Aside from the obviously icky element of discussing a man making lewd advances toward an underling (and I don't yet know if the evidence is anywhere near solid in the IM stuff, but, by the actions Mr. Foley has taken in the past couple of days, it can't be good on him), I have something else on my mind.
Something nastier than Foley and the accompanying political sniping.
A good friend has been going through hell, these past few months, since she played Good Samaritan last winter. She has the full custodial care of a really bright boy, and babysits -- frequently for weeks at a time, it seems -- the young children of her sibling. In the midst of the chaos of last winter, my friend (we will call her Emma, for privacy's sake, until she is willing to make public the full details and until the local court finishes with all its nonsense. She would go public today, but she has a lot on her plate) was asked by one of her nephews if a sixteen-year-old friend could come stay at her place for a while, since "his parents had beaten him up and thrown him out, so he had no place else to go."
Emma, of course, said yes. She even got permission from the parents, along with power of attorney and custodial rights, so that she could act as the parent in time of crisis. She did everything she could to make him feel at home. She loved her nephew, wanted to make him happy, and believed (still does) it was her role as a Christian to care for those who are less fortunate.
It was March before she learned that her long-term house-guest had molested the younger (pre-middle-school aged) boy in her care. Naturally, the first thing she did was to call the social worker, then call her best friend, then sit down and plan how to deal with the problem. If this was a one-shot deal, so to speak, she would see to it that both boys received help immediately. Plus, as a precaution, she was going to have to separate the two boys. The older one would have to go to another house. And, a police report would have to be filed. Those are the inflexible rules, when you run a home with kids not your own, and a complaint of sexual misconduct is made.
Still, Emma and I promised we would not be angry -- we only wanted to make sure that neither boy ended up hurt in the future by inaction today.
Without waiting for the rest of the conversation, the older boy ran out the door.
The younger boy sat with us, while we explained to him that we knew he hadn't done anything wrong, and made assurances, and so on. That done, Emma said she needed time alone with the boy, just to make it clear how much she cared. I left, but remained by the phone when I got home. It was a hellishly long day.
Emma thought she had things more or less under control by the time the police arrived, but the young man, it seems, is a damned fine actor.
The young man returned with marks on his neck, saying (after the reponding police officer noticed the marks) that he had tried to hang himself. He was taken to mental facilities nearby for forced observation. He has been given various diagnoses, depending upon which expert has seen him. The one on the state record is "delusional schizophrenic", but if this is the case, he's awfully high-functioning -- he has a job, he goes to his classes, he keeps his bent out of the public eye, he has the ability to make long-term plans and follow through... it's impressive, for a complete basket case.
Example: In the days subsequent, he has had a restraining order issued against him. He observes this limit to the letter, but by no means to the spirit. He has stalked other family members. He walks by their house repeatedly throughout the course of each day. He has beaten up one of the half-brothers of Emma's charge. The children are now limited -- they can not go to the playground nearby, because he will follow them and menace them, since it has been made clear that they will not give him the other gratification he wants.
Recently, it has come to light that the molestation of Emma's younger charge was happening virtually every night for the two-plus months he was under her roof, as he pressured the boy into oral sex and that he be allowed to do the same to the boy. Not only that, but that young man had approached another young boy who is sometimes in Emma's care. He has been seen in town in the company of boys as young as five years old.
This young man should not ever be left alone with any child or children.
Emma is in the middle of all this, with legal procedings coming up again, and with weekly -- sometimes more frequent -- visits for the young boy to the children's counselor half an hour away.
I wish I could do more, right now, than simply be Emma's friend. I wish I could name names and point fingers, and make it all stop, so that one neat little boy could have the good, happy, uncomplicated life he deserves. I wish I could wave my hand and make everything easy for Emma. But I can't. And this whole thing will keep on hurting for years to come.
Therefore, these Foley headlines, in all their bizarre, lopsided, political perspective, are unhelpful, to say the least. Foley's smutty chats with teens are small concerns, compared to unwarranted "hands-on" action against a small child. But it's still ripping at fresh scabs.