I have had an unusual experience at work over the last few weeks that reached a sad climax yesterday.
Several weeks ago we received a young man (1 month shy of 18) who was held, because he had been interrupted while in the midst of either raping or molesting a 2 year old child. I don’t know the exact details of the case. This may sound goofy, but I never really look at why the children I work with are being held. Unless there is some sort of safety situation, I would rather not know. My job is to teach. I don’t get paid to judge people and would rather not muck around in the garbage so to speak.
I’m going to refer to this gentleman as A so that it is easier to write about him.
When A arrived, I was aware of some of the details concerning his case. This situation was definitly a safety issue. Sex offenders are pariahs within the correctional environment and become targets for all sorts of nastiness once the other residents figure out who they are. We did a good job hiding A’s problems from the other kids, but after two weeks the inevitable happened and one of the boys figured it out.
The sad part about them figuring it out was that A had sort of become a mascot for some of the other kids in the facility. Myself, the other teachers, and our mental health people had all become attached to him at that point. Before you become grossed out or outraged, let me explain A a bit more. Despite being almost 18 he had the mind of a 5 year old. He was not cognitively deficient in that he could not read or do academic work, but from a social and behavioral standpoint he was a small child. He had a strange personality that was an amalgamation of precocious curiosity, childlike friendliness, politeness, and a unique vulnerability that just cried out for parenting. He was sort of a target for some of the boys in the facility, because of his uniqueness, but other young men who had experienced family members with autism, etc. championed him. They kept him from being treated poorly and put up with his immaturity. I was proud of them. Then when the secret came out they turned on him too………….
Yesterday, they came and took A to court. Before they arrived, we were told to be extra observant concerning security issues, because there had been numerous threats made against A’s life. They fitted him with a bullet proof vest and away they went. I don’t know how things turned out for A. (Again, I don’t go fishing for info – just a part of how I compartmentalize my life) He may have been sent on in the adult system or released due to competency issues. Either way, that young man is in for a life of pain. Don’t get me wrong, he needs superivision and most likely ought to be held under some form of commitment, but I just can’t help feeling bad for him.
For me, there is a bigger issue with this case. What on earth was this kid doing alone with small children? I’m not trying to defend him, but the fact of the matter is that people who do not mature mentally will mature physically. They develop hormones and physical issues, but do not have the tools to understand or cope with them. A has issues, but had he been appropriately supervised this situation could have been avoided altogether.