On one of the segments of one of the many “funniest video” programs on television the comedy took place at a wedding reception. The happy couple were enjoying all the customs associated with a reception; sharing a glass of champagne, dancing, cutting the cake, and preparing for the tradition of the groom removing the garter off his bride and tossing it to the men attending the festivities. The so-called funny part of this video was that the best man had blindfolded the groomsmen before he removed the garter from his bride’s leg. The groom was to fumble around in order to remove the lacy item. What he didn’t know was that the groomsmen had replaced the bride with the bride’s nineteen year old sister. Everyone around, including the bride laughed hysterically at the silly groom as he groped the young woman he believed was his wife. The groom was stopped before things got too out of hand and he was thoroughly embarrassed once the blindfold was removed. After all, he thought the woman was his bride. He didn’t know until someone told him he was making a mistake.
No child molestation accusations were made. The teenager could have pressed charges. She was underage and although she was laughing, she was clearly uncomfortable by what the groom was doing and what he would have done had she not told him who she was and the blindfold been removed.
One particularly stormy, summer night in Missouri my teenage nieces crawled in bed with my brother. It was the dead of night and my brother was asleep. Thinking that his ex-wife was in bed with him, he rolled over and put his arm around one of my nieces. Although the story about how and why my nieces crawled in bed with their father changed significantly from one telling to the next, one of my nieces claimed she was molested by my brother. At no time did she wake my brother and say something like “Dad, it’s me. Your daughter! The thunder scared me and I got in bed with you.”
When I spoke with my niece about this matter several years ago and brought up the fact that it was late and my brother probably thought she was his ex-wife my niece responded with, “So what! The fact is he touched me where he shouldn’t have.” My niece claims to have been too afraid to wake my brother up. Waking him up would have been the right thing to do! The kind and decent thing to do! Just like removing the blindfold off the groom’s eyes was the right thing. Stopping the groom was the right thing to do because he didn’t know. That didn’t make him a child rapist, nor did what happened with my brother and his oldest daughter make him a child rapist.
Too bad there wasn’t a camera trained on the action, it might have made the cut on one of the countless “funniest video” programs on television.
What isn’t funny is how this incident contributed to my brother’s early demise. What isn’t funny is how unaffected his daughter is for her part in it all.
I was recently sent a photograph of what my brother looked like after he was beaten and raped. The prison sent me part of his file because I have his power-of-attorney. Rick’s face was swollen, and bruised, the blood pouring out of the wounds on his cheeks, neck, and forehead saturated the dirty-white pillow his severely injured head was laying on. A single tube ran from his nose to the I-V standing next to the hospital bed. I didn’t know it was him at first. I couldn’t see him through all the blood. I live with that image in my mind. I see it when I try to sleep.
Rick’s birthday is November 15. I miss him. I hurt for him and although I forgive the people responsible for what happened because that’s what God requires, I will not forget. I cry for my brother everyday and I will not be quiet about what happened to him. I will shout to the world the injustice that has been done and I’ll proudly own everything I write about him. My name and what I write and have written about this case is not hidden in some # or amusing password. Only cowards at keyboards do that.
I’ll see you in heaven, Rick.