Welcome – and by the way…

This blog is ALL waaaay too much information. It’s about pedophilia and other nasty stuff, and it’s probably confusing as hell if you don’t find a way to go back and read from the beginning. It’ll just make more sense that way. You’ll get more info in the ‘about‘ links above. But welcome. Glad you stopped in.

I’m back?

I’m back.


It’s been a while. I’m now the father of two four-year-olds.


I haven’t been able to write. I’ve been too ‘busy’ – which is the trendy new way one says ‘scared’.


I am a good father. For my wife, that excuses many of my other failings. For me, it is a source of deep, good feelings. I hesitate to say pride, because I hesitate to think of myself as prideful. But I am a good father. I think part of the reason I am writing this here post right now is because I am ready to talk a bit about that. The Buggered bus is coughing back into life. Maybe.


When I last wrote, my wife was pregnant. When I last wrote, I was experiencing emotions that I had never encountered. When I last wrote, I was a different person. I was different in ways I cannot even comprehend now, looking back now over the alpine pass that I have traversed, from Notfather to Father.


Maybe I’ll talk more about my children as time goes on. More specifically – maybe I’ll talk about what my experience has been like to raise children when both parents were deeply damaged as children themselves. Maybe I’ll try to put in a blog post what fear, or love, or joy, or rage is.


But right now there is a different story I want to tell.


You see – several years ago, as I was writing this blog, the blog became something I wasn’t expecting. It became enjoyable. I hated writing it, but I liked having written it. I liked telling my story. And then it all ended, perhaps a little abruptly. I simply couldn’t bring myself to write this story any more. Not with kids around. I didn’t want to spend the hours or days of wound-licking that would often follow a writing session. I didn’t want to sit up until 4am writing about My Pain and then spend the rest of the day unable to fully connect with my kids.


But there was this little bit of me that wanted to end the story. Not for the blog, necessarily, but also not just for me. There was a part of me that wanted an Official End To The Story.


Now – if you are new here, and are wondering what story I’m talking about, here it is in brief:


Me: Kid. Irresistibly sexy, even at a young age. 


El Pedo: Man. Unable to resist the irresistibleness of my sexiness.


El Pedo, despite my resistance, insists that he assist in initiating me into adult mysteries and blissful trysts (you get the gist), and despite my juvenescence persists in his deviance well past my defiance. The discordance created in me by his dalliance is the bread-and-sustenance of my neural and social dissonance and as such is the subject of this palaverous agglomeration.


Clear? Maybe I can do better:


My godfather had sex with me on a regular basis, from when I was a young child until I was 20.


And while I am a happy, healthy adult, sometimes by God I struggle with my past.


That’s the version that is easier to read, but harder to write.


It needs an ending, don’t you see? Look at the narrative here:


  • a boy is imperiled by an evil older man
  • the boy ‘defeats’ his nemesis and imprisons him
  • as he ages, the boy discovers that his nemesis has powers that reach beyond the prison walls and  is still somehow ambushing him, still hurting him as he grows older.
  • As the boy reaches middle age, he is still fighting these battles but has attained a kind of wisdom and acceptance.



It begs an ending. That last moment – when the boy accepts his lot – is the moment when the final reckoning must come. It has to. We can’t leave the story in a kind of stalemate, a weary acceptance. There needs to be a final battle. There needs to be a more satisfying conclusion.


But where would I find an ending? What does one look like?


In popular storytelling, the victim of childhood trauma carries that trauma with them. It is inescapable. It is fate. The victim will have a miserable adulthood, and frequently an early death. Certainly a happy, well-adjusted family life isn’t really provided for in the script blueprints.


In Forrest Gump, when Jenny returns home, finally herself after her wild, raging rebellion against her sexually abusive father, she doesn’t return home and find domesticity and peace – she returns home to die of AIDS. And that storyline just scratches the surface of what is in store for people like me.


But I don’t want to OD, or die in a fast car. I don’t want to slink off into isolation, sadness and alcoholism or Shane-like outsider status.  I don’t want to start a Natural Born Killers blood-bath.


There is another implied narrative ending that is even more unpalatable: how can I say “And then I had children, and all was healed” when popular culture tattoos into our minds that victims of abuse are fated to become abusers themselves? I’ve covered that in the past. I won’t entertain such fuckholery again. My children are safe from me. So are their friends. I feel sick that I still feel the need to have to write that.


SO — I decided to make my own ending. A really good one. It would cover all the expected bases, and in so doing would be deeply satisfying.


It would be solitary, and in fact would require a massive betrayal of the bonds of family and love that I have somehow managed to develop. That’s good, of course: remember how damaged I am.


There would be the danger of violence. The build-up involves secrecy and border-crossing. Two men meet at a crossroads.


Hopefully, however, there would be demonstrable growth. Hopefully, the abused boy/man would walk away as the credits roll, and we’d feel as if something had been achieved, the great sin had finally been laid to rest, the last words had been said. Morning would come. A new dawn, a new day.


The plan was really simple. I would tell my wife I was going to go for a bike ride, a few days worth. I’d pack a small bag, as usual, and take off somewhere beyond the reach of cellphones, with a promise to return refreshed and smelly. Then I would ride to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and get on a plane to Wellington, New Zealand.


I know where El Pedo, my tormentor, lives, you see. Have for a few years. Facebook occasionally shows you these connections. I know where he lives, where he works. I could leave my house and be at his, in a different hemisphere, in about 15 hours.


But what then?


My plan was to wire myself for sound. Just go and say hi. Just walk up to him and say — can I get you a coffee? — or something of the kind. What would happen? Would he flee? Would he pretend he doesn’t know who I am? Would I say I’m just here to talk to you…  I want an apology, nothing more… I merely want you to say you abused me, because after everything you still deny it happened… I am here to kill you… I am here to forgive you… I am here to tell you my story, and if you try to walk away or even open your fucking mouth I will kerb-stomp your face…


And afterwards I would return to Wellington International Airport and fly back to Los Angeles, and I would tell my wife what happened (or not). Eventually, I would write the end of the story, or I would edit the audio from my trip and use that as something – maybe transcribe it, pair it with court transcriptions from the trial to make… something…


It seems so right! It seems so dramatic! It’s so fucking childish!


There is, however, a different ending. I think it is happening now. I think it is much quieter, much more profound, and no-one has to deal with an international deportation order for grievous assault. It involves my wife. It comes from my family, and from a deeper part of myself that That Man was never able to touch. And right now, it feels like an actual ending. It feels, finally, like healing, and like peace.


Whew. I got this much out. Give me a few days – I’ll see if I can drum up the courage to write the next bit.

Stanford rape case

I finally plucked up the courage tonight to read the text from the survivor in the Stanford University rape case. (https://www.buzzfeed.com/katiejmbaker/heres-the-powerful-letter-the-stanford-victim-read-to-her-ra?utm_term=.lbjBP4B6w#.jb396P9EM)


So much has been said about this. I’m just kinda hollowed out by it. I have nothing to add. Other than that this matters. This woman has stood up and changed the world, even just by a nudge. This is the first time I can recall any statement with the immediacy, the relevance, of this one working itself into our consciousness. I’m shattered by it.


But all of this also must relate to the current Amber Heard/Johnny Depp divorce. We weep for the Stanford victim. Amber Heard is a golddigger.


Fuck you.


Men write their anger on women’s bodies. On children’s bodies. On black bodies. On Shia bodies. The weapons are different:




The victims are the same. The crime is the same. I fucking weep. I weep for all of us who have been assaulted from the inside out by arseholes who NEVER ADMIT WRONGDOING. Who never can see that they are the weakest, the shittiest skidmarks, the filthy, crawling slag left behind by the divine potential of humanity.


How can we weep for one victim, and not the others? How is Stanford Victim top of the pop charts and Amber Heard some kind of Courtney Love?


No. Enough. I believe you. Belief is everything. Faith is everything. Witness is everything.


I believe you.

The only thing that works is distilled rage

Children are exhausting. For all the rewards they bring, they also bring a sleep-deprived, pressure-cooker, no-time-for-yourself, no-time-for-sanity sense of being overwhelmed. Other parents sometimes seem to do it easier, but I feel that that is just what we see in public: that emotional, financial, marital, personal pressures will carve deep channels in every parent’s face.


Children abrade your flesh, even as dad-bod softness accumulates around the midriff. Children carve away at your resilience, even as they mine seams of patience and selflessness that you never knew you possessed. Children are the ultimate oxymoron. Children are the feather of lead:


Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,

O anything of nothing first created!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.


That’s Romeo trying to deal with love. He kinda nails it. And any parent knows what still-waking sleep, that is not what it is is.


My children have left me raw. I have discovered the meaning of love. Of devotion. Of fear. Of laughter. I have discovered what skin is for – holding those newborns on my chest will always be one of the lightning-flash moments scorched onto my memory.


I have also discovered a rage that pulls me almost to the brink of madness. My wife has, on several occasions, had to deal with the blind, frustrated, deeply impotent anger bursting to the surface as I have screamed and ranted and on one occasion done all I could to rip a solid door free from its hinges.


Don’t get me wrong – my fury isn’t directed at them! They’re safe. She’s safe. I’m a damn good father, if I may say so myself. My children are my soul.


But they have forced me to confront something that I maybe knew was there but have tried to suppress, or ignore. We all do.


I have finally had to admit that I contain so much anger, so much atomic fury, that I fear if I let it out I’ll never come back to myself.


I know I’m not for a second unique.


I see it all the time in my work. I teach actors. I try to prompt them, try to get them to lose their fear of that rage I see in so many of them. I tell them it’s okay to give in to it, that the fire they are so afraid of will not, cannot, shall not consume them.


But I’m lying. My own chest contains a bomb. I am terrified of its power.


King Lear, as he tries to swallow his mounting rage, manages to squeak out:


O, how this mother swells up toward my heart!

Hysterica passio – down, thou climbing sorrow,

Thy element’s below!


He nails it. THAT is how I feel. This ‘mother’ that swells up in his chest – (Mother of what? Mother of destruction? A superfertile Sycorax who will deliver up all the devils of fury?) – must be restrained with all his might before it consumes his heart. The fury is born of children – the hysterica passio is a uterine madness, a female insanity.

“down, thou climbing sorrow”…  Anger and sorrow are coupled. After every rage comes the deepest sadness, the deepest loss. Angry and sad are Siamese demon-twins. Tears and loneliness follow a tantrum as sure as sure as the white coldness of Winter follows the bonfired scarlet leaves of Autumn.


I’m angry beyond anger. I’m lonely beyond loneliness. I’m sad to the marrow. I’ll feel better after a nap.


Why write this post after so long? Maybe because Diamanda Galas is back. (nyti.ms/23vOOZK)


Maybe because last week I told someone my story and she just looked at me and asked “what have you done with all that anger?” and it is a question no-one has ever asked me, and I have never asked myself.


Maybe it’s because I finally said out loud, to my wife, that I’m frustrated, and blocked, and sad, and angry; and it isn’t about her, and it isn’t about my children, it’s about me.


Anyway. I wrote this. I’ll post this. I’m sad to be back. I’m sad that the past is still serving its purpose as prologue to the present. I’m sad that I’m back to one-day-at-a-time.


I’ll leave you with a quote from that Times article on Ms Galas:


“To be an artist is to be equal to the present, because mediocrity is so largely rewarded and broadcast ubiquitously, like a swarm of mosquitoes, by obese and tone-deaf accountants, the public is unable to learn about, let alone hear, see and digest the art of the present.


The only thing that works is distilled rage.”


Where have ye wandered?

I’ve been gone. Months now. Not mentally. Mentally, this blog, and what it has taught me, and is teaching me, has been pretty present in my mind. But I haven’t written.

I haven’t written, because I am going to be a father. And in deference to the mother of my children (yes – twins) I have kept that news off the interwebs until now. But it is true, it is happening, it’s past the point of danger and past the point of hiding ‘neath baggy clothes. I shall raise children of my own, due to arrive in early May. To the best of my ability I shall protect them and feed them and raise them to be gentle, loving, and most importantly HAPPY adults. I shall carry them on my shoulders and bounce them on my knee. I shall encourage them to push past doubt and the quotidian fears that prevent people from acting impulsively, and honestly. I shall show them the beauty of the stars and the clouds and seas and trees and art gallereees…

And by the God I give thanks to, I’ll raise them safe from childfuckers and girlkillers and all the goblins that I kill in my dreams. I don’t fear anything when it comes to my children, because they’ll come from me and from my magical, mythical lion-goddess of a wife. My children will be safe because we weren’t. My children will be safe because they are the children of dragon-slayers.

And dragons are secretly cowards.


NOTE: This is the last post I wrote to this blog. I will/should/may write more, but my son and daughter arrived on May 10, 2013, and they’re beautiful, and they’re happy, and they are an ever-unfolding world to me.

If you’re new here, you’ll be best served if you scroll all the way down and start at the very beginning. That way, some of this shit will make sense to you. Spoiler: it’s about child abuse, and the guy ends up having twins.

It amazes me that, several years later, more and more people are still reading this thing. I know from numerous people who have contacted me that it means something to them. I’m so grateful.

Change one life, change the world. 

the ache

I’ve written a few things since I last posted. I haven’t put ’em up. Maybe I will…


Life has been grand. Life IS grand. Life changes, the creases in wet sand become the geos of the sea-front cliffs. And tempus, that simple commodity we take so for granted in our earliest years, suddenly seems to fugit like a motherfucking swift on crack. time… time… time…


I listened to Townes van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen this morning. Racing in the Streets. It suited a yearning, aching dissatisfaction that set in me last night, a bubbling scream deep in my soul right now that wants to tear through my skin and run naked into the desert, out into the waves, and up into the heavens. I don’t want to grow up. I don’t want to be stuck in this house not creating, not living life close to the skin and bone of it all.


Bruce said it pretty well:

“…but now there’s wrinkles around my baby’s eyes
And she cries herself to sleep at night
When I come home the house is dark
She sighs, “Baby did you make it all right,”
She sits on the porch of her Daddy’s house
But all her pretty dreams are torn,
She stares off alone into the night
With the eyes of one who hates for just being born
For all the shut down strangers and hot rod angels,
Rumbling through this promised land
Tonight my baby and me, we’re gonna ride to the sea
And wash these sins off our hands.”


I got handsful of sin. I got sin and ache and need and love and pain all over me, and I need some holy water from the ocean to wash me clean. I need to break me a law, to earn me a bruise. It’s that cutter feeling.




(start this clip at 2:30)

Kyrie Eleison

Execution Halted for Killer Claiming Abuse by Victim

Published: September 28, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania judge on Friday granted a stay of execution and a new sentencing hearing to a convicted murderer who was scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, via Associated Press

Terrance Williams


The scheduled execution of the prisoner, Terrance Williams, 46, had prompted pleas for clemency from thousands of people who argued that he should be spared because he had been sexually abused by the man he killed.

On Friday, Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ruled that Mr. Williams should be spared, saying prosecutors had withheld evidence from the defense showing that Mr. Williams’s victim, Amos Norwood, whom he beat to death in 1984, had homosexual relationships with minors, including Mr. Williams. Such evidence, the judge ruled, could have led the jury at Mr. Williams’s 1986 trial to vote for a penalty other than death.

Defense lawyers contended that newly discovered evidence of Mr. Norwood’s sexual orientation supported their claim that Mr. Williams, who was 18 at the time, killed him because Mr. Norwood, who was 56, had abused him from the age of 13, and not because of a robbery, as prosecutors argued at the trial.

The new evidence — which was given to defense lawyers for the first time last weekend after 28 years in police files — was sufficient to demand a stay and a new sentencing but not a new trial, the judge said.

“This court is granting a stay of execution and this court is granting a new penalty phase,” the judge said at the conclusion of her 45-minute statement from the bench.

Unless the State Supreme Court overturns Judge Sarmina’s stay of execution before Wednesday, Mr. Williams will not be put to death that day, said Ronald Eisenberg, an assistant district attorney. If the execution is carried out, it would be Pennsylvania’s first in 13 years, and the first since 1962 of an inmate who did not choose to die.

The Philadelphia district attorney, R. Seth Williams, said he would immediately appeal the ruling to the State Supreme Court. He attacked the decision as unjust, and accused Judge Sarmina of overlooking the fact that Mr. Williams had never testified that he was abused.

The district attorney ridiculed the judge’s statement that prosecutors suppressed evidenceabout Mr. Norwood’s sexual activities.

“How in the world could the prosecutor have ‘suppressed’ information that was in the defendant’s own head?” Mr. Williams asked at a news conference.

Shawn Nolan, a lawyer for Terrance Williams, expressed confidence the State Supreme Court would uphold Judge Sarmina’s ruling.

“We do not believe that the court will tolerate the prosecutor’s actions in this case, especially when life or death are at issue,” Mr. Nolan said in a statement.

Sympathy for the Devil

Here’s an article that is absolutely necessary reading on the topic of paedophilia: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2012/09/stop_childhood_sexual_abuse_how_to_treat_pedophilia_.html


It strikes me at the conflicted core of my experience: are the bad guys sick? Evil? Helpless? Does our communal vilification of them actually serve any purpose? Is pederasty even inherently bad? I am a moral relativist – if boy-buggery was accepted and encouraged in ancient Athens, why shouldn’t it be accepted now? Is there anything actually wrong with sexualizing children at such a young age, or is our desperate protection of childhood innocence just a hangover from the preciousness of Victorian morality and moralizing that created the notion (nay – the cult) of ‘childhood’ in the first place?


I have said before, and I’ll say it again: the acid burn of victimhood is the belief that something about you yourself brought this abuse on – that if you were involved in this most hideous, foul, and unspeakably offensive act, you are somehow to blame. And if, blackest of black, you actually had the physical sensations that occur when someone – say – fellates you, and those physical sensations, isolated from the situation, are pleasant – why then, you yourself are hideous, foul, and unspeakably offensive.


We have a reflexive response to the idea of paedophilia that is, perhaps, therefore detrimental to the victims. Perhaps a more nuanced view, a less repulsed, less revolted societal view of the problem of buggery would actually help those children who have been sexually assaulted deal with and accept their experiences in a more integrated, less damaging way. And hey – if we look deeper, is our revulsion real, or created? If we were truly revolted, why would stories of abuse sell so well? Why do the lurid stories of Michael Jackson, Roseanne Barr, Rosie O’Donnell and their like SELL SO MUCH FUCKING AIRTIME? We’re not revolted. We’re fascinated… oh, but that is another topic…


Anyway – these are questions. The hallmark of wisdom is an open mind. And I ain’t wise, but I know what it looks like, so I’ll strive… So – read that article above. It talks about men who are “minor-attracted” – who look at and desire kids – but who also don’t want to be pedos. Or who want to no longer be pedos. And it is eye-opening, and mind-blowing, and challenging. The take-away is that if we want to save kids, if we want to stand by our words and beliefs that paedophilia is the scourge we all act like it is, we should help men like that with all the support and aid we can give them.


I know it’s really hard to believe, but once upon a time, before Will and Grace, homosexuality was considered sick, and vile, and evil. But we have come to accept it… To celebrate it. Apart from the occasional Pray The Gay Away missionary bigots, we actually don’t really give a fuck about it. The thing is: the gays tend to shag other grown gays. Just like the straights, the gays seem to prefer getting their bang on with other consenting adults (it’s the straights that perform most of the prison rapes). Our society has, in the space of a generation, realised in regard to homosexuality that sexual desire isn’t a choice. Why should that be different for those who are attracted to children? Surely the thing that makes pedos nasty is that they tend to diddle individuals who have no power to consent, or more specifically, no power to decline the diddling. So if they don’t do the diddling, are they really still bad?


Put it this way: Let’s say I admire the tattooed, shaven-haired waitress at the local coffeeshop. If she populates my sexual fantasies, the only person to take exception would be my wife (and I know there will be an entertaining conversation about this when she reads that last sentence). Liking her is fine. Lusting after her is fine. However, if I follow her home one night and rape her – that is bad. And understanding and accepting that distinction – between those who desire, and those who act on their desires, is perhaps a key to the future of our preventing the “minor-attracted” from becoming the “minor-rapers”.


I have written an email to the organisation that works with these men, and asked if I can do anything to help. Because a man who battles to be good is more saintly than a man who just is good. A man who wants to fuck children but doesn’t isn’t sick, or bad, or evil. He’s brave.  Friend – I salute you.

Killing the bad guy

It’s so appealing. It’s part of out culture, perhaps part of our humanness. We’ve killed bad guys as long as we’ve been killing. David walloping Goliath is a classic Good Guy/Bad Guy story – and Goliath wasn’t even all that bad, as I can remember. He was just big and on the other team. In the US today, we also have the pleasure of joining our forebears in celebration the killing of Bad Guys by doing it ourselves, as a society. We take the bad guys, put them in prison for a long time, then finally knock ‘em off.


Killing is a hard habit to get out of. Remember that Jesus guy that people get all excited about? He said something pretty clear about how we shouldn’t kill people. His dad had his bearded mountaintop secretary write the same thing in stone. We kept killing. When Rome decided to become Christian there was a whole heap of issues that had to be worked out – one of the big ones being the philosophical and theological contortions the churchmen had to twist themselves into in order to turn a peaceful religion into the state religion of a pretty scarily warlike people. Soldiers marching under Jesus had to have a reason to ignore the central tenets of their faith – and those early church leaders did such a bang-up job of it we ended up with crusades, inquisitions, sectarian wars… and the ‘pro-life’ executioners and war-mongers who wave the big Cross today.


We like killing. I ain’t going to go all Konrad Lorenz and discuss the nature of it and all. I just think it bears saying.


All I’m getting to is that if we like killing, and we especially like killing bad guys, the probability of Terry Williams’ execution is just a bit too darkly ironic. We, as a society, will kill a bad guy for killing a bad guy. When we do it – it’s fine. Their guilt is Beyond Reasonable Doubt (how wrong that has proven to be of late). We KNOW they were bad, so we knock ‘em off.


However – it seems that Terry Williams would also have known Beyond Reasonable Doubt what those men had done to him. Years of abuse by power figures fucking him – until his anger exploded? YES it is wrong. YES I think it is bad to kill. But how dare we kill him for doing exactly what we are doing in turn?


I’m a bit triggered by all this. Not so good at the words and thoughts thing right now. So fill some in for me, willya?:





What have we learned?

“They should kill the fucker”

Black 18-year-old

Justice, justice, justice.




Terry Williams

Well – this one raises some issues.
My friends – if you feel that you can lend your voice to this campaign, please do. Go visit http://www.terrywilliamsclemency.com/ for more information
Pennsylvania is preparing to execute Terrance “Terry” Williams, a man who suffered years of physical and sexual abuse by older males, eventually killing two of his abusers while in his teens. 
Mr. Williams, known to his friends and family as “Terry,” is on death row for a crime he committed three and one-half months after his 18th birthday. On that tragic day, Terry and another teenager killed a man. As the sentencing jury heard, Terry also committed another killing five months earlier at the age of 17. What the jury did not hear was that both of the men had sexually abused Terry, and both crimes directly related to Terry’s history of sexual abuse by older males, which began when he was six years old.
Terry suffered extreme physical and sexual abuse
Terry’s abuse continued throughout his adolescence. One of his abusers was his former public schoolteacher. That abuse caused Terry such intense pain and confusion that he began cutting himself and engaging in other acts of self-mutilation.
Widespread support for clemency in this case
Terry’s case has been the subject of an unprecedented outpouring of support from prominent groups and individuals across Pennsylvania. Child advocates, victims’ rights groups, former prosecutors, former judges, faith leaders, mental health professionals, law professors and others have expressed their support for commuting Terry’s sentence to life without parole.
What the jury didn’t know
The jury that sentenced Terry to death never heard that both of the men who Terry killed, like other sexual predators, were significantly older men who used their positions of power and authority to prey on vulnerable underage boys. Terry was one of those boys. In fact, the night before he committed the crime for which he was sentenced to death, Terry was violently sexually assaulted by the man he killed – a man who had been sexually abusing Terry for years, and who used his position in the local church to prey on other boys.
The jury never heard that, like so many other children, the physical and emotional abuse Terry suffered at the hands of his mother and the abandonment he felt from the father he never knew made Terry an easy target for sexually-predatory older men. The jury also never heard how the sexual and psychological traumas that Terry suffered directly impacted his thinking and actions at the time of the killings, throughout the trial, and to this very day. As Dr. David Lisak, a nationally recognized expert on child sexual abuse, explained, “Terry Williams suffered a succession of sustained traumas over the course of his childhood that utterly undermined his development and were directly related to the crimes for which he is now incarcerated. His mother brutally abused him, both physically and emotionally, and so damaged [him] that he desperately sought the attention and approval of an older male, someone who could replace the father he never knew. His desperate need was a vulnerability that drew sexual predators to him. From the age of six Terry was systematically abused and sexually assaulted by a succession of sexual predators, including one of his teachers. He felt intense shame and disgust, and loathed himself. And over time, some of that hate began to turn towards the men who [were] preying on him.”
Terry’s experience and current cases of child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania
In recent years, Pennsylvanians were horrified to learn that so many young people were sexually assaulted by clergymen. The horrors of child sexual abuse in this state continued when former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky was charged and convicted of sex crimes against young boys. Without intervention, the effects of childhood sexual abuse can have lasting, profound, and tragic consequences to the victims and those around them. Prosecutors, judges, legislators, and our Governor Tom Corbett have all rightfully acknowledged that much more could and should have been done to prevent the physical and psychological trauma wrought upon the victims abused by the clergy and Sandusky. Terry Williams never received any counseling or mental health treatment to deal with the effects of the abuse he suffered. No one – not a parent, not a teacher, not a doctor or clergy person – came to his aid. Instead, many of the people who should have helped Terry continued to prey on him.
​Like so many adolescent victims of sexual abuse, Terry felt intense shame that kept him from talking about what had happened to him. Terry’s history of sexual abuse was not presented at his capital trial because Terry’s lawyer failed to conduct any meaningful investigation into Terry’s background and ignored obvious evidence of abuse. While courts agreed that Terry’s lawyer failed him, those courts also said that evidence of sexual abuse would not have made a difference to the jury. However, in sworn affidavits, jurors who sentenced Terry have acknowledged that they would not have voted for a death sentence had they known about the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, the abuse he suffered at the hands of the men he killed, and the psychological impact of that abuse. In addition, several jurors have stated that they voted for Terry to be put to death only because they mistakenly believed that if they did not sentence Terry to death he would later become eligible for release on parole. In truth, both now and at the time of his sentencing, a life sentence in Pennsylvania meant that Terry Williams would never have been eligible for parole. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is the only state in the country that does not require the judge to instruct the jury that a life sentence means life without the possibility of parole, and no such instruction was given in Terry’s case.
The victim’s widow supports clemency for Terry
In addition to the jurors, the victim’s widow does not want Terry executed for her husband’s killing. She has stated that she supports commuting his death sentence to life without the possibility of parole.
Terry is deeply remorseful for his actions. There are no excuses or justifications for the crimes he committed. Nonetheless, the abuse he suffered provides significant insight into the betrayed, traumatized, and impaired thinking that led him to commit those terrible crimes. Pennsylvania should not execute Terry Williams because:
– Terry suffered horrific sexual and physical abuse during his childhood and no one intervened to get him help when he was boy;
– The jury did not know about his history of childhood sexual abuse and trauma;
– The jury did not know that the men he killed were his abusers;
– Terry was only 18 years old at the time of the crime for which he was sentenced to death and the jury did not know about the psychological impact of sexual abuse on someone as young as Terry;
– Jurors did not know that he would never be eligible for parole;
– Jurors have stated that they would not have voted for death if they had known about his sexual abuse and ineligibility for parole; and
– The victim’s widow does not want Terry executed for her husband’s killing. 
For all these reasons, we urge the members of the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, and Governor Tom Corbett to commute Terry’s sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.