Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I dated a Hopi Indian guy when I worked for the university, oh, let's see, that was more than 30 years ago. I loved him, he loved me, he had a drinking problem and wasn't interested in Mormonism. We broke up and it was really hard and sad and I will always love him.

I typed one of his papers once for a class he was taking on child development. He wrote about a kid he worked with in glowing terms. "Korey is a bright and wonderful kid, etc..."

The next year, after the breakup, in a weird coincidence, I moved, with my small son, into a subdivision. Korey's family was our neighbors! What a cute little boy he was, brown and sturdy, big eyes and shy smile. Korey had been adopted by the family, he was a Shoshone child from northern Utah. The family eventually adopted 7 children: two Caucasian children, Korey, a boy from Ecuador, and three children who had the same black father and white mother. My children were fortunate that they grew up color blind in our racially diverse neighborhood (the family across the street was Tongan!).

Korey and my James became best friends. There were five boys who were glued at the hip; all building tree huts, digging underground forts, racing their bikes, going to boy scouts and the swimming pool. These five boys seldom quarrelled, just great kids growing up together. Korey and the others were a constant fixture at our house, eating popsicles, playing Star Wars, and planning intrigues as only boys can.

My Sarah adored Korey of all James' friends.

Korey, and the other three boys, Cory, John, and George, was a pall bearer at James' funeral. This kid was as close to my family as if he was family.

A small glitch occurred when James was 15, Korey, 14, I may have mixed up the ages a bit, but not much. James came storming into the house, "Mom, don't let Korey around Jessie any more! He's a pervert! I just caught him on top of her on the trampoline! I punched him and threw him off our property!"

I thought James was overreacting and in those days, of course, we didn't know as much about sexual molestation. Frankly, I was embarrassed for Korey. I talked to Jessie, who was 8 and told her if Korey bothered her any more to come tell me. No big deal. Korey and James avoided each other for a couple of weeks, then went on as nothing. The other friends tell me they remember a fight between the boys, but James never told them what it was about.

However, about two weeks later, Jessie came sobbing into the house and said Korey had come out into the back yard of his home where she was playing and held her down and pulled her underwear off.

At that point, we took it a bit more seriously, and Bill made an appointment to talk to Korey's father, who was our bishop, to give him a heads up. No more was said or done. We never mentioned it again. I never discussed it with Korey's mother. I wondered, at times, if she knew about the problem, because she frequently left Korey to babysit his four younger sisters. But I trusted them and figured they had it under control.

2006, early Spring. Cory's mother called me to tell me that her daughters had revealed that Korey had molested them for years, beginning when the youngest one was 5 and Korey 14. The younger girl was messed up big time and needing serious psychological care. The situation dominoed from there, seven victims in all came forward, at least four of the girls had reported the behavior to Korey's father, the bishop, who called them liars.

One 5 year old had been molested while Dayna tended her. Dayna was upstairs while Korey molested this girl in the basement. When her mother took her out to the car, she told her mother, and they went right back into the house and confronted Korey in front of his parents. Korey didn't admit to everything he did, but he was forced to concede he'd molested her. His father called the parents of the victim into his office and had Korey apologize.

I knew nothing about the others all those years. Many of you know what happened next. Korey was charged as an adult and convicted of sexual abuse. He's now a registered sex offender, although there's little risk he'll re-offend, according to the extensive and invasive testing he had. The families involved are alienated, it traumatized our ward, and residual bitterness lingers (is that redundant) among us all. Korey's father died, unable to answer why he hid and protected his son all those years. Were we suing people, the church would have a lawsuit on its hands. The bishop's failure to act and believe the girls led to a great deal of pain on all sides.

I had a meltdown, yada yada yada. It's been rough.

I feel such melancholy for those days when the kids were running and playing and best friends. I hadn't seen Korey since June 2006, the sentencing trial. But last week, when I took Bill's shirts in to be cleaned, he entered the cleaner's and stood in back of me as I gave them the shirts and paid. I saw him walking in and just pretended like I didn't know it was him. I kept my back to him. It was incredibly awkward.

I glanced at him as I walked out, without speaking. He looked sheepish, embarrassed, a small smile on his face. This is so so sad. I loved that kid. But he did this awful thing, his family behaved abominably towards the victims during the trial phase of this saga and what once was is no more. Korey, I believe, never told his mother the full truth of what he did and she feels attacked and victimized herself, as do the other family members. No apologies. Korey scored very low to re-offend, but also very low on victim empathy and remorse. I feel his lack of true repentance and honesty made the whole situation ten times worse. I wish I could hate him, but I don't.

I can't believe it. I just can't believe it's come to this. Korey. Korey.

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