Everyday I open a chest of broken glass that represents the twelve years of my brother in federal prison. I seek to summon humanity from the despair of a system that has drained Rick’s life and left him unable to even feed himself. I continually hear a conversation we had nearly a dozen years ago. “I never did what they said I did,” he sobbed. “I would never have done anything like that.” I believed him and I still do. “We’ll appeal it, Rick,” I told him. “We’ll get you out! We’ll get you out, Rick. You hear me?!”
I’ve been asked how I can be so certain he’s innocent. I know my brother. He’s not perfect and he has a temper, but there is no way he raped his step-daughter. She claims it was every week, two and three times a week between 6 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. The truth has never been fully told, but I live with the hope that someday it will be brought to light. I became a private investigator for my brother. I believe in his innocence and believe teenagers lie to get attention and manipulate the system.
I was rereading a Facebook message I received some time ago from a gentlemen who claims he was sexually molested. He wrote regarding my brother that “it was clear something happened.” He’s never met my brother nor does he know the timeline of the accusations. He based his statement primarily from events in his own life. I understand that. Whenever I hear news that someone has been accused of child molestation now I never fully believe it because I know how easy it is to make that claim. “It’s clear something happened…” Not just something, dear sir, if we are to believe the so-called victim it should be EXACTLY as they swore in court. If it’s not exactly as the alleged victim swore then you diminish the true testimony from those who have been subjected to such a heinous crime.
If my brother had robbed a bank, murdered someone, or broke into a store the prosecution would have to provide evidence against him. Eye witnesses, DNA, motive, opportunity…an accusation of child molestation requires none of those things. Just the voice of an alleged victim. No lawyer will take a case to court where they will be forced to grill a teenager about their character, the lies they’ve previously told, or the number of other people they have accused of such a criminal act. The majority of time when a person is accused of child molestation they can’t hire a lawyer to represent them because a good attorney is smart enough to recognize the problems inherent in attaching themselves to such a case. That’s in part what makes this kind of accusation so brilliant. There’s very little anyone can do.
The law is not about truth. It was about negotiation, amelioration, manipulation. I tried to tell a woman that a couple of days ago who came to me asking to help her brother. She believed her brother to be innocent too. It’s hard to accept the truths about accusations of child molestation because it doesn’t fit the scenario we’ve grown up to believe watching movies and television. Lawyers are supposed to fight for their clients and do everything they can to prove their case, but that’s not how it happens.
Protestations of innocence fall on deaf ears. The best to be hoped for is that maybe what’s good gets a little bit better and maybe what’s bad gets gone. Some of the bad I foolishly hope will get gone are the abusive emails I receive from people who can’t distinguish fighting for my brother and “championing people who rape children.” I recently I received an email that read “I’m sorry you wasted your life fighting for a sick molester! You must be one too, you c__t.”
To avoid the kinds of remarks I get on a regular basis I’d have to give up writing about what has happened. I won’t do that. I believe my brother. Even after all this time and having endured all Rick has he still says, “Sis, I didn’t do it.” I’ve dedicated a big chunk of my life to this case and have reviewed everything from medical records to recorded phone calls and know his step-daughter is not telling the truth.
So, bring on the emails. I’m not going anywhere and I’m not giving up. Long after they wheel my brother’s body out of the penitentiary I’ll still be proclaiming his innocence and speaking out against anyone who fabricates stories about such a serious offense.