Monday, December 19, 2011

January 26th Parole Hearing

After getting off the phone with the State Parole Board, here is the information regarding the scheduled January 26th parole hearing. The January 26th date is when the Parole Board's "decision" will be announced. On January 4th there will be a hearing for those opposed to parole to speak in front of the board. On January 24th there will be a hearing at the Ouachita River Correctional Facility for David and his supporters to speak in front of the Parole Board.

I was able to get a little more information regarding the charges David was convicted of. Sexual indecency with a minor, regardless of whether you are convicted of four offenses like David, or 400 offenses, is not a deniable offense. In other words, the legislature has taken out of the parole board's hands. The board has no option to deny parole. They will either grant parole, or delay parole again. And if they don't have a good reason to delay parole, it will be granted.

If you have written letters to the parole board in the past, please take this information and use it. Don't just write about how David needs to stay in prison. This isn't part of what the parole board will really be looking at. In order for them to defer his parole again, they'll have to have a reason to keep him in prison. Some other evaluation or treatment program for him to complete, otherwise he will be released.

Since the parole hearing in November, David has been given his sex offender mental health evaluation in order to determine his sex offender level. He has been assigned a level three status. What this means specifically is that there is "a history of repeat sexual offending, and/or strong antisocial, violent or predatory personality characteristics."

Upon release, notification for a level three sex offender will include local law enforcement agencies (including school safety officers), "victims or guardians of victims, heads of agencies and organizations that serve individuals in the offender's target group, individuals or heads of families with members within the offender's target group who are likely to encounter the offender, any member of the community whom the offender is likely to encounter, based on the offender's prior history, recreational or religions interests, employment, or the characteristics of the offender's victims." Those likely to encounter the offender are also given an Offender Fact Sheet.

What I'm failing to understand, the dots I'm failing to connect here, is how someone that is deemed in a mental health evaluation to be so unsafe to society and the community to require such a high level of community notification, can be completely ineligible for denial of parole as deemed by the state legislature. There is no doubt in my mind that if (and when) released, David Pierce will offend again. At this point, it's not the parole board that should be blamed when David is released. It's the legislature that needs to answer some hard questions. How has an offense like sexual indecency with a minor remained an undeniable offense? Why has no one questioned this before now? Couple this with the fact that Arkansas has a statute of limitations for child sexual abuse (while many states do not), and there are some serious issues that need addressing by the Arkansas legislature.

A Short Break and a Phone Call

After a short break, we're obviously back in business. To answer several questions I've gotten, nothing has happened that forced me to remove the blog. I was dealing with some things and working through some things (as I'm occasionally forced to do), and needed to remove the distraction for a short time.

I received a phone call this morning from a friend of my mother's. She and I have talked before, but it's been a year or two ago. The phone call couldn't have come at a better time. She just wanted to let me know that there was an unofficial "task force" of sorts (my words, not hers) at works behind the scene in Saline County working to keep David in prison as long as possible. If you're reading this and you survived David, know that whether you are aware of it or not, there are people out there that are fighting for what is right.

If you are reading this and you are one of those people fighting to keep David in prison, thank you doesn't do justice to what you are doing for myself and the other survivors. You may think of it as just a way for you to keep a bad man in jail, but you are doing more for the survivors than you will ever know.

If you would like to register on the Arkansas VINE network to receive updates every time something within the correctional system changes with David, visit to sign up for updates. David has recently been moved back to the Ouachita River Correctional Facility in Malvern, Arkansas. I can only assume this is because he completed the sex offender "rehab" program at the Pine Bluff prison.

Speaking of the VINE network, I just received an email informing me of an upcoming parole hearing on 1/26/12. I assume this will be one of two things. Either they have scheduled another hearing to hear additional evidence of some sort, or this is when they will actually announce their decision. Anyone in the know, please feel free to comment.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Someone Does What I (legally) Could Not

The next few weeks were surprisingly quiet. I was obviously dealing with an overwhelming amount of emotion, ranging some days from sever, don't want to get out of bed depression to something resembling normalcy, to extreme anger. Some days I felt like I was trying to swim through a whirlpool, and that any split second loss of control would suck me down forever. Ok, maybe I felt like that most days. One of the most difficult things for me was that no matter how extreme and how negative the emotions were that I was feeling, I felt completely justified in feeling (and acting/reacting accordingly) that way.

There were (and sometimes still are) days where I either didn't or refused to realize how my words and actions affected those around me. I became completely and totally engrossed with myself and my problems. I know without a doubt that during this time I lost friends and caused damage to friendships and relationships with family members that will never be fixed. One of the hardest things to do is to realize that what has happened has happened. Try and fix the things you can, make amends with the people you can, and let the rest of it go.

As an adult survivor of childhood abuse, letting go in general is one of the most difficult things for me to figure out. I spent years hiding, compartmentalizing, and pretending my abuse didn't happen. I don't think anything could be more opposite of "letting go". In order to hide something as deeply as I hid my abuse, I couldn't let it go.

Several weeks after David was fired from FBC, I received a phone call from a friend strongly recommending that I watch the evening news, that David was being arrested that day. I couldn't believe it. Because I had waited so long to talk about my abuse, what David did to me was outside the five year statute of limitations in the state of Arkansas. That means that no matter how heinous, how life altering David's acts were, because I waited longer than the law thought I should've, nothing that happened to me will ever be criminally actionable (unless, of course, the statute of limitations is repealed).

That meant that someone young enough had come forward and reported being abused by David. As the investigation progressed, it turned out that 3 people had come forward. I still don't know who those 3 people are, but I don't know if I could admire anyone more. They are my heroes. I can't imagine having the strength at that age to come forward with the awful things that happened to us.

David was arrested and charged with 54 counts of sexual indecency with a child. As the investigation moved forward, detectives spread the word that they wished to talk with any victim of David's, no matter how old. I immediately came forward and spoke with two detectives with the Saline County Sheriff's Department. I'm not sure the reason. Whether it was because they were strangers, or because I'd had more time to heal, or because I felt like I had nothing else to prove at that point, but I felt more comfortable telling my story and answering questions for those two detectives in an interrogation room than I had ever felt sitting in Rick's office the months before.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Parole Decision Delayed

The Arkansas Parole Board announced yesterday that they were delaying the decision for David's parole until 2012. According to an article in the Saline Courier, the board needs more time to consider additional information.

For a victim, something that vague is both encouraging and disheartening at the same time. Could they possible be looking at additional letters from victim and citizens asking that David not be paroled? Or could they be doing the opposite, and looking at statements from family members, David himself, or supporters asking that he be paroled? Regardless, the waiting continues.

Since beginning this blog, I've been re-reading some of the news coverage. Sometimes to help me get dates straight, sometimes to help me make sure I've got my facts correct about how the events occurred. For several articles, one in the Benton Courier, one in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, and one in the Arkansas Times, I was contacted by reporters after they were given my number by the Saline County Prosecutor. I had previously spoken with the prosecutor and given him permission to give my contact information to reporters, under the condition that I be able to maintain my anonymity.

This morning I was reading through the Arkansas Times article (to view the entire article, go here: ) checking some dates. I reread something that I had read before dozens of times, and something new hit me. Below is the section I reread (I'm referred to in the article as "Kurt"):

"That might have been that, but as winter turned to spring, Rick Grant spoke more with Kurt, and began to suspect that Pierce had been less than truthful about who was involved and what had gone on. In early April, Grant's suspicions were confirmed when he received a call from another victim [the reporter is talking about the friend I've been referring to as "Joe"], a man close in age to Kurt. Thought Grant still believed that Pierce's dalliances with boys had been confined to an isolated period in the past, he felt that given this latest victim, who called what had gone on sexual abuse he had no recourse but to fire Pierce. "

The dozens of times I had read not just that article, but that statement from Rick, it had never occurred to me the message that was really being sent my way. Because I never specifically came out and said "David sexually abused me", Rick felt like he had recourse other than firing David. So instead of laying out in graphic detail all the times David measured my genitals with a seamstresses tape, all the times David watched me masturbate while he did the same, all the times David had very detailed conversations with me about past sexual acts, all the times David showed me pornography on the computer in his office at the church, I should've just told Rick, "David sexually abused me". If I had only muttered the two magic words, "sexual abuse", then this would've all been handled differently.

Bottom line, Rick was in over his head. He didn't know how to deal with the situation, and the Southern Baptist Convention is completely inadequate in providing churches with the means to properly address accusations of this magnitude. So instead of addressing David's actions in a way that conveyed love, concern, and caring for the victims, we end up with statements like the above, which do nothing but imply that I am to blame for not using the right words when I spoke with Rick.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Crime Fighting Partner

At some point within the next couple of months following my "meeting" with David and company, I received a strange email. Joe [name changed], my childhood best friend and one of David's chosen wanted to talk. We had loosely kept up with each other since high school; our wives had also been best friends. They lived out of state, but we still managed to see each other at least once a year. Still, knowing each other as well as we once did, I knew it wasn't normal to get this sort of email from Joe. He wanted my phone number so we could talk sometime. We set up a time that would work for both of us.

Almost simultaneously, two thoughts went through my mind. One, I assumed David called him like he promised Rick he would. Two, what if his recollections of what happened to us are different from mine? What if he disagrees with my assessment of the situation? And if he does, what if he's right? Obviously at this point in my journey, it didn't take much for me to doubt myself. Thankfully, Joe would have a lot to do with me moving past that "self doubt" stage.

When our appointed time for the phone call came, I answered the phone with no small amount of apprehension. The first thing out of my mouth was "is this what I think it's about?" After Joe answered affirmatively, and after some discussion, I discovered that something amazing, something I can attribute only to God, had happened. Regarding my initial thoughts, David had not in fact contacted Joe, and Joe did agree/remember things the way I did.

Forgetting for now the fact that David had not contacted Joe (and in failing to do so, had deceived Rick and Dennis in a very provable fashion), Joe agreed with me!! This would be the first time I would have the incredibly liberating experience of hearing from another of David's victims that I was right. That everything I remembered, and the way I remembered it was correct. That it was right for me to call it abuse. And more importantly, that I was right. I was justified.

So the next question is, if Joe didn't get a phone call from David, and if myself, Rick, and Dennis were the only ones at FBC that knew this was going on, why did Joe want to call me to talk specifically about David? And why now, after all these years of silence? This is where the God thing comes in. Turns out, not even weeks after my blow up and subsequent emotional floodgate opening with my wife, Joe had an almost identical experience. The idea that two childhood bestfriends, separated by thousands of miles but joined by such a monstrous act would be almost simultaneously dealing with something as life changing as what we were dealing with, even now is more than I can comprehend.

At that point Joe had not had contact with anyone at FBC regarding David. He was understandably disturbed when I learned of Rick's "solution". Couple that with the fact that Rick had communicated to me that David had reported to him that his attempts at amends were complete, and something didn't add up. As far as Joe was concerned, the solution was inadequate, and David had obviously been less than truthful with Rick (again).

Thankfully for me, Joe entered the FBC picture at a time when my resolve and determination were not just beginning to flag, but were completely gone. He was, at least with FBC, able to pick up where I left off. Over the course of the next several months, Joe and I talked at least weekly. Other than my wife, he is the biggest reason I've been able to make it to this point. Having someone to talk to that truly understood the emotions I was going through, the thoughts running through my head, and the doubts I still had was quite literally a lifesaver. I was very much at a point that I felt like I had done everything I could to stop David. Joe was able to continue to apply pressure where it was needed.

Finally, in the late winter/early spring of 2009, I received a phone call from Rick that he had decided that David had been less than truthful, and would be firing him when he returned from a senior adult trip the following Saturday morning. It would be announced that Sunday night in a special "called meeting". I had not set foot in FBC since my last meeting with Rick, David, and Dennis, and I certainly wasn't going back now. Sunday night (which, at this point worried me much more than Saturday morning) came and went. I was able to talk to a couple people who were at the Sunday night meeting. It was reported to the church that David was let go for "some serious moral failures". I like to think of it as abuse.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Meeting with a Monster

Today is the parole hearing. I could sit here for hours and type my heart out, but I honestly don't want to think about it more than I have to. So instead of talking more about the parole hearing and how I'm feeling about it today, I'm going to continue my story. I wanted to finish it before the parole hearing, but I obviously missed that goal. I will, however, be able to finish telling about my involvement with FBC Benton.

David, Rick, Dennis and I sat in Rick's office. David was allowed to present his "case", which he did in true con man, pedophile style. He asserted that what happened with me was during a "rough patch in his life" (his exact words), and it was something he had moved past. I thought, sitting there in that office, seeing that Rick and Dennis were obviously buying the snake oil David was selling, that I was going to be physically ill. The worst wasn't over yet, though.

I was asked to express to David how what he'd done had continued to affect my life. Rarely at a loss for words, I stumbled and stuttered through a very brief, very benign rundown of how my life sucked because of David. I said an ounce of what I wanted to, and much to my regret now, spoke without an iota of the emotion I was experiencing. When I was finished, David asked for my forgiveness, to which I replied "I hope I can someday, but I can't today". He then asked (in front of Rick and Dennis, mind you) if we could go to lunch sometime and talk. I couldn't respond.

The next thing that happened is something else I added to my list of major regrets. It's one of those times in my life that I should've yelled, screamed, jumped up and down, or thrown a fit, but didn't. Rick presented David and I with his "solution". Rick's big solution was for David to provide him with a list of victims (David's list, according to Rick later, only had around a dozen names), and then call each victim listed and apologize. Or, as Rick put it, "seek to make amends". If he did, he would be allowed to keep his job and control of the youth choir. If he didn't, only then would he be fired. I was asked to agree to this "solution", and sign a paper documenting my agreement. To this day I don't know why I did it. I am not by nature a passive person, or one to keep my mouth shut. But with those three men sitting there, I signed the paper, and I agreed to the "solution".

This basically wrapped up the meeting, which ended feeling like the intention was more to talk me into something, instead of addressing David's victimization. We prayed (of course, right? Who wouldn't want to talk to God with their abuser?), then David asked me to wait a second. I did. He left, went to the copier, and brought back a photocopied devotional about forgiveness, asking me to read it and think about it. While I was screaming at him and fighting the urge to shove it down his throat inside, I simply said "thanks" and walked out. This would be the last time I was in the same room with David Pierce.

Monday, November 14, 2011

This is the Week

This week is the parole hearing. Last I heard, it was Wednesday the 16th. Definitely makes this a hard week. The first part of this week is going to be filled with unknowns and expectations. The second part of this week (if the outcome the prosecutor predicted comes to pass) will be an entirely different story. With the hearing this week, it makes it difficult not to be totally consumed by what is going to be happening on Wednesday. I had pretty much gotten to the point that I was able to forget (or at least manage) those many painful memories. Now they're dug back up.

I've also been thinking quite a bit about what happened (and is happening) at Penn State the last couple of weeks. I can't help but draw parallels between what happened at FBC Benton and what happened at Penn State.

One of the things that really strikes me is how odd it is for a completely secular state university to recognize the mishandling of this situation and to immediately address it from an HR standpoint. Yet, an institution (and man) charged with shepherding a flock allows a man to continue directly working with youth for months after allegations are made against him, and no public outcry is made, and no action taken by the Southern Baptist Convention. You can't imagine the message this sends to victims of not just David Pierce, but any kind of ministerial abuse. It makes it appear that Penn State was more concerned with protecting children, and FBC Benton more concerned with protecting itself.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling for anyone's termination or resignation from FBC Benton. I just want to make sure that people really understand what happened, and that they see the difference in how these situations are handled by different institutions. In initial newspaper reports, every statement from Rick said that David was terminated as soon as allegations were made. In subsequent articles (articles in which either victims were interviewed or police reports were consulted) this statement was not used. However, there were no subsequent statements from Rick or FBC clearing up the "misstatement" or explaining the delay in dealing with the allegations made against David. In Penn State's case, part of what got Joe Paterno terminated was the fact that he issued statements to the press saying that he was not aware of the allegations against Jerry Sandusky at the time. Quite a difference between FBC Benton and Penn State.

If you haven't already, please remember those of us that survived not only David Pierce, but FBC Benton this week. Leading up to the parole hearing will be difficult, and the time after the hearing may turn out to be even worse.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Abuser "Comes Clean"

The next part of my story will likely be the most difficult for me to put into writing. There are people at FBC that I still care for very much. I don't want to see them hurt. I do, however, want the truth to be told not only about what David did, but about how First Baptist grossly mishandled the information I brought to them. I know churches will continue to make mistakes when faced with these situations, but until open dialogue starts about the specific mistakes made, nothing is going to change.

On November 30, 2008 my wife went to FBC to meet with Rick first thing that morning. She repeated everything I had told her. He, of course, wanted to immediately talk to me. I left work early that day and met my wife back at the church. The two of us then met with Rick. I told him everything that happened to me. I didn't withhold any details, no matter how graphic. Rick was taken aback by the allegations. Not surprisingly, he asked for some time to think about and pray about the allegations. So began a long, drawn out process of meetings.

Initially there were a couple meetings with just Rick and I. Several weeks into it, Rick involved Dennis Byrd, the then chairman of the personnel committee. At the first meeting with Dennis, it was communicated to me that David would be confronted with my allegations. They (Dennis and Rick) were going to be meeting with David right after Christmas. After all, they wouldn't want to ruin HIS holidays, right?

So I waited. During that time, every worst case scenario possible went through my head. That David would deny it and no one would believe me. That word would get out about my allegations and we would be forced to move. Finally, Rick and Dennis met with David. To everyone's surprise, he didn't deny what happened with me. Nor did he admit the full scope of his actions. In true David fashion, he was apologetic and contrite. He easily sold Dennis and Rick that he had seen the error of his ways.

What happened next is a moment that sticks with me just as vividly as that first afternoon in David's truck. I received a phone call from Rick that he wanted to meet with Dennis, David, and myself. Why I agreed to it I'll never know. The abuse itself not withstanding, that meeting was quite possibly the worst hour of my life.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Growing Discussion

Evidently word of the upcoming parole hearing is spreading. Blog traffic directed me to a website where the hearing, and some other aspects of the case, are being discussed. Of course, I checked it out, as there was an immense amount of traffic coming from this single forum thread.

Some of what I saw there was amazingly encouraging. People realizing that justice had not been served. People seeing and recognized that FBC's response to the survivors was inadequate. There are some attempting to coordinate an effort to make their opinions known regarding David's parole. It's great to see a community basically rally behind its children.

Some of what was posted wasn't the least bit encouraging. Any time something like this has such a huge effect on a community, there are always going to be people who take the other side. Logically, I understand that. Based on my experiences, I'll never come to grips with it though. I know what happened to me. I know that I came from a good family, with parents who did their best to raise me in a loving, encouraging, environment. I know that I was betrayed by a monster.

One poster in particular seems very quick to blame parents and victims for what happened. Of course, he never comes out and says how he feels, but it's very obvious from his generic, copy and pasted from Google legal analysis, that he doesn't feel that David did anything wrong. He obviously blames the victims more than David, and feels they are just as much to blame for what he sees as "sin", not as abuse.

I obviously have a few choice words that I'd love to put on here, but won't. Until you've experienced something like this first hand, you can't understand it. I wouldn't expect this pompous asshole to want to understand the victims' point of view either. It's very easy for him to hide behind his pseudo-intellectual, outsiders analysis of this situation. Guess what? Some of us don't have the luxury of being able to step back and take an outsiders view of what happened. Notice that I use the word "outsider", not neutral, because it's very obvious that this person is no more neutral than I am.

I've had to delete a few comments from the blog since the traffic picked up, and I have no doubts that it's the same person posting them here. I'm all for discussion, even here, and would love to see more comments. What I won't tolerate is anything even loosely implying that the victims in this situation share even an ounce of the blame for what happened to them. We were all betrayed by a master manipulator who used faith, religion, and a position of power for sexual gratification. And most importantly, most of use were twelve years old when the abuse started.

If you'd like to see the discussion, visit

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Secrets Revealed

During the time following my stint as youth intern, we continued to attend First Baptist. I taught Sunday School in the youth department. And I swallowed an ungodly amount of hatred and anger every time David Pierce walked the steps up to the pulpit to lead worship. I didn't let it show on the outside at first, but I was letting the anger and hatred kill me emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. I began looking for reasons not to attend church. My wife, who had married a strong, outspoken christian leader, could not understand what was happening. Not that I understood it much better myself.

Slowly, what initially affected me only spiritually began to leak out into other areas of my life. It was just like a slow action poison, killing first my relationship with God, then poisoning my marriage, then my relationships with my family, then friends, then affecting my ability to do my job. And just as I was incapable of recognizing David's actions as abuse, I was also unable to recognize how my refusal to deal with the abuse was slowly killing me from the inside. All of it, the spiritual deadness, the problems with my marriage, the lack of support from family and friends because of bridges I burned, continued to build.

I became more and more withdrawn, prone to some pretty extreme mood swings, and in general just not a very fun person to be around. As with air pressure in a closed vessel is want to do, all that building emptiness, hatred, anger, depression, and deadness began to look for a weak point to escape through. Finally, in 2008, the day before Thanksgiving it found its exit point.

I had spent most of the day at my in-laws with my wife. At the end of the evening, what started as an argument about my wife's sister triggered something in me that I'll never be able to explain. For someone that had, over the course of the last several years become very adept at controlling my emotions, I became very emotional. And by very emotional, I mean completely, utterly, emotionally out of control. I was sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn't get any words out, but the one that that kept going through my mind was "She has no idea. I have to tell her."

Finally, I pulled myself together just enough to answer her "What's going on with you?" with a single word. "David." We both sat quietly for a few minutes while I continued to pull myself together. Finally, between sobs, I was able to get out "there was more to David than just discipleship. He abused me." We stayed up most of the rest of that night talking. I tried to tell her as many details as I could. She went through every emotion in 2 hours that I had gone through in 6 years. Anger, sadness, betrayal, fear. My wife is an amazing woman of action. When I finished telling everything, the first thing she said was "do we call the police or Rick [FBC's Pastor]?"

Ultimately, we went to Rick first. I still don't know if that was the right decision or not.

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Failure

It was the years following my wedding that I really began to be affected mentally and spiritually by the abuse. There is no way to describe the thoughts and feelings I experienced every time I sat through a church service. And I sat through plenty of church services.

After being married a year, the youth minister of FBC (a godly man I hold in the utmost regard to this day) asked me to return as his youth intern. Without a second thought I accepted. I spent the next year and a half as the youth intern at the same church where I was systematically and repeatedly abused by the man who was still the minister of music.

It doesn't make sense to me even now. During that time I was just as responsible for protecting the youth as anyone. Somewhere, buried deep down inside, I knew then that what happened to me was still going on. Knowing and admitting to myself that my relationship with David was wrong was, for me, still a long step from coming to grips with it actually being abuse.

So, for a year and a half I was responsible for the youth. Many of the youth I was responsible for during that time were abused in the exact same way, by the exact same monster. A big part of the healing process for me was coming to the realization that I couldn't blame myself for that year and a half. That I did what I could to stop him, when I was ready and capable of doing it. The thought of the kids I could've saved during that year and a half still hurts, but it's not a guilty hurt, and I know that I was just as incapable of saving those kids as I was incapable of saving the dozens who were abused before me.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Big Realization

It wasn’t until I went to college that I started to realize that what happened with David wasn’t right. I’m not sure what it was. Maybe being away from him, maybe being out of Benton, maybe the fact that those two things didn’t stop him from trying to continue our relationship.

After my first year of college, my girlfriend and I were engaged. When I told David, he began the process of readying me sexually for marriage. Long, detailed talks of technique, of what it would be like, of every detail imaginable, all culminated in one big event. It was this big final event that made me finally realize what was really going on.

The summer my wife and I were engaged, David came and picked me up to go take a drive (which always meant more than just driving). We drove out to a cabin on a private lake. Once there, he produced a latex vagina. He went to great lengths to explain anatomy, and what it would be like the first time. After this conversation, he whipped out his trust and ever present bottle of lube and, in order to create as realistic a scenario as he could, he squeezed the walls of the vagina shut and had me enter it. He then shoved the vagina into a couch cushion and told me to try it.

As I knelt in front of that green couch with the small print patter, I turned and glanced back at him. It was at that very moment that I realized this was about (and for) him. He had spent years convincing me that it was about me…that it was for my benefit. And I believed it for many years. When I looked at him that night, however, it was like I was watching someone enjoy the culmination of his life’s work. The look on his face was not concern, it was not helpful. He was, with his own penis out and masturbating, watching me. He wasn’t checking my technique, he was taking pleasure in what he was seeing.

For the first time in years, I saw the abuse for exactly what it was. This was the only time in those years that I felt gross, dirty, or guilty about the acts committed with David. From that point forward, I never allowed it to occur again.

David’s influence still held strong, however. He was a big part of the planning of my wedding. We still took fishing trips, but I always had an excuse not to visit goober heaven. And we still attended First Baptist.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Given the recent development in the David Pierce case (see yesterday's blog post), it would be much easier for me to stop telling my story, and focus on how I'm feeling right now. However, I feel like it is more important than ever to get my story out there. I want to be able to finish before he is actually released from prison. So with that being said, away from the parole hearing news and back to the telling of my story.

It's strange how something so sick and so twisted can be made into a badge of honor. David would make sure we knew where we ranked. Whose penis was bigger than whose. Even though none of us allowed ourselves to realize or admit it at the time, we knew it was wrong. We never talked about it. Joe [obviously not his real name] was my best friend. I was around him more than anyone. But unless David was with us and brought it up, we never talked about any of it.

As the relationship progressed, David became more and more controlling. He continuously interjected himself into our personal relationships. Friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships. But he always put more effort into controlling my relationship with my girlfriend. The first time she told me she loved me, my response was "I'm not sure if I love you. I need to talk to David first." When Joe and I went to prom our Junior and Senior years, we each had small gold angel pins on our lapels, courtesy of David. "Something to look over you", David claimed. Or, a way to keep a piece of himself with us in a place he couldn't physically be.

Just like everything else, he was so careful with his control that I never knew it was happening till years later. He had me completely convinced that I needed to break up with my older girlfriend the summer before she went to college. I can still vividly remember the afternoon that summer I went over to her house. I walked in the door, every fiber of my being screaming "this is not right", but my mind saying "David wouldn't steer me wrong". Thankfully, God saved that relationship, and we've been married ten years with two beautiful children.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

November 6th (A Pause in the Story)

I received a call from the Saline County Prosecutor yesterday. David's next (and it looks like final) parole hearing will be November 6th. In all likelihood David will be released on parole following this hearing. He be out of jail by the end of the year.

Since hearing the news, I've talked with a couple other adult victims. We all had very similar reactions. We knew this was coming. We knew when he went to prison that he wouldn't stay there as long as any of us thought he should. I don't think there is any way any of us could've prepared ourselves for it actually happening though.

You deal with something like this for so long, and you get through so many days where you feel like there is no way you'll be able to continue to function. There are plenty of times where those days seem to drag on and on and on. Then you get to a point where those days start to spread out. You have lots of good days in between. Sometimes this happens for no reason, sometimes you can put your finger on exactly why things are getting better. Then something like this happens. It has put me in a complete tailspin. I don't know how to deal with this, I don't know how to handle it.

Obviously, there is nothing I can do to change it. All I can do at this point is continue doing everything I can to keep it together. For myself, my wife, and my kids.

The Prosecutor said that at this point he expects David to stay in the Benton area. I can't imagine him actually staying here. I guess he'll still have the people here who have supported him through this and refuse to believe his guilt, even after his confession (including the one who tried to friend me on Facebook, even after starting a fund to collect money for David). Maybe he can attend the Little Rock support group for sex offenders (see:

It's hard for me not to think about the people that will undoubtedly be happy that David is being released from prison. From those who wrote letters asking for leniency, to those who don't believe David is guilty at all. It really makes me want to just crawl in a hole for a couple months until all this passes over. Well, until reality sets in, and I realize that none of this will ever pass over for me or any other victim of David Pierce. Honestly, I had high hopes, given David's "fragile medical condition" (as some of his supporters are so quick to point out), that he would die in prison. I think that's how I dealt with the thought of him being released these last few years. Now, I'm being forced to realize that he will get out. He will get to experience freedom again.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How it Really Began

I firmly believe David began grooming me and the other 2 boys the night of that first choir retreat. Stroking our musical egos, telling us what potential we had to be something special. That part, at least, was completely true. The 3 of us had the musical potential to be something special. Like so many other things, however, that was snatched from us by a monster.

The individual attention started that week. Time spent at the church during the day, lunches, long truck rides. And after David felt his groom was adequate, the "test". From that point forward, everything changed. The questions. The places we went. It should've been so obvious what David's motivations were. But if I'd been able to recognize that then, David would've never chosen me.

One of David's most frequently used tools was our accountability time and the 4 S'es. Under the veil of (yet again) a healthy, growing relationship with Christ, we had at least weekly accountability time with David. This was mostly comprised of the 4 S'es. Each one was a specific part of our lives, the whole encompassed our entire walk with God. It was the same every time. "How are you doing spiritually?" Get that one over with first. Who wants to talk about Jesus when you can talk about sex with a fourteen year old? "How are you doing scholastically?" Right? Because David obviously, genuinely cared about my grades. "How are you doing socially?" Or, are you getting too close to anyone that might figure out our dirty little secret?

And finally the best for last. "How are you doing sexually?" Always last because it took the longest and was the most detailed. Of course, at the beginning the focus was on thoughts (impure thoughts, lust, etc), because these things are evil and should never ever enter our mind. Well, at first. But then, David's three learn that there are exceptions. Porn in the music minister's office? That's ok.

It was around this time that each of us learned that 2 of our closest friends also had the good fortune to be one of the chosen few. David had no issues with disclosing information from one boy to another. Comparisons in measurements (David always had us ranked mentally in terms of penis size), how far someone had ventured sexually with a girlfriend, a special masturbation technique used by another. There have been very few things come out over the last several years that have come as a suprise to me. That's part of the way David kept us from thinking what we were doing was wrong. If it was wrong, surely he wouldn't have told us about what he did with the other guys.

Eventually, like so many other things, sharing information with David (and David with us) turned into something else. There would be fishing trips where one, two, or sometimes all three of us would go. Even though there might be a couple of us, we still went to "Goober Heaven", as David called it. We always went to Goober Heaven. Goober Heaven was several different shallow shoals, half submerged logs, or large boulders in the Saline River. David often espoused the sexual benefits of Goober Heaven. Generally he brought his little "kit" with us on the fishing trips. This "kit" contained a seamstresses tape and a bottle of lubrication of some sort. It didn't matter if it was just me and him, or all 3 of us and him, he always measured us then told us to masturbate.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yet More Background

At the end of the 7th grade there was a "retreat" for new incoming youth choir members.  It was great!  We hung out with the older kids (most of them officers in the youth choir), we sang (sometimes as a group, sometimes in a room alone with him).  Looking back, its so obvious now (as are so many other things) that this was the beginning.  This was where he picked his "special guys".  See, men like David Pierce are many things.  Sick, twisted, perverse, evil?  Yup.  Ignorant?  No. 

Remember, the actions of these "men of God" were not to be called into question, especially when they had a viable Biblical explanation for what would, outside of the church, be such suspect behavior.  Want to spend tons of time alone with young boys?  Simple solution: just call it Christ-like behavior.  Tell the world you are following the same example of discipleship Christ followed.  Luckily for David, while Christ had 12 disciples, He also always had 3 He was closer with.  3 He invested more of Himself into.  So, like Christ, David always had 3 he was closer with.  Unlike Christ, David's 3 just always happened to be 13-18 year old boys. 

I often think about what it was that made David identify me as an easy target.  After thinking about it for years, I don't have a good answer.  Looking back at the other victims, there are some common traits and themes.  All were devout Christians.  Most had some musical ability.  Most (oddly enough) did not come from single parent households.  Many of us, at one point or another at First Baptist, would commit ourselves to enter the ministry.  These are the young boys that would worry about impressing someone like David Pierce.  Looking at many of these same young boys as men now, you see the exact opposite trends.  Broken marriages, drug and alcohol abuse, atheism, etc.  The wake that is left by a predator of this nature is one of destruction, desolation, and despair.  Am I an alcoholic?  No.  But I certainly have my addictions.  My marriage is still intact (some days more than others).  I am not an atheist, although I would hesitate to call myself a Christian (or a man of faith).  I am, however, a completely different person than anyone, myself included, thought I would be. 

In high school, by all outward appearances, I was that guy.  Never cussed, never ever drank.  Kind, caring, joyful.  President of the Fellowship of Christian Students both my junior and senior years.  Obviously, the time I spent with David had quite a bit to do with the way others perceived me.  Anyone that spends that much time in "discipleship" with such a great man of God must truly have a great relationship with Christ, right?  I surrendered to the ministry the summer after my sophomore year of high school.  Initially, I wanted to go into music ministry, just like my mentor.  Slowly, the more I was able to detach myself from David, the more that changed, until now I am not even a church goer, let alone a minister.  That's touching on the end of my story though.  The beginning is back at that 7th grade youth choir retreat.  David's personal meat market.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Little More Background

It's easy to wonder how something like this went on for as long as it did. What isn't easy for me is thinking about how close I came to letting it continue. I was such a typical kid. Especially in the Bible Belt. Middle class, with a dad that traveled too much and a mom that taught school. I grew up in church, taught from an early age to regard ministers with the utmost respect, adoration, and awe. I wasn't a loner, nor was I one of the "cool kids". I was smart (one of the main reasons I was never one of the "cool kids"), musically gifted, and spiritually devout. I was one of those kids that adults loved and kids loved to make fun of. Although, I don't really think of my childhood as one of ridicule and abuse by my peers. Overall, I was a happy kid and have generally fond memories of growing up.

At the age of 8 I started piano lessons, and in doing so found one of the only things I'd ever truly excel at. The one thing that allowed me to stand out (in a good way, finally). And, of course, one of the many things he would eventually steal from me.

Growing up at the largest church in a small southern suburb, my family was at church every time the doors opened. I participated in children's choir, not because I enjoyed it, but because it was a gateway to something bigger and better. Youth Choir. But not just any youth choir. One of the largest, most talented, and well disciplined youth choirs in the South. I couldn't wait. A place where musical ability was fostered, encouraged, and celebrated. A place where I would finally be in my element. And even better, the chance to work with one of the most respected ministers and choir directors in the Southern Baptist community.

Anyone who didn't grow up in the Bible Belt will never understand the pedestal even below average ministers are placed on. The "good" ones? Forget about it. These aren't just men who made religion a job. These are men anointed by the very right hand of God. Men whose every action, every word is approved and ordained by the big man himself. Questioning these men out loud is complete and utter blasphemy. Thinking it in your head reason enough to pray for forgiveness.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Story Begins

It's a bittersweet thing, being able to remember in all the gorey detail the exact moment your life went from normal, middle class suburban WASP to something far from normal.  Everything.  The car (or in this case, the truck), the spot in town we were driving, the questions being asked (including that one fateful questions that would begin a downward spiral that would change my life forever).  Everything was so benign up to that point that the shock I experienced from hearing that questions uttered aloud, at hearing what would be the first of hundreds of prying questions (and looks, and measurements and suggestions) over the years, I was completely unable to respond with anything but the truth.

Of all the many, many moments in my life since then that I wish I could change, this is the one moment I keep coming back to.  The only words that I've never been able to get out of my head, but always wanted so desperately to forget.  I still hear him flippantly ask (as if wanting to know what my favorite football team was, or my opinion on the designated hitter) "you masturbate much?"  I was a 13 year old boy.  What did he think the answer to that question was?

Still, looking back, he didn't care about the answer.  It wasn't the specific words that were important.  For the first time in my life, I passed a test I shouldn't have.  Unfortunately for him, I would be the one student he should have never taken.  His one mistake.

The Beginning

As an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, there are countless issues I deal with on a daily basis.  Just one of those is the fact that on many days I still feel completely without a voice, totally unheard.  Because my abuser also happened to be a minister at the church I attended, there are still many people to this day who either don't believe that it happened, or don't want to hear about it.  That is the driving force behind this blog, to provide me with an outlet to express, in some sort of public way, both my story (the past), and the constant issues I continue to struggly with as a survivor (the present).

I imagine the structure of the blog beginning with a chronological telling of my story (and the story of dozens of other victims of the same abuser), with some current struggles and issues thrown in as they arise.  Obviously, as the story of my abuse comes to an end, my current issues will become the main meat of my writings (or ramblings, who knows).

I also feel like the title of the blog requires a bit of explanation.  The darkest part of my life was also, spiritually at least, the highest point of my life.  I felt closer to God, and closer to many of the people in my life, than I ever had before, and ever have since.  In order to deal with my abuse, I have in a sense had to descend from that time in my life.  In many ways, I also feel like I had to descend deeper into the darkness and madness of my abuse in order to escape it.  For several years as an adult, I chose to lock away the abuse I suffered, not even allowing myself the realization that what happened to me was abuse.  It was much easier to ignore, even attending the same church where the abuse occurred, where the music was led by the same minister who was my abuser.  As I finally began to wrestle with what happened to me, I forced myself to unlock the box containing those events and descend into that darkness as a means to finally begin to rid myself of it alltogether.

I may be the only one that ever reads this blog.  If so, that's fine.  It's the outlet I need, not the recognition.  If I do end up helping someone, so be it.

If you are reading this, thanks for your time.  I know that what I will write here won't always be easy or fun to read, but it's necessary for me.