Around 6:00 AM on January 23, 2008, I was visited by several Department of Homeland Security agents who presented me with a search warrant and searched every inch of my apartment for computers and anything containing computer files.
I knew why they had come and to my surprise, my most prevailing emotion was one of relief.
I thought for sure they would understand that I had suffered from a serious Internet pornography addiction which had eventually digressed to include some publicly available content that violated child pornography laws.
I thought for sure they would also recognize all the recovery steps I had taken and the accountability measures I had put in place to enable myself to live free from that addiction. The agents left with two of my laptop computers, both of which had Covenant Eyes software installed on them, which was sending weekly Accountability Reports of my Internet activity to my wife, a church leader, and a twelve step group sponsor.
I had supposedly erased all the pornographic content and all traces of my former Internet surfing activity from both of those computers. With the help of God, church leaders, support groups, a therapist, and different Christian online recovery forums I had managed to abstain from looking at any Internet porn for about three months prior to this visit.
In short, I felt like I was finally getting a handle on this pornography problem that had perplexed and disturbed me for most of my life but had really become unmanageable with the advent of high speed Internet.
The Downward Spiral
I had recognized this as a problem early on and engaged in lengthy telephone calls with my Internet providers asking them if I could somehow get Internet without porn. Their answer, of course, was that they can’t be responsible for any content and that I could just not look at it. Not only was nothing done to prevent every Internet user from having unfiltered access to every form of legal porn, but access to every form of illegal porn—of which, I eventually found, there was no shortage.
Adult porn had already made me more and more accustomed to viewing depictions of other people violating every moral standard I had ever been taught growing up. I regarded it as harmless entertainment. The message I told myself was not to be disturbed by anything I looked at because the people depicted were legal consenting adults. However, I definitely witnessed a marked progression over the years in the degree of depravity routinely displayed in adult porn. Every year additional acts that were previously rare or non-existent became the standard norm. The industry is always financially motivated to push the envelope further to accommodate the demands of the porn consuming population who are ever progressing in their porn addictions.
Unfortunately, the illegal porn industry has all the same sciences at its disposal that the legal porn industry uses to ensnare those who might have a vulnerability to it, and the Internet provides them with the ideal marketing and distribution platform. The consumer is carefully led down a path of first viewing pictures of clothed underage models that progressively get younger and are also progressively presented in less clothing and more suggestive poses. All such sites claim to be entirely legal and they inevitably cite federal statutes to that effect. The pictures are purposefully designed to subtly arouse male interest but leave open rationalizations that the models are clothed and that the sites are purportedly legal. Eventually there is a progression into nude pictures of underage models which also claim to be legal “art” as opposed to illegal “child pornography,” with those pictures getting progressively more suggestive and less likely to actually be legal until there is an ultimate descent into viewing unquestionably illegal content.
The Consequences of Child Pornography
For anyone who may have or may be at risk of going down a similar path, I hope what I am about to share will motivate you to get the help you need now and that you never have to experience the same fate. I quickly learned that the federal criminal justice system is primarily interested in apprehending and punishing crime. Penalties for receiving and/or possessing child pornography have become very severe, with jail sentences often exceeding those applied to people convicted of rape, child molestation, and other direct hands on sexual offenses.
The most likely sentence for a first time federal child pornography possession/receiving offender who has no prior criminal history is at least five years in jail. Whether one goes to jail or not, dealing with federal child pornography charges will certainly be no small ordeal. Also, if you have ever looked at child pornography, you probably should consider having your computer destroyed entirely because everything you have ever looked at on your computer, no matter how long ago or how securely deleted, can and will be recovered with the powerful forensic software that they have. Don’t believe any claims by software providers that they can delete anything to the point where it can’t possibly be recovered by federal law enforcement authorities. The real federal government procedure for permanently erasing computer files is complete physical destruction of the hardware.
The following are some of the things you might expect to experience, using my case as an example:
- $50,000+ in defense attorney fees
- $1,600 per month on court mandated therapy as a pretrial condition—I attend two individual sessions and one group session each week
- A requirement to waive all right to keep anything shared in therapy confidential—the therapist will be required to write regular detailed reports about what you share and will also have his/her credibility called into question if the prosecution finds that you failed to mention anything remotely considered to be potentially relevant to your case.
- Computer monitoring which you will be required to pay for
- No cell phones with Internet access
- Electronic monitoring and related curfew requirements—must be home by certain time each night and at all times on weekends; activities outside the home will be limited to work and therapy only (there is a monthly fee for this monitoring)
- Psychological evaluations by therapists of the prosecution’s choosing because they will inherently distrust any reports rendered by the therapist you regularly see. Some people are required to repeat this exercise multiple times because the prosecution might refuse to accept favorable reports from their own specialists. I only had to do this once, and I received a favorable report. However, I know another individual who was required to repeat this process four times and received four favorable reports, none of which influenced anyone at all. The prosecution didn’t get the answer they were looking for so they ignored all such reports.
- Loss of passport and no travel outside immediate geographic area—must quit job if travel is required.
I have been living under the above conditions for more than three years now. I have been fortunate enough to get the receiving charge dropped which requires a five year mandatory minimum jail sentence. This gives the judge the option of sentencing me to a minimum of five years probation only. However, the prosecution is still recommending between six-and-a-half and eight years in jail. I am praying that the judge will give substantial consideration to the fact that I have been in the community under pretrial conditions for over three years now without incidence and that incarcerating me is not a necessary measure to protect the public and to manage my future behavior. In any event, I will unavoidably have to register as a “sex offender” for at least 20 years and be subject to any restrictions and stigma associated with such label.
Finding Joy Again
It has been a long and emotionally exhausting process and it initially plunged me into a state of near suicidal depression that endured for most of the first two years and nearly resulted in the loss of my business, which I had been trying to manage while deeming my future to be utterly hopeless. I lived in constant dread of the day when I would have to tell all my employees, clients, and everyone else that benefits from my company’s existence that I have to go to jail. I wanted more than ever to die but didn’t consider suicide to be an option either.
I began to fervently pray to God, telling him that I didn’t think I could continue on like this and that I desperately needed His help. At the point where my utter destruction seemed eminent and my depression was at its worst, I experienced the comforting power of Jesus Christ. My depression was replaced by indescribable joy. I felt his unconditional love and my life had new meaning. None of the outside circumstances have changed, but he has given me profound new perspectives and a new capacity to deal with my circumstances. With Christ as the foundation, my happiness is no longer contingent on the outcome of my case or any outside circumstance. I may still be required to serve jail time, but I won’t have to be an unhappy inmate who lacks hope. During this past summer, I also significantly expanded the number of people who I have told about my case and have been amazed at the love and support that has been extended to me since I have done that. Several have written wonderful letters to the judge in my support.
While this experience ultimately made me desperate and humble enough to connect with the true source of peace and happiness and also helped me appreciate that I actually have real friends and loved ones, it isn’t something I would wish on anybody else.
If you have a pornography problem, you can get help now.
Your experiences are all too familiar to me. I have a three-part blog here on covenant eyes, titled “The Snare of the Fowler.” My heart goes out to you and I will be praying for you. I appreciate your testimony. I have recently released my autobiography, also called The Snare Is Broken. It is available through Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. My spiritual journey may be one that could be helpful to you. I share this not to sell a book, but to minister to you. God bless.
Thank you for your response and for drawing my attention to your the blogs containing your story. I had read many of the blogs on this site but hadn’t come accross yours. You are right in that your story almost exactly parallels with mine with the main exception being knowledge of the outcome.
Like you, I have been fortunate to have a wife, family, church leaders, friends and others who have continued to love and provide support throughout this trying time. In each case, I was terrified of revealing this information as none such people as far as I know have ever gone down that road and most are upstanding Christians who are anti-pornography. I have found, however, that they have an amazing capacity to identify with and love me — the sinner. They are anti-pornography because they understand how ensnaring and destructive it can be and they do have a sincere desire to help those who acknowlege being trapped in its snare and humbly ask for help.
I have found the same to be true with Christ. I used to view my pornography problem as the grand obstacle between me and His love and redemption. If I could just overcome that sin, I could come unto Him and qualify for redemption. Because I couldn’t seem to do that, I viewed myself as hopelessly cut off and it was hard to be enthusiastic about His gospel while thinking salvation wasn’t available to me. The real answer was to come unto Christ as I was, sins and all, believing He could heal me and asking Him to do that. This situation humbled me to the point of having virtually no other choice but to do that and for that I am extremely thankful. I am now grateful that I was plunged into such extreme dispair to the point of seeing no reason to go on living and that when, I reached out to Him, He was there with His redeeming love. I would have never been humble enough to reach out of Him like that if I hadn’t actually experienced everything I experienced. I now see how He was there all along and that it was me who had distanced myself from Him not the other way around.
In the physical sense, my future is very uncertain and, whatever the outcome, I will have a rough road ahead of me but I am much happier now than I ever was before. I was at the peak of my career and material success back at the time of my arrest and, on the outside, I had everything going for me. Inside, I was miserable and lived in morbid fear of losing everything I had worked so hard to acheive. This kept me obsessively working to ensure that would never happen as if was actually in control of anything. Losing virtually everything throughout the course of the last three years while dealing with this case turned out to be what I really needed to find and tap into the real source of joy.
Is very scary that we live in a world that tolerates, glammorizes and encourages people to view pornography and also does nothing to prevent illegal content from being freely available at the click of a mouse but than shows no mercy to those who come across and get ensnared by that kind of content as well. It is scary that every porn addict is just a mouse click away from potentially committing a serious federal crime that can send him/her to jail for a long time. I do think more should be done to communicate the real potential legal consequences to porn viewers who I am sure are widely ignorant of the real degree of legal risk they are taking. If still penalties are going to serve as any kind of deterrent, people need to know what those could be in advance.
I will also check out your website and related resources. Once again, thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate knowing that I am not the only person who is or who has gone through this and that there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I commend you for your book and your ministry in this area. It is much need and I hope to do something similar someday.
Unbelievable parallels in our experiences. I refer you to 1 Peter 5:6 and 10. It was 3 1/2 years of waiting before I found out what was going to happen in my case. The references to being exalted in due time and restored after we have suffered awhile, were a blessing. Also, Psalm 37 says to fret not, trust, commit, rest, and wait patiently. Very wise counsel to anyone going through turmoil.
Also, please see http://www.brokensnares.wordpress.com—my recently started blog site, if you are able to use internet. Blessings!
Thanks. I will check out the verses and your blog site. It has been 3 years and 2 months for me now and the next court appearance will be sentencing but I don’t know when that will be. I am just told it will be soon but I thought the same six months ago us well. I really didn’t expect to still not even have a scheduled date as of now. I doubt it will be this month because we are half way through it already.
I am very thankful to have had as much time as I have had. My real spiritual and therapy breakthroughs occurred during the 2nd half of last year so I feel that three years was exactly what I needed to confidently be able to say they I am an entirely new person compared to before. Before the breakthroughs occurred, I may not have been looking at pornography anymore but I was so depressed and living in such a constant state of terror that it was hard for me to honestly say that I thought any of the therapy was really benefiting me. Now there is a day and night difference between me now and me then and I can clearly see and point out what those differences are.
A very noticeable one is that my lifelong socially crippling afflictions such as extreme shyness, fear of public speaking and writer’s anxiety are gone completely. I can comfortably talk to anyone now and get up and give powerful speeches from the heart without preparation. I thought I would never be able to do those things and now I can with ease. The ability to do this came instantly the day I came to really feel the love and redeeming power of Christ.
At this point, however, I really would like it to occur sooner rather than later as there are now also a lot of crucial life direction decisions that are on hold awaiting the outcome of my sentencing.
My heart goes out to you, my friend. In all honesty, the “Sex Offender” scarlet letter will be the biggest challenge for you in the long term. It will be difficult to escape feelings that you are the scum of the earth at times. But don’t ever let consume you. You are more then that, You can be a great person again, even if it is hard for the rest of the world to see it. Just keep your family and your church close, they will support you and understand you. Also remember that God always knows what kind of person you truly are.
The issue of online child pornography is much greater then some people realize, I think. This is another reason parents need to stay on top of what their kids are doing online. When I was a teenager, like many others, I viewed pornography online as well. Of course, being 14/15, the main thing I wanted to see was images of other people my age. I didn’t think anything of it, to me the term “Child Porn” meant images of little kids that only sick perverts looked at, not what I was looking at. I know I wasn’t the only guy my age with the same attitude too.
Considering how the law handles teenagers “sexting” right now, thank the Lord I never got flagged by the FBI. But today, any young teenager who is free to wander the smuttiest areas of the Internet is easily tip-toeing through a minefield this way. They have no idea that they could very well ruin their entire lives if they’re not careful.
Yes, I think the saddest thing about the current sex laws and related public registry requirements is the extent to which teenagers are ending up on the same registries that were meant to protect them and having their lives ruined as a result. Society is right to be concerned about teenage sex and most parents hope that their teenage sons and daughters will wait at least until they are older and preferably until they are legally married. However, it is not uncommon for teenagers to ignore the counsel of even the best parents and caring others in this area and many end up being sexually active regardless of their upbringing and the best efforts of the adults in their life to protect them from going down that road. It is sad that such regularly occurs but I don’t think heavy handed law enforcement and public banishment via the sex offender registry is the best way to deal with it when it does. They should do more to consider factors such as closeness in age and whether the encounter was consensual. Many states do not legally distinguish between statutory rape and forcible rape but the later is clearly a more abusive experience from the perspective of the victim. There are teenagers on the registries who are listed as level three predators alongside 50 year old child rapists because the laws don’t make those distinctions. There is at least one such person who is now married and has four children with his “victim”. His victim was his girlfriend who was a couple of years younger than him and below the age of consent at the time. Her mom reported their sexual activity to the police to teach her daughter a lesson having no comprehension of the consequences that would be would befall on her daughter’s boyfriend. Internet pornography is just one of the legal mine fields that many teenagers unknowingly tread through. I don’t think most people are aware of how risky teenage sex can be from a legal standpoint and how at risk their teenage children are of potentially doing something that places them on the sex offender registry. People like to think that everyone on the registry is a dangerous incurable predatory pedophile but such is definitely not the case.
I’ve read your post very powerful. Thank you for sharing. My son just turned 17 this past may, and while visiting his father, my new husband and I had a horrible awakening. We were going to the gym and decided not to go because my husband didn’t feel well. We were laying on the sofa and my dog started parking. I looked out the window. There was a squad of police officer dressed up like they they were going to war. I froze not knowing what to do there shot guns And flash lights were pointing at our heads. I assumed someone was in our house. They raid our house and asked us where the computers were. I pointed and told them where they were at. I even told them where my sons computer was. They checked all of our computers and my sons computer was the one full of porn all types of porn including children. My emotions were of rage,upset, and scared Then it hit me I couldn’t do anything as a parent. Now my son has to deal with all of this and I can’t be the one to punish him. I can’t protect him. My son is 17 but mentally he is 13, he doesn’t even want to drive. He is a good kid but has always been pushed away because of his ADHD. He may have a handful of friends, but he just enjoys being home, he doesn’t do drugs he plays video games, he not disrespectful anyone even if they bully him. He has never hurt anyone. But now they want to prosecute my son as an adult, because of this site he went to that shares files, he did not know this was happening this site is almost like lime wire. You view a file and it goes to a folder and then anyone can can down load that file. My son did not know it was wrong, he did not think these. Children were victims, he told me he found it odd. My son new he would get in trouble by me but he didn’t know it was against law. The Internet is very bad for kids because its only a click away to access anything. I blame myself for not educating my son for the evil behind the Internet. I blame myself for not putting a parental guidance on it. If I would have taken those steps this would have ever happened. My son can not survive in a prison, he only weighs 105 and looks like he’s 13. Now my new husband doesn’t want my son to ever live with us, I know he’s scared this will happen again, but not if we take all electronics away from him. He wants to protect his children, and I can’t blame him, but my son will always be my son, and I can’t not walk away from him. I’m scared for my son, and there is nothing I can do he would never hurt a child or anything at that. I think the law has to let parents be parents and as long as we are taking corrective measures, they should not be labeled as a sex offender, and a criminal for first time offense. Kids do the most dumbest thing without knowing the out come. Please pray for my son and I will keep you in my prayers too. God bless you!
I know I missed spell words and left some out, I should have proof read before sending, sorry.. I’m just not in the right state of mind.
I don’t know how I ended up here since child porn was never my weakness. I can see how it could be an attraction though since many of us have weaknesses and tendencies and don’t really know why. All it takes is stumbling across a sampling of something that stirs us and we become hooked. I hate to say it but my tendencies have been towards something that most people would think was really gross, and that’s images of women having sex with animals. I know…very gross. I don’t know why but it has held my interest since I was about 13. I am now 57 years old and just recently felt like I hit rock bottom and became fed-up with myself. I have been crying out to God over the past six months and I really think it is helping. I first realized what a big sin it was and that it really is a scheme of Satan to ensnare us. I then realized that I could go to hell for this. I also realized I was watching this in order to relieve the stresses of life. I sincerely asked God to forgive me and then felt an enormous amount of love for him solely for making such forgiveness an available option. The thankfulness I had made me want to do what was right from now on. I now look at all porn as a snare of the devil and have been able to retain that ideal. To this point I have also been able to relax and put all stresses of life on Gods shoulders. I am so thankful. Not having such a burden makes life much more fruitful, and hopefully will save my soul from hell. I totally have pity and sympathy for those people ensnared. My recommendation is that at any cost please, find a way out. Don’t give up.
Check this website:
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I was recently raided by the police for viewing child pornography, and the last week has been the most difficult time of my entire life. I’m a fan of anime (Japanese cartoons); most anime fans know of the “loli” type characters, the young, often underage girls drawn with an unusual mix of undeveloped youth and overpronounced sexuality. These loli girls are in practically every other work of anime and manga (Japanese comics) right now, ranging from the innocent portrayal of generally realistic little girls to promiscuous “1,000 year old” vampire girls wearing outfits with barely 2 square inches of material. The sexualization of characters in Japanese media is so ridiculously driven that it’s hard to find an episode of a show that doesn’t feature at least a shot of a girl’s panties or reference thereof, and given that probably 90% of anime is set in highschool, the grounds are set for showcasing underage debauchery. Needless to say, schoolgirls are currently a very popular and acceptable character type, while loli characters have risen to almost as acceptable levels of use in the media.
Being a single guy out of high school with no job, no social skills to speak of, no friends, and some internet access, it’s not to hard to figure out what I invested quite a bit of time in. I’d go to the library every day for an hour of internet, and spend the rest of the day watching TV or movies. Eventually I scraped up enough money to buy a used computer, and it came with a wireless adapter which enabled me to pick up the surrounding unsecured wifi signals. Free of the time and privacy restraints of the library, I consumed loads of pornography; I had previously bussed home some coveted materials from the library computers, but now I was able to look at whatever I wanted on the occasions where I got a good signal. And being a fan of anime, I looked at a lot of fanart of characters from anime/manga. Loli characters became one of my favorite genres. The style of art encapsulated cuteness and sexiness at the same time, and the characters (when not drawn in outright explicit situations) were posed in unsubtly suggestive positions. Whatever the type of pornography I would view, I tended to view it in long sessions, opening dozens, even hundreds of tabs over the course of several hours; clicking on thumbnails in galleries to load in new tabs, then getting distracted by new tags/image keywords and searching for those, and repeating the process. Later on I got into flash games, usually featuring the loli characters in some way.
Eventually I made a friend at the library’s anime club, and a couple years later managed to buy a laptop off Craigslist. Now I was able to stay at the library all day for a stable connection, and I started downloading larger files to read and look at later at home. At some point I found a forum which had links to a bunch of different games and manga. There was also a sub-forum for Japanese adult video models, but it was split into a few categories: Adult, under 18, and under 15. Having seen plenty of older Japanese women, I explored the “under-” threads and discovered a world of young Japanese girls modeling all sorts of clothing; swimsuits, dresses, shirts and trousers, even bikinis. It was weird, but I’d already seen loads of less tame loli images, and the models had their own official site and everything. Sure, some of them were posed suggestively, but the girls were all known people in an industry, with names and backgrounds and everything. I took a liking to a few that showed the most skin in the most creative ways, until I found a sister (so to speak) underage models thread featuring Russian girls. These girls modeled more revealing outfits, posed in more suggestive positions, and were more obviously younger. Some of them even wore lingerie. But I kept on viewing them, telling myself that they couldn’t be that bad with such a regulated industry.
All this time I kept up my normal pornography viewing habits, hours on end looking at explicit pictures and video, alternating every few sessions between real life stuff and anime stuff. The models were a new third option, and there weren’t a lot on the site so I didn’t see them as much. But then I figured out how to use image searching. I could search an image and get a list of sites containing that image, sites which might have more, different images of their own. I soon branched out into other model sites, most of which offered increasingly suggestive and scantily clad girls. It was around this point I managed to land a job at a small family-owned restaurant; couple months of work later, I was able to put in some extra money along with rent for my dad to get us internet in our home. My viewing habits grew again now that I could download and view an unlimited amount of pornography any time I wanted to. My friend started complaining about my tardiness; on my days off I usually go over to his house, but sometimes I’d wake up and look at porn for several hours first, or pull all-nighters looking at it.
It was a few months after getting internet that I saw my first instance of child nudity. The pictures of the models I was used to viewing weren’t always current; some were several years old, and I’d see more recent pictures of them in flatout adult productions (usually solo “glam” videos”) where their over 18 age was quite apparent. Having been accustomed to the youthful innocence of the younger models, I kept image searching and looking into related models, until I found a forum thread with thumbnail previews of what looked to be young girls standing near a couch. Intrigued, I downloaded a folder of the images to check it out. It turned out to be two completely naked girls, no more than 10 years old, apparently being instructed by a woman to stand in certain places. Everything was visible. Unlike the model images from before, where they teasingly allowed shadows along cloth to imply something being their, this was everything right out on display. I was stunned to see such obvious nudity, and wondered how it was allowed to be there. Paranoid, I deleted the photos and waited in fear. I spent a week thinking about what I had done by looking at those images, and whether or not a SWAT team would come crashing in to take me to jail. But nothing happened, and I eventually thought it must not be a big deal at all.
Several months later, I got back into the models. More image searching led to more explicit images once again. On Christmas Eve, I pulled an all-nighter looking at the models, showing up at my friend’s house having no sleep at all and feeling terrible. I decided not to look at the models anymore, to leave them behind for the new year. But in the middle of January I was back at it. By this time, they were almost all in bikinis, a large portion of which were a bit transparent. I reached the point where faint outlines weren’t enough, so I pushed further and further into the internet to find more stuff. I came across a lot of official sounding sites with multitudes of links, and some shadier ones with horrible link descriptions. After a while I managed to find thumbnail sites featuring nude children. I clicked on the pictures; a lot were fascinating, some plain disturbing. I put this out of my mind and kept on, choosing to simply move past the ones that displayed obvious disgust or pain. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I justified it in my head by telling myself I was already in too deep, and that if I wasn’t allowed to see those images, they wouldn’t allow them to be accessible on the internet to begin with.
Due to my style of opening tons of tabs, and thumbnail sites generally not showing the image they represented, I clicked on many images multiple times while scrolling down pages. Most often there would be so many tabs open, I could hardly navigate them without the browser or my computer slowing down. Each browsing session I probably clicked on hundreds of images total, regardless of whether or not I was able to load and see them. Because of that, it probably seemed to outside observers that I was a hardcore pedophile looking at so much in a relatively large amount of time, while in reality my viewings of pornography and any similar materials are clustered into one sitting and usually spaced apart by weeks, as opposed to the more frequent and much shorter viewings like most people I hear about. That’s how I think my activities drew notice from the authorities. In real life I love kids, and would never abuse them for any reason. When I’m online, I would almost become a separate person, as if the things I saw mattered as much as fictional events. I denied the reality of the images and what the young girls must have gone through. I told myself that they were probably fine, that the smiles were real and they weren’t being exploited, but I knew it was wrong and was just lying to myself.
When the police raided my house, they sat me down in a chair as they searched around, and the main guy asked me some questions. He asked if I was attracted to underage girls, and I told him yes. He asked if I liked their budding breasts, and I said yes. While that may be true of my internet practices, I don’t view real life young girls in my mind in a sexual manner. I do find them attractive, but I never think about them in terms of what I would do to their bodies. But now the law thinks I’m a pedophile. They took my two laptops and one of my desktops, and copies of all my other data, and told me that I wouldn’t hear back for a month or two, maybe even a year. The only person that knows about the child pornography (other than the 6 or 7 cops that were at my house) is my dad. I was filled with shame as I told him over the phone as the main cop demanded I do, but he told me he understood and that he would support me through it all. Nobody else knows: not my sister, who has a nearly year old son that I occasionally babysit whose crib is in my room; not my only friend, who has two nephews that I see and play with often and two nieces that occasionally come over, and has also made clear in conversation that he would never tolerate anyone that has looked at child pornography; and certainly not my employers, who are a very religious family with 3 kids under 18 that work in the restaurant. All of these relationships would be instantly shattered once they find out. They would never trust me again, not that I could legally be around any of them if I’m stamped with a “sex offender” seal. They’re the only people I know, and I have nobody to turn to in the inevitable mess that will become my life when the authorities make their decision. I couldn’t even live at home because my dad’s fiance is coming to live here with her kids.
Again, I appreciate your post. The details of your experience and what I have to anticipate has strengthened my resolve to go forth with my decision to commit suicide. I don’t have the financial or social support, nor the fortitude to endure the struggle of prison life or being called a sex offender. I narrowly avoid getting beaten up for giving people a thumbs up, and I struggle every day to interact with normal people given my (admittedly improved from a few years ago). Rather than getting raped and murdered in prison, or at best becoming an unemployed shut-in until I’m a middle-aged man, I elect to end my life on my own terms. I will quit my job in a few months (if I make it that far), set all my affairs in order, then have the best final day possible and say goodbye to the few people I love. I’ll try my best to explain my choices to them in a note. I know this is all my fault, and I’m going to try to rectify my actions as best I can. Thank you for your help.
First, if your comment about ending your life is at all serious, please don’t. You may think that life itself is over, but there is hope for your life yet. I can say that because I believe in a very, very big God who has overcome much bigger obstacles that the one you are facing. He has forgiven bigger sins that yours.
Second, your story sounds like so many I’ve heard you got wrapped up in child porn. The psychiatric community acknowledges that pedophilia and enjoyment of child porn are two different things. I have no idea whether you have pedophilic tendencies, but “child porn” is a legal category, not a psychological category. Child porn is illegal precisely because it uses girls and boys who cannot give consent because they are underage. This is the reason why law enforcement crack down on child porn because of the children who are harmed in the process. A man who likes looking at 13-year-olds is not thereby a pedophile. Pedophilia is something that has to be diagnosed by a doctor, not a cop.
That said, you are probably going to face a lot of misunderstanding from others. Make no mistake: your obsession with porn has led you down into a deep hole of addiction. Just like a drug addict, you’ve become addicted to the neurochemistry in your own brain: the sexual high you get from porn releases a powerful cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters. Like many men before you, you can reverse this addiction. You can get better. Like others, you can also make something of your life after the stigma of child porn. You can warn others about the dangerous impact of porn on the mind.
There is hope.
Thank you for the reply, Luke. It’s been over a month since I posted here, and my current situation is slightly different than it was before. I eventually talked to my friend, who was suspicious about my odd behavior since the raid; when confronted by him and his concerns, I broke down in tears and told him everything, and it was surprising to hear his support of me, and that he loved me as a great friend. He said I shouldn’t assume suicide was my only option, and told me I should at least try to fight to keep living instead of giving up. I also talked to an online friend, who also said suicide was a dumb idea, and that she still cared for me and didn’t want to see me leave this life. My father had me consult with a lawyer guy who said that the police are just out to close their cases and don’t really care about my well-being as a person, that I should get an evaluation to examine my issues and help prove I’m not a predator.
I had joined a dating site before the raid, and was depressed over my lack of success, which was only made worse by the sudden confirmed lack of a future. But one girl messaged me and we started texting a lot, and after a short while we went on a date, after which we became boyfriend and girlfriend (my very first time having a real girlfriend). We had a lot of fun, but with my situation hanging over my head I was always somewhat depressed knowing it wouldn’t work out between us. After a couple weeks I couldn’t hold it in anymore, and told her about my situation after she convinced me to let her know rather than end it and walk out leaving her in the dark. I told her everything, and she agreed that the situation was too much. But despite not technically being boyfriend and girlfriend anymore, we’re still hanging out, and she’s supportive of me.
Earlier today I sat down with my boss and let her know that I was looking for another job (I’d decided to keep working until the day came) and would appreciate an honest reference. Though I didn’t expect to tell her everything, it all came out. Rather than be completely disgusted with me, she told me she figured I was going through a dark time, and shared her experiences with family and friends running into the law and moral battles relating to sex. She still thinks I can do plenty of good, and for the first time convinced me that I still have a chance at life if I try hard and do all the right things. She also got in contact with some legal people she knew to ask for good advice for my situation.
All in all, I was surprised at how many people haven’t just immediately turned away in disgust; instead they were sad I had gotten myself into the situation and supported me, and convinced me to not just give up even if my life is already ruined. I’ currently not planning to commit suicide. Instead, I plan to get that psycho-sexual evaluation, and get counseling for my porn addiction. I may be completely done with the “dark side” of pornography, but I still have the urges to look at porn in general. I plan to keep that in check, and see a professional in order to better myself and prove I’m not out to abuse anyone.
Sounds like you have some very understanding people around you, and this is more than most people have. I’m very happy to hear about your situation. I hope your treatment for porn addiction is helpful to you.