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Case Closed

My situation could have been far worse than it was and because it wasn’t, it is sometimes viewed as not being “that bad.” However, for me, what made it “that bad” was that, one, I wasn’t believed and two, the case was closed before it was even open because of his occupation.

I was sexually assaulted when I was 11, several months shy of my 12th birthday. I was well-developed for my age and although I looked older, I was still a child. A friend, who was a year younger, and I were walking across our elementary school parking lot one afternoon as we took a walk around the block; we were literally just around the corner from our homes in a safe and wonderful neighborhood. The lot faced a fairly busy street and had 2 ways to get in and out.

A turquoise car pulled into the lot and pulled up close to us. The driver said he needed directions. I was standing closer to the driver’s window and I gave him the directions. He reached out to point toward the direction I gave and then grabbed me, pulling me closer to the car and began roughly fondling my breasts. I remember it hurt. We began screaming as loud as we could and he sped away, but not before I had presence enough of mind to get his tag number. We then ran toward the front door of the school.

The teachers were not there, but the principal was in the building and knew both of us well. When she heard our screams, she came running and then called the police and both moms. We had a description…it was a turquoise car (just a “plain kind of car” was the way I described it), the driver was youngish, had dark brown hair and piercing blue eyes. His pants were unzipped, he was exposed and he was masturbating. We both saw that.

The police investigator and the officers who responded to the call came to visit me and my mother several days later. They told us that they understood that it had been a very traumatic experience for me, but I had gotten the tag number wrong. My friend was never further questioned. The man who owned the car that went with the tag number I had given them was a well-respected family man and he had an alibi. Case closed.

I was positive that I had the tag number correct. My mother had a friend whose husband was a retired investigator and after she called her friend, the husband offered to look into it and he had gotten some information. The car that the tag belonged to was indeed a turquoise 4-door sedan. The owner was 34 years old, lived 20 miles west of where the incident took place, was married with 2 small children, was well-liked and well-respected in the community and…he was a cop. He also told us that it would never hold up in court. He said that they would say that I was only 11 and traumatized, as was my friend, and this man was a model husband, father and police officer who had an alibi. Case closed.

He gave my mother the address of this man and one afternoon, my mother, 2 grandmothers and I went out to see if the car was visible…my mother wanted to see if it was the same car I had remembered with the tag number I had gotten. It was. My mom had my grandmothers go up to the door and ask the man for some directions. I was in the back seat, sitting down as low as I could but still able to see. He stepped out on the stoop, they asked for some directions, which he gave them, and they left. I saw that man from where I was and knew it was him. My grandmothers had no idea about the blue eyes of the man who had grabbed me, but when they returned to the car they said that he was very pleasant and had given them the directions they needed. They also said that he had the most piercing steely blue eyes they had ever seen.

My friend and I had no idea this man was a police officer, we just knew he had done something very wrong and we also knew that our voices didn’t matter; the incident had simply been dismissed. In the big picture, it doesn’t matter what this man did for a living, he was a child molester who got away with it. But this man got away with it because of his job. Case closed.

I don’t know if he ever did this again. The name of the man is long gone out of my mind, so I can’t try to research him to see if anything else ever happened with anyone else. I often think of his little girl…did he do horrible things to her?

That incident is still with me and my friend and we talk about it occasionally.

I look at how it affected me, almost 50 years later…

I won’t wear a tank top out in public unless I have something on over it, like a sweater or an unbuttoned shirt/jacket. I had a tank top on that day.

I love shows like NCIS and Bones (when it was on). I still have trouble watching when the victim is a woman.

I’m about 30 lbs. overweight, just enough (in my mind) to not be found attractive by men.

Crazy what our mind does after a traumatic experience, even when others say it wasn’t “that bad.”

— Vanessa, age 59


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