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.