When a Pastor is Convicted Does He Deserve a Reduced Sentence?

In virtually every case of clergy sex abuse I see, the accused, family, friends and church members plead for minimal or commuted sentences based on the wonderful acts and invaluable service the guilty party has devoted his life to in the balance of his existence. They say we must forgive because God forgives, and they say the man is not a monster, implying he is not to be compared to “truly evil doers” like perhaps Ted Bundy.

What is a monster anyway? Is the measure of a monster determined by physical appearance, tone of voice, career choices and the relative number of hours in one’s life that are spent in positive pursuits compared to the number of hours spent in active destructive evil? Or can a single act or two, which do incalculable damage to the life of another, be quite simply enough?

It is not what is outside a man which determines who he is. It is who he is inside. Who he is inside is what drives a man (or woman) to molest and sexually assault children. “Only one or two” is one or two entire lives too many.

Is Satan a monster or an angel? Of course, he cannot be redeemed, but he was created an angel.

There is no person on earth who is a monster. A monster is a mythical creature. Ted Bundy isn’t a monster. Charles Manson isn’t a monster. The most heinous criminal you can imagine isn’t a monster. And the pastor who was convicted of sexually assaulting two children 30 years ago and no one knows of any others is no different from Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, or any other criminal. They have all committed crimes worthy of consequences which include long-term, perhaps life-long, incarceration.

There is a fundamental truth people are overlooking. God does not give people a free pass on their consequences because they have been “more good than bad” according to some people’s standard of measure. Pedophiles have, in just one moment, done more harm than they can ever do good in an entire lifetime of stellar service, period.

God can redeem, God can forgive – but God does not give a free pass on the consequences — for either the victims or the offender. Victims serve a “life sentence” of consequences for what may occur in a moment’s time. Why does anyone think the offender has any right to a commuted sentence because “it happened so long ago” or “it was just once or twice” or “he’s really a wonderful man” or “he’s not a monster.”

We confuse human emotions and a human tendency to quantify evil with the reality of the law of sowing and reaping. God does not do that. Justice has nothing to do with feelings. God’s natural law of sowing and reaping, which, like the law of gravity, transcends the law of grace, demands consequences for actions.

And when God’s people say otherwise they are guilty of violating God’s direct Word on this subject. This is not acceptable. As long as this state exists in the church, and to the extent to which it remains, the church is crippled.

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Fact-ional Christianese Marriage Menders

Pastors, Christian counselors, Christian friends and family members are steeped in a system that has for centuries valued the institution of marriage over the lives of the people inside it. Unfortunately, this means when someone reaches the point where they must leave an abusive marriage they invariably face a barrage of well-meaning advice from these individuals who only want to help but have no idea how very much they are hurting.

When you are the one in that place, it can be almost impossible to separate the truth from the fiction. Knowing that your own flesh could lead you astray, you don’t know if you can trust yourself to judge correctly. What if all these voices are right and you are wrong after all?

I have started compiling this document using some of the things people have sent me that they are being told or that I remember being told. I am keeping it in my articles in the left sidebar and will add to this as new things are sent to me. All items added to the list will be de-personalized – no names or personal information will be included.

PEOPLE SAY: God is a God of redemption. (Implying God wants to redeem this marriage from ruin.)

TRUTH: – yes, God is a redeemer! God redeemed me out of my abusive marriage and has given me a life of peace. He has become my husband (Isaiah 54) and provider until such time as He may choose to provide me with another human one. He is an awesome Redeemer!

PEOPLE SAY: God wants this marriage to work.

TRUTH: – but He won’t force anyone to change against their will because He made man with a free will to choose to disobey. And when Israel insisted on disobedience, God divorced her.

PEOPLE SAY: Miracles are possible.

TRUTH: – for those who believe and obey. But if one party doesn’t want to obey, no miracle will follow. And this isn’t a “miracle” case anyway. This is a case of disobedience or obedience. God is not going to reach down with a magic wand and fix it. He wants repentance and radical obedience – the hard stuff, not fairy fixes.

Pastors and churches love to believe in miracle fixes for marital discord. That’s pure bunk and emotionally manipulative sermon illustrations. When a spouse is walking in sin they don’t need a miracle. They need to repent and work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

PEOPLE SAY: Your husband has realized his sin and is working on it.

TRUTH: – big secret here for the fully initiated: disobedient spouses always “realize their sin and work on it” when their spouse finally has had enough and leaves. Occasionally this is actually a genuine wake-up call and the repentance and change are true. Usually they are not. They are a manipulative gesture only. And pastors, churches, family and friends always fall for the manipulative gesture – always.

In fact, if this has been a seriously long-term issue, with many artificial repentances and returns to previous behavior, and the wife has reached the point of seeking a divorce, as I did, my answer to this was — if he is truly repentant he will correct his behavior and demonstrate his repentance in spite of our divorce because it is right, and reconciliation can take place later. There was nothing in the world to stop us from remarrying. But that would surely be a test of his sincerity. Sure enough, he stopped fighting me for custody and started pushing for our divorce to be finalized 8 or 9 months into the process because he had found someone he wanted to date (his fight was what was slowing the process down). He remarried 10 months after our divorce was finalized. He had no serious interest in, or intention of, reconciliation.

Some ways you can see through a repentance if it is fake:

Has he repented publically, telling everyone openly exactly what he has done to you and the children privately? Has he openly told people exactly how he has mistreated you? Most of the time they don’t do this; they will manage to save face and avoid actually telling the depth of what they have done because it would ruin their squeaky-clean image. Or they will only tell one or two individuals whom they know will never let it get out, but who will reveal there has been a “big confession” to go with that repentance to prove it is genuine – more image projection. This is a big sign it is not real.

Is he willing to accept all consequences for his behavior, including a lengthy separation, personal counseling for his behavior, not marriage counseling (because the problem isn’t the marriage, it is within him), even including a divorce if that is what happens, accepting that it is the consequence of his behavior? Is he willing to publically acknowledge this to family, friends and church?

Is he willing to submit to on-going accountability on a long-term basis for his private behavior, and allow you to report to his accountability partners about whether he is continuing in obedience?

Does his repentance have “cracks” in it? In other words, an insincere repentance is short-lived and generally has the purpose of manipulating the other spouse back into the relationship and manipulating the viewing audience onto his “side” of the issue. So the repentance may be one face in public and disappear in private with just you. Or it may be “sincere” until it doesn’t get what it wants and then slivers of the old person are visible when no one else can see.

PEOPLE SAY: God is about forgiveness and restoration.

TRUTH: – and He is also equally about justice, and standing up for the abused, and setting at liberty those who are bound, and hating treachery (Mal 2 – husbands who do violence to their marriage covenant), and believers judging the verbal abuser in the church and putting him out of fellowship (I Cor. 5:11), and I could go on and on. It is wrong to pick out two attributes of God to manipulate you – that is a sure indicator of condemnation and judgment that are not from God!

PEOPLE SAY: The marriage is sacred.

TRUTH: – now where exactly is that in the Bible? I don’t remember reading that translation. The verse they think they are quoting is Heb. 13:4 –

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

That verse means something entirely different than “marriage is sacred.” Marriage is honorable and fornication and adultery are not – plain and simple. The verse is a comparison – not a statement of the sacredness of marriage.

Life is sacred. God is sacred. His Word is sacred. My body is the temple of the Lord, as is yours. Surely the temple of the Lord is a sacred place.

And when an abuser constantly abuses that body with his words, he is literally killing you, the temple of God. Now that is a violation of what God holds sacred. Death and life are in the power of the tongue and science is proving that is true. I’ve had breast cancer. Do you need to wait until you come face to face with a literal, physical death? Because it will happen – the Word says so. It is only a matter of time.

PEOPLE SAY: You are one flesh. God says not to separate what He has joined together.

TRUTH: – this is one of my favorites! Yes! God said that! I wish the church would stand up and fight over this one! Because it is not the party who gets a legal document for protection who has done the separating – it is the party who has been doing violence to the marriage covenant day in and day out for years who has been tearing apart that one flesh relationship and has already thoroughly separated it. But the church wants to point the finger and lay the blame on the wrong shoulders! Mal. 2:13-17 describes this very well.

PEOPLE SAY: It takes two to make a marriage and it take two to break a marriage.

TRUTH: That’s a really cute saying but it’s a bunch of horse do-do. It takes two to make a marriage work but one person can destroy it single-handedly.

Saying it takes two people to break a marriage is as logical as saying it requires the collusion of both people for one spouse to murder the other. Proverbs says a foolish woman can tear down her house with her own hands. Surely a foolish man can do the same.

PEOPLE SAY: God hates divorce.

TRUTH: – this is from Mal. 2 and it is a mis-translation. The original language says God hates putting away and it is referring to men who abandoned their legal wives without giving them a certificate of divorce, leaving them without any provision or protection in a society where women were chattel and the property of men. These women were then not free to remarry so they were literally abandoned to be prey to the first man who came along to rape and pillage them. The statement that God hates divorce is one of the most common wrong teachings on marriage in the modern Christian church. God didn’t say that!

A possible alternate translation could be that these men did legally divorce their wives, though the word used is one which does not always mean a legal divorce, but that these divorces were without cause – treacherous divorces as the context plainly states.

In either case, God condemns the actions of these men for their treachery and for putting away. God’s focus is on their treachery and the violence they have done to their covenant relationship – not on the divorce itself, since the text does not say God hates divorce. God hates putting away – which transcends divorce, reaching back to the action of separating what God has joined; an action which far predates a legal document. Putting away reaches back to the violation of that one-flesh covenant that is inherent in abuse.

PEOPLE SAY: Think about the damage you’re doing to the kids.

TRUTH: – that’s a hard one because it strikes at the heart of any mother. Teens seem to be particularly hard, but then, I still have yet to deal with what will happen as my daughter gets old enough to truly process her parents’ divorce. But here’s what I see so far in my situation.

I have a 21-year-old son (as of 2008) who grew up as the butt of his father’s physical abuse. He was the primary target, while his younger brother was mostly protected (this is not unusual in an abuse situation – to have a primary target of violence and have one or more others protected). By the time he was 12 and had gained the ability to think abstractly, he figured out he actually hadn’t done anything to deserve to be treated this way and he started to talk and act back to his father in exactly the same way his father treated him.

This, of course, only made it worse for him because his father received this as gross disrespect (which it was). A teenager who swears and hits back is not only offensive to the father, but makes really good fodder to tell other people about when you leave out the part about how many times you have hit the kid and sworn at him first.

This son, naturally, hated church and God because, as he said in his own words, who needs another Father like that?

When I separated from his father when he was 13 he wanted me to get a divorce but I didn’t because of pressure from church – fear of man won that time. When I finally decided to get a divorce when this son was 18 his response was something along the lines of “it’s about time.”

Fortunately, he did accept Christ when he was 17, but he is going to have issues for a lifetime as a result of the abuse he experienced. He refuses to have anything to do with his dad. I had to convince him that he really could not exclude his father from his wedding. Now how’s that for damage?

Then there’s the second son. He was the protected one. He always denied the abuse; always. The next day after an incident, he would deny it had happened. In court, he testified to the judge that there had been no abuse in our home. Yes, he lied. When I asked him about it later, he said he does remember it but he believes I should not have gotten a divorce. I should have had more faith and trusted God.

So I worry about this child who is 19 now (2008). Will he be like his father and be willing to overlook this behavior in himself since he is willing to overlook it in his father? There is definitely damage here.

And lastly there’s my daughter. From the time she was an infant, she was “treated” to the sounds of her father and adult-sized brothers in screaming, swearing, fist-swinging brawls. I would leave the house with her when it happened but that doesn’t mean she didn’t still hear it.

At one point, she was standing at her father’s knees (she adores her father; he is the love of her life) while he was watching TV. Someone interrupted him with a question. He jumped to his feet and started screaming full-force, starting with the F-word. The sight of her shocked face will be forever etched in my mind.

Another vision stamped in my head happened after I had decided to get a divorce but before I left. He was bringing her in from outside and told her to go around the car one way but she went the other way (she had just turned 3). He started screaming at her for it. Not a simple redirection as might be appropriate if it even mattered. But full-on screaming at a 3-year-old for just walking one way when it was in his mind to go a different way – when it didn’t even matter.

Recently she was sick and had nightmares with the fever. In her nightmares, which now have her so terrified she will not sleep in her bed anymore, she says someone is screaming at her but she doesn’t know who it is. I wonder. But she adores her dad and asks frequently why I can’t love her daddy (this is the story he has told her, lovely man that he is). She will probably never understand.

But how much more scarred would she be if I stayed with him? By staying with her father I would also have given her the example of what type of man she should marry and how a man should treat her one day. Is that the life I want for her?

There is NO question in my mind. Not a single glimmer of a doubt. Yes, she is going to suffer because her parents are divorced. But compared to the damage of living with an abuser – no way.

And even for the boys who were adults or nearly so by the time I finally got a divorce – by getting a divorce I have taught them something, if they will choose to receive the lesson. God is a God of righteousness and all the other things I have written above. Those are all good reasons for what I have done – that’s what I want my children to learn by the fact I did get a divorce. Had I understood all this sooner I would have made the choice far sooner. But I didn’t and God gives grace for that, I have to believe.

The fact of the matter is this — the children of an abusive marriage are going to be hurt. It is up to us to choose whether we will have them see God’s truth or see us live a lie.

Touch Not God’s Anointed

As the saying goes, if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times –

Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.

This verse is quoted at me often here on this blog when I write about pastors who have been accused or convicted of sexual abuse. This verse is quoted at people who question spiritually abusive pastors in churches everywhere. In fact, I’d venture to guess, this is probably the most popular verse used when anyone questions someone in authority in a church anywhere under any circumstances.

I have long known the verse was being misused, because the Word says we’re responsible to take what we are being told by anyone back to the Word and the Holy Spirit for confirmation. If the Bereans were applauded for taking the word of the Apostle Paul back to the Scriptures and the Spirit for evaluation and confirmation, then there is no pastor on earth who is exempt from the same.

However, I bumped across the verse in context this morning and I literally had to laugh. Once again, a myth is exploded and a tool to keep people in bondage is revealed to be a complete and utter hoax.

Let’s take a look at Ps. 105…

vs. 8 He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations, (vs. 9) the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac..(vs. 14) He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes: (vs. 15) Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.

This verse (Ps. 105:15) was written to the children of Abraham – not to the priests of Israel. It was written to those with whom God had made a covenant, the seed of Abraham.

With whom did God make that covenant? Just to be perfectly clear, let’s take a look at Rom. 4:13-25, where for the sake of brevity I will summarize (but read the entire context, please!) that the seed of Abraham are those who are “of the faith of Abraham” (vs. 16).

If we are to take Ps 105 literally, it is speaking of the seed of Abraham, which includes his children of faith. Anointed ones are simply those who are set apart. In this stated context, that does not refer to pastors, preachers, evangelists, and Sunday School teachers! Look what it says. It very specifically refers to Abraham’s seed – his seed is by birth and by faith – those are the anointed, set apart, ones.

Now, in light of this reality, look back at verse 14.

God “permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sake.

What this verse is actually saying is God does not permit anyone, including people in authority, to oppress, or “touch,” those He has set apart – Abraham’s seed by birth and by faith. That means God does not permit pastors to sexually abuse their church members. He does not permit husbands to oppress their wives and children. He does not permit spiritual authorities to lord over those in their churches (Luke 22:25-26, I Peter 5:3).

So, you tell me, does it matter if church leaders abuse the people in their churches? Does it matter if husbands and fathers in the church abuse their wives and children?

You better believe it does. God says He DOES NOT PERMIT IT.

The correct interpretation of this verse is the exact opposite of the way it is usually used!

And for all that, a prophet is, quite simply, someone who speaks the truth of God.

Is what I have written here the truth?

Are those of us who dare to speak out against this evil being done in the church speaking the truth?

So when we are railed against, who, exactly, is doing God’s prophets harm?

Beware of calling good evil, and calling evil good.

Thanksgiving

This is an odd Thanksgiving post, but go with me here, and see where I’m heading.

Christa Brown wrote an unusual Thanksgiving post on her blog. In a day wrapped in warm-fuzzies, it reaches out and grabs you with the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy realities in which abuse victims live.

She concludes with the awareness that she is grateful – grateful that she is alive to still feel that pain. Grateful to have emerged from the other side of that dark hole sane and whole. Grateful for the people who surround her who do care and who understand.

This piece resonated with me deeply. I’m taking a sociology class this semester, which is generally a subject I thoroughly enjoy. The social sciences are right up my tree. Since it is an honors class it is discussion-based and we have a lot of fun while being able to explore the material more deeply than most classes can.

However, the section we have just completed was on the socializing functions of education and religion. The material touched deep wounds and, try as I might, I couldn’t seem to shake it off. Last Thursday we had an exam at 11 a.m. and I have no classes prior to that period so I spent the time from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the library studying for the exam. Well, that was my intention anyway. But the pain became so overwhelming I ended up sitting in the library crying for two hours and hoping no one would notice.

Also during the same general time frame of this past week or so, I had an e-mail exchange with my academic advisor about some plans for the upcoming year. In the process we got to talking about the way we have learned to see life differently at 40-something. We see life as less linear. Life is more… holistic is the term we decided on. It is inclusive.

I don’t know specifically what he was thinking about when he was talking about a holistic vs. linear perspective. But I was thinking about this (among other things) – we don’t leave the past in the past and it is finished, and then move on to the next stage. The yesterdays are still part of the todays. The pain of the yesterdays is still part of the todays. And that is OK. Today’s joys are not necessarily marred by the pain of yesterday; the two are just one unified today.

I wouldn’t be who I am today and wouldn’t have the message I have today without the yesterdays – but I don’t want anyone else to have to walk where I have walked. The value in my yesterdays certainly does not justify the continuance of evil for the same “benefit” in the life of someone else.

I read a poem in the anthology we’re using in my English Comp class this semester. It is about Vietnam, but it is vividly parallel to the experience of abuse. It is called wahbegan, by Jim Northrup.

Didja ever hear a sound
smell something
taste something
that brought you back
to Vietnam, instantly?
Didja ever wonder
when it would end?
It ended for my brother.
He died in the war
but didn’t fall down
for fifteen tortured years.
His flashbacks are over,
another casualty whose name
will never be on the Wall.
Some can find peace
only in death.
The sound of his
family crying hurt
The smell of the flowers
didn’t comfort us.
The bitter taste
in my mouth
still sours me.
How about a memorial
for those who made it
through the war
but still died
before their time?

Christa’s Thanksgiving post reminded me of this poem, of my morning crying in the library last week, and of my conversation with my academic advisor. When religious leaders treat the issue of abuse with such cavalier attitudes as if it was just something that happened back then and we should get over it and move on, they have no idea. And there are no words to make them see.

When these religious leaders refuse to stand for righteousness, and persist in covering for abusers; when people insist that abusers should be given reduced or commuted sentences because of “all the good” they have done with the “rest” of their lives — I want to scream out – do you not see that you are driving the nails in Jesus’ hands again and laying stripes on the backs of the victims one more time? It is injustice on top of injustice in the one place where injustice most should not stand. And it hurts again and again and again.

But like Christa said in her post, I’m grateful to be alive to feel that pain. I almost died – it could have happened. I’m glad I’m alive. I do know people who are permanently institutionalized because their minds coudn’t handle the reality of their abuse. I have known people who couldn’t endure their internal pain and chose to end it early. I know people who choose to live in denial or significant dysfunction because acknowledgement is too much to bear.

So as hard as some days may be, I am thankful. I am thankful for the God who holds my hand, and who holds me in His arms when it’s just too, too much.

Former Minister of Music Antony Phillips Denton Pleads Guilty to Child Molestation

Former music minister Antony Phillips Denton pleaded guilty last Tuesday to 13 charges of taking indecent liberties with a child and entered an Alford plea on three additional charges. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction. Denton was on staff at Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, NC, when the incidents took place 30 years ago. He has been accused, and stands convicted, of molesting three girls who were church members between 1977 and 1981.

Denton was given three, 3-year sentences, all of which were suspended. He must register as a sex offender.

Now for commentary — I find this sentence to be remarkably short-sighted. Pedophiles do not have isolated incidents of child sex abuse! While there may presently be no evidence of other crimes, the facts that these crimes were committed 30 years ago, no other crimes are presently known, and the guilty party has seemingly lived an otherwise virtuous life of service do not justify throwing away his sentence.

I am going to repeat something I wrote the other day about another pedophile. In virtually every case of clergy sex abuse I see, the accused, family, friends and church members plead for minimal or commuted sentences based on the wonderful acts and invaluable service the guilty party has devoted his life to in the balance of his existence. They say we must forgive because God forgives, and they say the man is not a monster, implying he is not to be compared to “truly evil doers” like perhaps Ted Bundy.

What is a monster anyway? Is the measure of a monster determined by physical appearance, tone of voice, career choices and the relative number of hours in one’s life that are spent in positive pursuits compared to the number of hours spent in active destructive evil? Or can a single act or two, which do incalculable damage to the life of another, be quite simply enough?

It is not what is outside a man which determines who he is. It is who he is inside. Who he is inside is what drives a man (or woman) to molest and sexually assault children. “Only one or two” is one or two entire lives too many.

Is Satan a monster or an angel? Of course, he cannot be redeemed, but he was created an angel.

There is a fundamental truth people are overlooking. God does not give people a free pass on their consequences because they have been “more good than bad” according to some people’s standard of measure. Pedophiles have, in just one moment, done more harm than they can ever do good in an entire lifetime of stellar service, period. God can redeem, God can forgive – but God does not give a free pass on the consequences — for either the victims or the offender. Victims serve a “life sentence” of consequences for what may occur in a moment’s time. Why does anyone think the offender has any right to a commuted sentence because “it happened so long ago” or “it was just once or twice” or “he’s really a wonderful man” or “he’s not a monster.”

And when God’s people say otherwise they are guilty of violating God’s direct Word on this subject. This is not acceptable As long as this state exists in the church, and to the extent to which it remains, the church is crippled.

Another issue relevant to this incident which I want to point out — Denton was on staff at another haven for sexual abusers at the time he “disappeared” from view and then this charge surfaced. He was serving at Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL, home of the now-infamous, and conveniently deceased, pastor Bob Gray and his co-conspirator(s) and partner(s)-in-cover-ups who successfully hid his predilictions for children for many years.

I will note again, this is something I have seen happen many times. When the leader of a church has a “secret sexual sin,” especially when other leaders are in collusion and covering for it, that church becomes a haven for sexual predators. It will happen again and again and again. Anyone sitting in that church today can bank on it – there are more in the woodwork. That is my personal opinion based on many years of observation. The root has never been correctly addressed, so the haven still exists. I can also guarantee, if anyone in authority there reads this, there will be complete, and probably heated, denial and attack against me for saying so – which is generally a sign I’ve hit a nerve. I get some really interesting e-mail sometimes. 😉

Pastor Minh Van Nguyen Charged with Sexual Abuse

Pastor Minh Van Nguyen has been arrested for allegedly molesting a female relative starting at the age of 10. Nguyen is senior pastor of the First Vietnamese Alliance Church in San Jose, CA. He has been held without bail since his arrest on Oct. 2.

Former Church Choir Leader Brian Michael Lane Sentenced to 20 Years

Former preschool teacher and church choir leader Brian Michael Lane was sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted capital sexual battery and two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. 

Ironically, though he pleaded guilty to molesting a 4-year-old and sexually assaulting a 10-year old, Lane did not want to accept the generous 20-year prison sentence agreement. The crime to which he confessed came with a life sentence. But according to the linked article, Lane persisted in minimizing his actions, indicating he fondled the 4-year-old for “less than a minute.”

Wow. It took him less than a minute to scar another human being for life. Yet, because it took less than a minute for him to forever scar a life, he feels his sentence should be commensurate to the time it took to do the deed rather than to the duration of the deed’s consequences? This child’s “sentence” – as well as the other child’s “sentence” will last a lifetime. Who does Lane think he is to have the right to even more mercy than the exceedingly gracious 20-year sentence he was offered? That sentencing grace was offered for the benefit of the victims and their families, NOT as a statement of the weight of Lane’s crimes or of whether he deserved a lighter sentence because he “wasn’t a monster.”

What is a monster anyway? Is the measure of a monster determined by physical appearance, tone of voice, career choices and the relative number of hours in one’s life that are spent in positive pursuits compared to the number of hours spent in active destructive evil? Or can a single act or two, which do incalculable damage to the life of another, be quite simply enough?

It is not what is outside a man which determines who he is. It is who he is inside. Who he is inside is what drives a man (or woman) to molest and sexually assault children. “Only one or two” is one or two entire lives too many.