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.