.
People are still dealing with what Bruce did years later. He gets out of jail next year and I am sure people will still be dealing with the aftereffects for years to come. It says something when the aftereffects outlast his jail time. I don’t think he was sentenced for enough time. Though I am not sure if there is going to be enough time for the children and their families. The question now is; where is he going to get his next victim? Someone who did this for years is not someone who is going to change or stop. He is just going to find another source of children and the cycle starts again.