Sunday, July 21, 2013

Single dad never charged for molesting daughter, taking child porn photos (Plano, Texas)

UNNAMED DAD. The abuse started right after the mother died. And law enforcement will not prosecute for all the usual reasons--statute of limitations, blah blah.

Plano victim hopes her story helps others understand the impact of child pornography

Published: 20 July 2013 10:40 PM Updated: 21 July 2013 12:25 AM

April, 39, tossed a dozen envelopes sealed with red evidence tape on the table.

Inside were childhood photographs she said were taken by her father, not of birthdays and Christmas gatherings but of April in the nude and in sexually suggestive poses.

Her father is a charming guy, April said. But he made her childhood hell, she said, by taking pornographic photos of her and molesting her.

April, not her real name, agreed to tell her story in hopes of helping people understand the impact of child pornography on its victims. As in most cases, the perpetrator was someone she knew, not a stranger.

And like many offenders, he was never charged with a crime. By the time April, who grew up in Plano, decided to press charges, police told her the statute of limitations had expired. That statute was lifted several years ago but was not made retroactive.

Her father admitted he took the photos but said he never showed them to anyone else. He also said he does not collect child pornography.

April said he started taking pictures of her naked when she was around 5, shortly after her mother’s suicide. 

When she entered puberty, her father said he wanted to document her “development into a woman,” April said.

He took the lineup-style photos of her standing nude near the dining-room drapes because he said they made a “nice backdrop,” April said.

Her father said he “had reasons for taking them. They might not have been good reasons, and if I had it to do again, I probably would not have.”

The sexual contact started around age 12, April said. She recalled her father coming into her room and asking, “Do you want to have some fun?”

When she was around 16, April found the courage to object. Though her father quit molesting her, she said, the photo sessions continued.

“The night of my homecoming dance, he took pictures of me in my stockings,” she said.

April remembers feeling humiliated and embarrassed during the photo sessions, even though she smiled because her father insisted, she said.

The sessions finally ended when she left home.

She did well in college and grad school, landed a good job, married and had a child.

“I live in a really nice house. I have a really cute kid. I work for a major corporation. I handle stress really well,” she said. “Nobody would ever know.”

But privately, she suffered from debilitating depression.

Eventually, she found an incest recovery group, where members understood her pain.

With encouragement, she approached Plano police about what she said her father had done. She took the photos — which she said she removed from her father’s house — with her, but it was too late.

Her father said the photos were always her property and he kept them for her until she had a safe place to keep them.

Though the legal system didn’t help April, she said therapy did. She still gets emotional, but “it’s not my shame,” she said through tears. “It’s his.”

Several years ago, April confronted her father, with whom she’d cut off most contact.

She recalled him saying his behavior was wrong, but “I thought I was helping you and teaching you, preparing you.”

In an effort to improve their relationship, the two agreed to attend counseling together.

“I don’t think we’ve moved forward as successfully as I’d hoped,” her father said.

He declined to comment further on the advice of a counselor.

April said she appreciates his efforts, but the next meeting will be her last.

She’s tried, she said, but “I can’t ever forgive him.”

“I’ll never be done dealing with this,” April said. “It’s like PTSD — it stays with you forever.”