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Aug 29 2012

Zero surprises

Another child-raping pedophile has been arrested: Caleb Hesse. He’s been busily raping little boys for 30 years.

He’s nobody famous, and his history is totally unsurprising.

An anti-gay activist and donor to California’s Proposition 8, 52-year-old Hesse was a teacher at the Morongo Unified School District who was recently teaching first grade at the Friendly Hills Elementary School.

According to KTLA, the incidents occurred mostly during Hesse’s overnight volunteer trips with the church. Hesse allegedly met many of his underage victims during these outings. Authorities believe the most recent crimes occurred as early as last week.

OK, teaching elementary school was unfortunate, but taking advantage of church trips to abuse children is weirdly typical. School administrators will stomp down hard on any offenses, but churches seem to have a far, far wider range of tolerance of adult male’s behavior.

I don’t understand how this works, though. Thirty years of screwing little boys, and no one noticed? Or more likely, no one cared enough to stop him?

39 comments

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  1. 1
    pmacgowan

    Here we go again, it so sad … how many more kids will be harmed before people start questioning their church leaders and demanding justice.

  2. 2
    saguhh00

    This video might be informative:

  3. 3
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Thirty years of screwing little boys, and no one noticed? Or more likely, no one cared enough to stop him?

    Third alternative: the kids never told because (a) they ‘knew’ it was their fault and didn’t want to be seen as feminine or gay; (b) they ‘knew’ that their word against a fine, upstanding member of the community would be worthless, and/or (c) they ‘knew’ they deserved it.

  4. 4
    Aliasalpha

    It probably took quite a lot of effort to not notice, especially over such a long time

  5. 5
    anubisprime

    30 years of noncing?
    Someone knew…guaranteed!…
    I wonder if they will be praying for the abused kiddies …or just the ‘good’ name of their bigoted evangelical scam.

  6. 6
    douglaslm

    This kind of thing is far more common than most people realize or want to admit. People never want to admit that child abuse takes place in their neighborhood. I my own experience the pastor that performed my wedding is currently serving 30 years for 108 counts of child abuse an rape of a minor. The minors were his own (adopted) children. The first response from the members of the church was disbelief (He was too good of a man to do that) and serious rationalizations. Even some conspiracy theory’s about how the “poor Pastor” was set up by the evil (insert evil person here). I even heard victim blaming, like it was the children’s fault.

  7. 7
    Bernard Bumner

    Well if history is anything to by, maybe all of the signs were there, but of course, good people like us don’t do things like that.

    (See also: He was a good man. He would do anything for anyone. He has his own little quirks, but don’t we all? It all seemed like innocent horseplay, but now everyone realises that it was predatory, paedophilic behaviour.)

  8. 8
    toro

    Authorities believe the most recent crimes occurred as early as last week.

    Sir, I trust you do not teach English classes?

  9. 9
    pacal

    Of course his crimes were ignored after all, he was against the evil Gey!! In the face of that what are a few raped children, or a lot. (Sarcasm!!!)

  10. 10
    chigau (違う)

    toro
    What is wrong with you?

  11. 11
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    What is wrong with you?

    Grammatical ambiguity is more important than children being raped. Anything to shift the subject away from children being raped, right, toro?

  12. 12
    sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f

    You’re a bit ridiculous. Pointing out a wrongly used word does not equate to dismissing the contextually surrounding issue, regardless of how much you might want to snark to that effect, perhaps in order to feel more like you have the moral high ground. No one is saying child rape is an unimportant problem, so stop making pointless objections.

  13. 13
    RFW

    @ #4 Aliasalpha says:

    It probably took quite a lot of effort to not notice, especially over such a long time

    It’s another side to the gullibility of the faithful. First side: belief in supernatural divinity, magic, etc. Second side: belief in their particular sect as The One and Only Church Possessing Truth. Third side: belief in the lies of the Rethuglicans about a great many subjects. Fourth side: belief in quack therapies, “alternative medicine”, “dietary supplements”, etc. Fifth side: Oh, he would never do a thing like that; he’s a man of God (etc etc etc ad nauseam). Sixth side: they fall for Nigerian 419 scam-spams. There are undoubtedly many other facets to their gullibility, but I’ve listed enough to make the general tendency clear.

  14. 14
    chigau (違う)

    sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f
    What is wrong with you?

  15. 15
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Pointing out a wrongly used word does not equate to dismissing the contextually surrounding issue . . . .

    Then why bring up the objection?

  16. 16
    quidam

    One major problem is that children often don’t report abuse. Frequently they feel guilty themselves, they don’t want the fuss or the stigma and they don’t want to be put in the position of having to describe and defend their charges and risk not being believed.

    I was assaulted by a scoutmaster (the other cliche) when I was 11, I stopped going, which surprised my father, since he was keen on scouting, but I never told anyone until I was an adult. I feel guilty about it now, since it’s very likely that he was assaulting other kids at the time and for years after.

    I had a good relation with my parents, and I knew at the time they would have been supportive, but I just wanted to put it behind me and not think about it.

    I don’t know how to get kids to talk about it. Telling tales on an adult – especially an authority figure such as a priest, teacher, coach or scoutmaster is very difficult. Many kids suffer through years of abuse and only blow the whistle when they learn about another kid being abused and they feel protective towards the other child.

    Anything to shift the subject away from children being raped, right, toro?

    What a singularly stupid response, Ogvorbis. Toros’ grammatical correction might be pedantic and a distraction but by accusing him of shielding child rape you are just being silly – and following the red-herring. He’s a pedagogue, not a pedophile

  17. 17
    otrame

    quidam

    I was molested by my grandfather when I was 13. I would never have told anyone about it. Fortunately, my sister, who was two years younger, asked me about it, and when I told her, she insisted on telling our parents he had raped both of us.

    This was nearly 50 years ago and my poor parents didn’t have the faintest idea how to deal with it. But they knew how to make sure I knew they didn’t think it was my fault. Bless them.

    I understand your wish that you had told your parents, but try not to feel guilty about your reticence to tell. It’s not fair to you. YOU are not responsible for the behavior of that despicable man.

    I don’t know how to make it easier for kids to tell. It is especially difficult for kids in religious or other woo-centered families, including those who make scouting a religion (this is not uncommon). Kids in such situations have heard their parents go on and on about how great X___X is and what a good person and so on, always connected with the religious/woo aspect, which must never be doubted. How the hell do you stand up to that? It is especially when for the boys. They fear they will be considered gay–because they are told that being gay is such a bad thing to be (sigh). The predators know all this and use it.

  18. 18
    quidam

    otrame: Guilt is maybe a bit strong. I don’t feel any guilt about the assault, but I certainly regret not having told anyone, and some guilty feelings that my inaction may have caused other children to be harmed. In retrospect I was somewhat selfish and not thinking about the wider picture. Understandable at the time, but I wasn’t as good a person as I would have liked to be.

    I have told my children about how I feel now and asked them to consider that, I’m fairly sure that they would have told me if there had been anything.

  19. 19
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I was assaulted by a scoutmaster (the other cliche) when I was 11, I stopped going, which surprised my father, since he was keen on scouting, but I never told anyone until I was an adult. I feel guilty about it now, since it’s very likely that he was assaulting other kids at the time and for years after.

    I was raped by a scoutmaster at ages 9 & 10. I still have nightmares about it 37 years later. I didn’t tell because: what happened to me is what is supposed to happen to girls (that’s from the scoutmaster); he was a pillar of the community and I was known for having a vivid imagination so I knew I would never be believed; it was my fault that it happened again and again and again. You have my sympathy. No one should ever have to go through that. Ever.

    What a singularly stupid response, Ogvorbis. Toros’ grammatical correction might be pedantic and a distraction but by accusing him of shielding child rape you are just being silly – and following the red-herring. He’s a pedagogue, not a pedophile

    I disagree. I am probably wrong in this instance but, from past experience, both in meatspace and here, grammatical nitpicking is a very useful tool to derail a conversation and, to be perfectly honest, I still do not see why xe brought up the grammatical error if not to derail.

    I did not claim that xe was a paedophile. I did, however, make the implication that the reason for xe’s grammatical nitpicking could be to move the conversation into a less-uncomfortable area. Just as, during conversations here about rape, things like male circumcision, alcohol, dating, and every other thing involving sex is introduced in an attempt to move the conversation away from rape.

  20. 20
    toro

    Just for the record, quidam in (#16) correctly interpreted my comment above regarding “most recent … as early as last week.” It was simply meant as a lighthearted dig at the professor who runs this blog. That might seem frivolous, but after lurking (mostly) here for several years, I was under the impression that frivolity was a major ingredient of Pharyngula, even when dealing with serious topics.

    In other words, I was definitely not attempting a trollish diversion à la “Oooh oooh, grammatical slip-up, therefore the whole article can be dismissed.”

    Apologies for any misunderstanding and/or unnecessary derailing of the subject matter. Over and out!

  21. 21
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    toro:

    Thanks. Sorry I jumped to conclusions. This subject is a little emotional for me right now for reasons that have nothing to do with you.

  22. 22
    sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f

    I sympathise if you’re feeling tense for whatever reason, but toros should not have had to explain that. Perhaps I just don’t know how bad comment threads are nowadays if people cannot assume good faith even in the case of things that are quite obviously jocular.

    And I see chigau is continuing to pump out original comments. Way to go, kid!

  23. 23
    chigau (違う)

    2 is “pumping out”?
    How much would 3 be?
    (and get a ‘nym, sonny)

  24. 24
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I sympathise if you’re feeling tense for whatever reason, but toros should not have had to explain that. Perhaps I just don’t know how bad comment threads are nowadays if people cannot assume good faith even in the case of things that are quite obviously jocular.

    You really have chosen to ignore what I wrote about (a) probably being wrong and (b) the tactics of derailment, haven’t you? Keep your sympathy. I apologized. Not to you, though.

  25. 25
    quidam

    Sorry to hear that Ogvorbis. I know I got off lightly, physically & emotionally – and it certainly helped be see through the hypocrisy of the overtly religious. The scout troop was associated with a church and monthly church parade was compulsory. I was already an atheist, but he helped me become an Atheist.

  26. 26
    evodevo

    “Thirty years of screwing little boys, and no one noticed? Or more likely, no one cared enough to stop him? ”

    According to my monthly edition of FFRF’s Freethought Today, Black Collar Crime Section, it is all too common.

    Two, count ‘em two, of my five women co-workers were molested as children – one by a Pentacostal preacher with small-child- fondling tendencies. With odds like that, it must be a lot more common than most people think. I never even thought of anything like this happening when I was growing up, but I am sure it was happening somewhere.

    Children are usually bewildered by it when it happens to them, because an adult is a trusted authority figure to most, and who would believe your word against theirs anyway? Or they don’t tell anyone out of a sense of shame, or because they have actually been threatened, either with bodily harm or harm to their family members if it gets out. And what Bernard Bumner #7 said.

    There are a LOT of sickos out there. Make sure your kids know what is appropriate behavior and to tell you when that line has been crossed.

  27. 27
    davem

    My dad was repeatedly assaulted (by a Catholic Priest), as were several of his class mates in the school they were in, in the 1930s. I think that fear of it getting worse held them back from complaining. It wasn’t until he ran away, straight into the arms of a policeman, that anything got done about it. Judging from the reluctance that my dad had about even talking about it 70 years later, it must have been psychologically easier to hide than to come out in the open.

  28. 28
    DLC

    I half want to say something sarcastic. But no. I’ll just say this: I’m glad the boys of Friendly Hills Elementary will no longer have that predator around. There is not sufficient punishment for such scumbags.

  29. 29
    sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f

    Keep your sympathy. I apologized. Not to you, though.

    Jesus, I tried. Shan’t bother in the future; don’t worry about that. Consider my well-meaning sympathy retracted, since it apparently got in your way.

  30. 30
    didgen

    It may not have been unnoticed, when I was molested nearly 40 years ago by a “friend” of the family, I told my mother. Her response was “Damn I thought he was too old for that shit by now.” Turns out he had been doing it for a very long time, it was the end of trust in anyone for me, and I can still see and hear my mom in my head. In a certain group that is condoned.

  31. 31
    John Morales

    [meta]

    didgen, argh!

    (Your mother didn’t really do the right thing by you, but is it out of the question that she might have done stuff against the offender of which you are unaware?)

    sc_mess:

    Consider my well-meaning sympathy retracted, since it apparently got in your way.

    If you can retract it, it was never real.

    (I might be an asshole, but I’m genuine when I express sympathy)

  32. 32
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    @sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f

    quite obviously jocular.

    Given how some adults reacted in these comments, I suggest to you that it was not as obvious as you think. toro explained him or herself, and Ogvorbis accepted and explained himself. You are now left as the one with a problem.

    Here we are in a conversation about a paedophile and people are getting policed about their reactions to comments and told someone else should not have to explain him or herself…

    Perhaps this sort of reaction and commentary is what inhibits anyone telling about something wrong that was done to them. The reactions of those around you when they talk about something they have heard, or repeat a joke or the theme is touched on in movies or books, those reactions give you information. It always seemed to me the information victims take into themselves is that others don’t want to know, and if they know, may not help you.

    To be able to talk about these things is terribly hard. It is probably best if people who want to comment remember that and first establish some presence so people can assess statements they make in a context.

    I bet that might help IRL, too.

  33. 33
    Lyn M: G.R.O.S.T. (ADM) -- Membership pending

    didgen,

    How horrible. You did the right thing talking to someone you thought you could trust, but then finding such a wrong. It was another betrayal.

    Clearly you understand that, but it really drives home to me how little so many parents know about parenting. We who have not been abused or don’t know much about such things, need to hear. If we don’t face up to it, then this is how such things are permitted to continue. People who ought to know better, fail profoundly. We must understand that and consciously decide to do the right thing, were we in such a position. Without this resolve in us as responsible adults, then predators get to carry on for a long long time. We give them licence by default.

    Thank you for speaking out, didgen. I have heard others here also speak out and I do so respect you for it. Thank you all.

  34. 34
    sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f

    John Morales:

    If you can retract it, it was never real.

    Thanks for the assumption.

    Lyn M:

    You are now left as the one with a problem.

    And thank you for presenting a tangled misunderstanding as evidence that I have “a problem”. That’s a really nice thing to do.

    To be able to talk about these things is terribly hard. It is probably best if people who want to comment remember that and first establish some presence so people can assess statements they make in a context.

    So one has to be a member of the old guard before saying anything that isn’t rigidly on-topic and isn’t a +1ing platitude (even if the sympathy would be much-deserved). Got it.

    I bet that might help IRL, too.

    Oh, yeah. This is relevant. Thanks for the amateur psychoanalysis of my actual life based upon rushed statements and misunderstandings I’ve made online whilst in a less than optimal mood, combined with others’ preconceptions. Which somehow all get redirected to be MY mistakes – nay, problems, gosh what a bad person.

    I bet you’d love me to confirm that you’re correct, wouldn’t you? It’d make the armchair from which you pronounced your diagnosis feel just that bit more luxurious.

  35. 35
    Amphiox

    So one has to be a member of the old guard before saying anything that isn’t rigidly on-topic and isn’t a +1ing platitude (even if the sympathy would be much-deserved). Got it.

    No, evidently you don’t.

  36. 36
    chigau (違う)

    sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f
    Leaving your display name like that makes you seem to be lazy or stupid.
    Do you want to change it?

  37. 37
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    A chilling thought occurs to me. If this guy has been raping kids for 30 years, it’s entirely possible that some of his older victims will still be part of that church community and have children of their own. Do they entrust those kids to their rapist, and if they don’t, how do they explain why they don’t send them to the trips?

  38. 38
    sc_5b5039dd39eec895ccc71934d4e6783f

    chigau: Nope, especially if it annoys you so much that you’re willing to lob pathetic insults about it.

  39. 39
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Eighteen out of 38 comments (well, now 19 out of 39) dealing with toro and sc_xxx for some, or all, of the comment. I now know that toro was trying for humour, not derailment. sc_xxx, however, has decided this thread is about hir. I think sc_xxx has shown that xe understands the idea of derailment.

    didgen, you, and all victims of this shit, have my profound sympathy. I found that the pseudonymity of blog comments was the only way to actually speak to what happened to me. I’m gladdened that others feel safe enough here to do the same.

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