Friday morning, I had a bit of an epiphany. I had asked Lisa the night before if she thought that it was true – that my father had done unspeakable things to Vanessa. Lisa said that she tended to believe Vanessa – as I indicated before, I did too, for the most part, but still had those little niggling doubts. Anyway, I realized that getting a green card and staying in this country is very important to her. I knew at that moment that Le wasn’t behind it because it would be too risky for her and I knew her well enough to know that she wouldn’t jeopardize her status in this country. It was my last straw to grasp at – that Le had, for some reason, put Vanessa up to it. I knew then, in my heart, that it was all true.
I went to a much needed, and much appreciated chiropractor visit. As tense and stressed as I had been, I was as stiff as a board, and sore to match. I got to Wanda’s house just a little after 10:00, and we settled in with hot cups of coffee to chat. I took my knitting along, which seems to help calm me, and we hashed over the situation. Wanda laid out the situation as she knew it.
I don’t need to go into specific details, but I found Wanda’s account of Vanessa’s testimony to be shocking. There were some things that Vanessa apparently said that I felt made her very credible.
Around 3:00 I packed up my stuff and Wanda and I got into my car and started the 20 minute drive to Le’s house. I had left my cell phone in the car while inside visiting Wanda, and noted that there were several voice mail messages – two of which were from my father. Unbeknownst to us at that point in time, he’d already been arrested, taken to the courthouse and arraigned, and released on his own recognizance. He was charged with five felony counts of child molestation and five misdemeanor counts of child endangerment.
I played the messages on speakerphone. His first voice message said “Pat, it’s me, Dad. At least give me the benefit of the doubt. Give me a call on my cell phone. I don’t want to die.” I rolled my eyes, and said to Wanda “Can you say DRAMA?”
The second message was a bit more emotional (on his part). “Pat, for the love of God, please, please, please call me. Call me.” The last “call me” was said in a cracked voice, and I believe he was crying.
While I was listening to these voice mails, a got a call waiting beep and saw that it was my father. I let it go to voice mail and, when I got done with the first two voice messages, I played the third. “Pat, it’s me again. Don’t forsake me. At least talk to me please. Tell me to go to Hell or whatever. At least please, please call me. I have a way to make a solution that, where I won’t have to go until I die. Please call me, the number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Thank you, Pat. God Bless You. I don’t know what to do.”
Wanda just shook her head. I said “I’m going to call him. I want to know what he thinks he has to say to me.” So, I dialed his number. When he answered his phone, I just said “What the hell is going on?” He told me that they’d charged him with five felony counts and five misdemeanor counts and that each felony carried 25 years maximum and that, with his health problems at his age, he wouldn’t last 3 months in prison. What went through my mind immediately was “You should have thought of that before.” Instead, I simply asked him “Did you do it?” His response floored me.
“Yes, but I didn’t hurt her.”
Didn’t hurt her? Fhut the whuck?
He went on to tell me that I should get Wanda, Peggy (my other aunt), Le, myself, and any other member of the family “who is concerned” together and go meet with the District Attorney to see if we could talk him into dropping the felony charges. In turn, he’d plead guilty to the misdemeanors and even do 30 days in jail if he had to. What a sport.
I told him that, like everyone else, I was having difficulty “processing” and would need some time. He understood, and we said goodbye.
At just about 3:30, we waited for Vanessa’s bus, and when she got off it, we took her up the hill to her home. I asked Wanda and Vanessa to stay in the car while I checked the house to ensure that all was well. The previous night someone had tried to break in using a screwdriver or something, as there were pry marks on the door. My guess is, it was my asshat nephew wanting to get the keys to that vehicle. After ascertaining that the coast was clear and no break-in attempts had been made, I went out and got Wanda and Vanessa, and my overnight bag and my knitting bag.
Wanda and I set to work immediately on getting my father’s clothes out of the closet and the dresser drawers. We had filled 3 large lawn and leaf bags by the time Le got home. Bob came down about 6:00 and I ordered a pizza for everyone. Just as we sat down to eat, I had a major “DUH” moment, and said to Wanda, “Would you think the investigators would like to know that my father admitted it to me?” You could see the light bulb go on over her head, too. She called the investigator and then handed the phone over to me. The investigator in charge of the case was home for the weekend (had his kids for the weekend) but said that another one would be stopping by before 9:00. Just as we were finishing our dinner, the phone rang. It was the other investigator, asking me to come down to the county jail (where the sheriff’s office is). I put on my coat, grabbed my keys and cell phone, and headed for the jail.
It was dark. It was snowing pretty good, and came down lazily in different directions. The wind was blowing at a pretty good clip. It was pretty damned cold out, even for me. I half-chuckled at the thought that the world, at that moment, seemed to reflect what I was feeling. At the same time, I felt very detached from myself, as if I was outside of my body watching events unfold, as in a dream that I would wake up from at any moment. It was all very surreal.
The investigator was female and set me at ease almost immediately. We talked a bit about my phone conversation with my father and then she suggested something that made the blood rush to my head and pound its way through my brain. “Would you call your father and see if you can get him to admit to it again while we record it?” I’m not a cop, I don’t know how to lead suspects into confessions without spooking them, this was my father and they were using his trust for me to nail him. These are the thoughts that raced through my brain as the question was asked. In the end, I agreed because protecting Le and Vanessa was more important to me than any thought of what would happen to my father as a result of my cooperation with the police.
I placed the call, and the recording device was turned on.
I told my father that I was having a hard time wrapping my brain around all that had happened, and needed to get some things straight in my mind.
I asked him “Was this something that just happened? Did you prey on that little girl? Did she come to you? What?”
He said “She climbed into bed with me.”
“And that gave you license?” I screamed at him.
“No,” he said, “I’ve never been more sorry for doing something than that.”
“Where was your head?” I asked him.
He replied “Up my ass, I guess.”
“Was it just that one time?”
“Yes. No. No, there was the time I gave her a bath. I bathed her in [baking] soda because she had a rash then I toweled her off but I didn’t touch her in an inappropriate way.”
I’m thinking, if it wasn’t inappropriate, then why mention it at all?
He kept saying that he couldn’t go to prison, that he’d die there, things like that. I was sickened by the whole mess. The investigator was scribbling notes to me to get him to describe what he’d done, but I made the call that they had enough incriminating statements to make a good enough case to persuade him to plead out, and not have to put that little girl through a trial. I don’t think the investigator was all that happy with me, but she later agreed that he’d made plenty of incriminating statements, without being specific.
It was after 10:00 by the time I got back to Le’s house. Bob and Wanda had gone home. Le and I sat up and chatted until around midnight, then we turned in for the night.
Saturday we began the task of going through my father’s belongings. We boxed and bagged things as neatly as we were inclined to do, trying to keep some semblance of order. It seemed to be cathartic for Le – as the day progressed, her spirits rose and rose and rose until she was singing to herself while performing the task of getting her husband out of her life. I was pretty proud of her – she’s a strong, stoic woman. As is her daughter.
We found three videotapes hidden away in a cabinet. One was called Luscious Liquids and was basically just suggestive material with women being covered in various liquids (like Cheez-Whiz) and ever so slight T & A shots, but the women were mostly clothed. Seemed harmless enough. The other two nearly floored me. They were both male on male gay porn. Not a lesbian scene in either one. Not one heterosexual scene in either one. Just male on male porn. Really hard core stuff. I’m still stunned at this, and don’t know what to make of it.
We spent the rest of the day finishing up as much as we could. Tired and dirty, I left Le’s house for the 90 mile drive back home around 8:00 Saturday night. I stopped off at Wanda’s for a few minutes to pee and to deliver my father’s passport to her for safekeeping (just in case). I got home a little after 10:00, just in time to see the last quarter and a half of the Jacksonville/New England Wildcard Game. I poured myself a tall glass of wine, sucked it down, and fell asleep in the recliner shortly afterward.
Next: The Aftermath