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Friday
Jan102014

My Dad is an Unregistered, Unprosecuted Sex Offender | Please Help

**Please see updates at the bottom of this post.**

Warning: the following post could be a trigger post if you have been a victim of sexual abuse. If you are currently a victim of sexual abuse, you don't have to suffer in silence. Tell a teacher or a trusted friend and get help. If you are a survivor of past abuse, or a current victim, you can get help through the hotline listed on RAINN's webpage here.

My dad in front of the Mesa, Arizona, Mormon Temple.

"Do you want to press charges against your dad?"

"No!"

Because what else would a 14 year old say? About her own father? At 14 I was horrified at the idea of having to confront my father in court. I couldn't even conceptualize having a father in prison. My family simply didn't have people in jail. My father wouldn't survive in prison. How would I tell people that I had a dad in prison? How would my mom support five children on her own? 

These are the things you think as the oldest at home of five kids, when you are 14 years old, and a cop asks you if you want to press charges against your father for sexually abusing you.

One of the real fucked up things about being abused by a parent, is that they are still your parent. You still love them. You still want to protect them. You can even still admire them.

It's so twisted.

This is the man who taught me how to drive. How to shoot. How to identify flora and fauna, and how to survive, in the Alaskan wilderness. He gave me a love for learning and writing and taught me how to balance a check book. He took us gold panning. He taught us history. He introduced us to theater, poetry, and public speaking.

But he is also the man who sexually, mentally, and emotionally abused me. As a parent myself now, I am dumbfounded at how someone could hurt their own child. Children are truly innocent and so utterly vulnerable and trusting.

Welcome to the family, sister. You have no idea what is in store for you.

And the mind fuck that occurs when the person who you love and trust, abuses you? It is a total mind fuck. 

I was thirteen years old when the abuse chronicled above happened to me. At the time, I thought it was only that one incident, but after years of therapy, I now know of more. Not because I forgot them, but because as an even younger child when the other incidents occurred, I didn't realize they were abuse. The incident above, done when my father thought I was asleep, is what first blatantly registered to my young mind as abuse.

My father, Stephen Michael Morrisette, who now goes by the name of Rocky Morrisette, touched my breasts (or chest, pre-boobs) several times when I was a young girl. And when he wasn't touching them, he was trying to touch them. 

"Can I give you a front scratch?" (As opposed to a back scratch).

"I didn't have sisters when I was growing up, so I don't know what developing breasts look like. Can I see yours? Can I touch them?"

He would press his body and his erection up against us when we were standing up, or lying on the couch, or in bed at night while we tried to sleep.

Thanks for the sexy silk robe, dad...

He brought me gifts when he returned from his long TDYs (temporary duty in the US Air Force.) One time he handed me a silk, white negligee. I was 12. He asked me to try it on for him. Another time, a purple silk kimono he wanted me to use as a 'house robe.' We were children, and thought the presents were beautiful and exotic (they were); they were also wildly inappropriate. Gifts like these are called 'grooming behavior.' I didn't learn the term until I was in my twenties, in therapy.

There are no nostalgic photos with my dad from childhood. Everything is tainted.

The abuse he perpetrated on one of my younger sisters, Sariah, was much worse. Besides all of the same breast touching, he also digitally raped her (fingers in the vagina). Repeatedly. For years. The first time happened when she was in KINDERGARTEN.

He also made her touch.him.back.

This abuse of my sister was far more extensive and perverse then what happened to me. He would say to her,

"You are beautiful, just like Charlotte."

"You should be a cheerleader, just like Charlotte."

"If you tell, our family will be torn a part."

"This is what daddies do."

"You're a happy girl; stop crying."

His abuse was not only sexual, but emotional. My sisters and I were treated like his wives.  When he came home from work each day, we took off his boots and rubbed his back. He woke me up early in the mornings to have breakfast with him and talk about his upcoming day. We all slept piled on either side of him in his bed. 

My father with my sister, Sariah.

--------------------------

"Why don't you press charges against your father?" my husband , Eric, asked me when we were first dating and I told him about my past. 

"Because I'm trying to get over it. Because I want to move on with my life and I don't want to re-live it."

Eric has always been supportive of me. Years ago, when I told him that I had asked my father to drive out to San Diego for a joint therapy session so I could confront him in person, Eric offered to be there. I didn't want Eric in the room with me, so he waited right outside for me until I was done. When I confronted my father in front of the therapist, I asked him point blank if he had abused any of my other sisters. He said he hadn't.

He was lying.

Foolishly, I believed him. It wasn't until years later that my sister contacted me to share her own story of abuse. We talked by phone, but we didn't go into detail. It is not really the sort of thing you chit chat about. I emailed my father and asked him again, did you abuse my sisters?

Again, he said no.

He was lying.

--------------------------

"Will you help me press charges against dad?" my sister asked me.

A few months ago, my family and I flew up to San Diego to visit relatives and pick up items for our sail across the South Pacific. While I was there my sister told me she had contacted the Air Force (my father is retired USAF) and was attempting to press charges about the past abuse. Why, after so many years had passed, was she pressing charges now? Not that she needs a reason to pursue charges at any time, but in this case, she had reason to believe he was now abusing another family member (family member/age/name/etc not mentioned to protect her identity.)

My sister had contacted the authorities in the state he lived in to let them know her suspicions and now wanted to pursue charges from her own past abuse. She asked me if I'd be willing to speak to the investigators and help with the investigation. For the first time that someone had asked me this question, my answer was unequivocally, 'yes.'

As I'm sure you can imagine, having to dredge up these old memories and emotions wasn't easy. It was one of the tipping points in my descent into postpartum depression after Lyra's birth. The thought that my father was now continuing to abuse the next generation made me physically ill. It took me awhile to realize that by trying to forget my past and move on, I had been putting others at great risk.

Incest. Pedophile. Rape. Molestation. 

Nobody wants to say these words. Nobody wants to think about them, or talk about them. And I don't blame them. There is such a strong taboo surrounding talking about these issues that the perpetrators of these crimes often go unpunished because "we don't talk about that." Or, "that was in the past." Or, "you'll bring shame on the family name." Or, "let bygones be bygones."

I can't keep quiet anymore.

I realize that I have done a great disservice to society by NOT saying something sooner. Not only is it possible that there has been a new victim of my father's abuse, but who knows how many others because I didn't speak up? I moved out of the house when I was 16 so I wouldn't have to live another minute with my father. And my father retired from the Air Force...and became a High School teacher.

And he volunteered as Santa.

And he worked as a train conductor for little kid trains.

And my dad is currently living in Taos County, New Mexico, as an unregistered sex offender.

Do I want to press charges against my father?

I really, really do.

Here is my problem. I recently got an email from one of the investigators at OSI, (the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.) They were updating me on the investigation and said that they can't find an Attorney General in any of the states they have been investigating my father in, that will prosecute because of the statue of limitations. I'm shocked that there are statutes of limitations on child sex abuse, but there you have it. After months of working through all this past trauma again, after preparing myself to confront my dad in court, to see my dad go to jail, to finally see justice served, it looks like my dad will not be prosecuted. 

As so frequently happens, another family sex abuse case will be swept under the rug. My dad will get to grow old with his new wife. And live in a new community where he'll do book signings for his new young adult book. Written for young girls!! :puke:

But if I can't confront him in court, I can at least confront him in the court of public opinion.

As a child I had no voice. But I have a voice now. After the abuse chronicled above, I didn't say a word. I kept quiet because I was certain that if my mother found out, she would leave him, and my family would be destitute. My mother would have no way to support all five of the children who were still at home. We would be split up into different foster families. I couldn't let that happen. My mom finally asked me one day, out of the blue, "Has dad ever touched you?" And I lost it. I cried for so long and so hard that I couldn't even answer her question right away, not that she needed a verbal answer after seeing my physical response.

And once I told her, I was so relieved. At last. She knew. And the process that I was sure would happen, would begin. You know. My mom would call the police and our bishop. My dad would go to jail. Our family might be torn apart, but dear god, I was so relieved that someone knew and that my dad would be out of my life soon.

But I was wrong.

Yes, my mom told our church leaders, who then called the police and the Air Force. My dad had to leave the house. There was a lot of turmoil. My dad was institutionalized because of a mental breakdown. When he got out, I heard that he was going to therapy. I told a policeman that I did NOT want to press charges. But I also, naively, assumed that my mother would never let him come back to live with us again.

I was wrong.

This blog post is not about my mother. But many of the decisions my mother made ended up hurting her children. My mother said that she decided to stay with my father because God told her to stay with him and because church leaders told her to stay with him. I was devastated. And while my father was not allowed in the house for awhile, eventually we were told that he was "better" and it was "okay" for him to move back in. 

Left to right: My uncle, my aunt, my mother, and my father.

The abuse came up right as my father was about to be promoted to Major. Instead, his commanding officer told him to take retirement so he wouldn't have to pursue military action.

And at 15 years old I was told that my father was moving back into our house, with me and my three younger sisters, whether I liked it not. And I didn't like it all. 

My dad moved back in, and I moved out. At least temporarily. I was shipped from church member to church member's homes for a few weeks at a time. One family would take me in until it got inconvenient (and trust me, I was a model house guest. I was terrified of being asked to leave and go back.) After being shuffled like that for months, the mom in the current family I was living with said, "Look, you can't keep hiding. You need to go back home."

I wanted to vomit. But I had no choice. I moved back home. And I lived in the same house as my dad. I tried to avoid speaking to him and walking past him. I went to school early and stayed late. Eventually my oldest brother, Rich, told me I could live with him in Texas and at 16 I left Alaska and I left my three younger sisters still living at home with my dad.

My three younger sisters. Bottom left, Phoebe, top left, Sariah, top right, Rose.

The guilt eats at me.

I had to basically close my eyes and not think about the fact that I was leaving my sisters within his grasp. I had to protect myself and I left. And it turns out that my dad continued to abuse my sister for several more years. I feel physical pain in my chest thinking about it. I would have given anything to protect my sisters. But they said he was "better." They said he could "come back home."

--------------------------

Am I writing this so you can pity me or pity my sister?

No.

Sadly, this kind of shit happens to far, far too many children. I am already aware of the huge percentage of people reading this post who were also abused by a family member, a neighbor, a stranger, or have been dated raped, or sexually attacked in some way. The prevalence is nauseating. 

No, I'm writing this so one day, when I'm ready, and when my daughters ask about my father, I will let them read this post so they understand who he is and what he did and why he isn't in our lives.

I'm writing this post because I'm no longer a child. Because I have a voice and I don't have to be silent anymore.

I'm writing this post as a Public Service Announcement: there is an unregistered sex offender living freely in Taos County, New Mexico, who goes by the name of Rocky Morrisette.

Stephen Michael Morrisette, aka "Rocky" Morrisette

I'm writing this post to ask for your help.  

(Please see post update below about who you can directly contact to help.)

Here is the Twitter page for the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. You can also 'submit a tip' to the OSI here. Though submitting a 'tip' sounds so hopelessly inadequate. Here's a tip: apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before you go out into the sun. Here's some info: the Air Force let my dad retire instead of prosecuting him.

Here is the Facebook and Twitter pages for the US Air Force. Feel free to re-post this blog and let them know what one of their retired officers has done.

Here is the Facebook page for Alaska's Governor, Sean Parnell.  Here is the email address for Michael Geraghty, Alaska's Attorney General. Maybe if enough people email or Facebook them, they'll decide it is worth pursuing.

--------------------------

I want to pursue charges against my father. I'm ready to see justice done. But if I can't see justice done for myself and my sister, I need to at least make sure that my father can't harm anyone else.

I'm not ashamed of the abuse that happened to me. It wasn't my fault. I was a child and what my father did was wrong. I'll forever have the guilt though. The guilt of feeling like I left my sisters behind (because I did). Of staying silent because I thought I was protecting them and then the guilt of leaving when I couldn't stand to be living with him any longer. My chest wants to crack open with hurt when I see the pain it has caused my sister. I couldn't prevent her abuse, but if I can help just one other person who may read this blog, then maybe some good can come from all of this. If I can get information to one person about how to heal from past abuse, or let them know that I have been there too, that I am still there, that it is possible to keep living, to be happy, to move beyond it, I've got to try.

If you need help for issues like these, please contact RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. Here is their site, and here is their Facebook page.  And please know that you are not alone.

Lastly, I highly suggest this book for reading about ways to protect your own children from abuse, and this book for protecting yourself.

----

This post was written with knowledge and permission from my sister, Sariah.

Reader Comments (116)

Oh Charlotte. I am so glad, for so many reasons, that you wrote this. I'm still thinking of what else to write. This really struck me...I'm proud of you. I hope you feel some relief and are edging toward moving through this for yourself, and feel some sort of minor vindication in calling him out publicly. Wow.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamila

The bravery it took for you to write this is incalculable. I'm so sorry for what your father to you and your sisters. It's horrifying to read, but I'm so proud of you for calling him out in this way.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlemonverbena

Charlotte.... Your courage astounds me... as it always did... although you alluded to this all those years ago I never knew the effect it had on you and your family... such a terrible, terrible thing to go through...

Please try not to feel guilty.... no matter how much you wanted to you couldn't fight this fight then... but there is a time for everything... and now is that time...

My thoughts are with you... xxx

Love to Eric and the girls... and everyone else come to think of it!!

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Lowe

I am in awe of the courage it must have taken to write this. Charlotte, I will help in any way I can, I truly hope you and your whole family find what you need to heal through all of this. What a shocking ordeal. Thinking of you and sending a huge warm hug <3

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

Oh Charlotte. There are not enough words to convey the sheer pride I feel for you in having the courage to tell your story, and even more so for having the strength to continue to fight, particularly for the next generation. It is a difficult situation and emotionally vulnerable time, but there is something so beautiful about a person who has been brought "down", saying "ENOUGH".

I knew about the statutes of limitations, which vary by state to state, from my own history and family secrets. I'm just thankful that the person wasn't my Father, not that it makes what happened to either of us any better.

I had a friend, also with a father in the military, who actually did press charges against her father, and had him on the registry. At first I thought, go you! But then she turns around and allows him to visit her and will leave her children alone with him! He moved states, is unregistered, and she's not doing anything about it. I don't know which is better or worse, to be honest.

I hope that he is prosecuted, if not for you and your sisters, but for his latest victims and possible future victims as well. Be strong, sweet Charlotte, as I know you are, but not too strong. There's no shame in crying, screaming or moments of anger over the situation. That doesn't show weakness, just a natural emotional response.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine

If you can't prosecute for your own abuse or your sister's, what about the family member he is/was abusing more recently? Surely the statute of limitations would not be up in that case? I understand not wanting to put a young person through that, but s/he has already been through worse, and if it keeps him from doing it again, it would be worthwhile.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTina

I am sorry, and I too am impressed by your courage. I posted to the Facebook pages, and left a review with a link to your post on Amazon.com (I am assuming that that is his book).

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Charlotte,

You are brave to post this. So courageous.

FYI everyone, in addition to the above contacts -----

He does book signings at stores and has spoken at the two below. Maybe we should let them know not to invite back such a dangerous, awful man?? Also, you can review his book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com

Moby Dickens Bookstore-
moby@mobydickens.com

Bookmans stores-
You can contact all of them in his area here-
http://bookmans.com/contact

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/me-an-old-pilot-and-a-three-legged-dog-rocky-morrisette/1115099133?ean=9781475979596

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Rocky%20Morrisette&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ARocky%20Morrisette

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChani

Charlotte. I'm speechless. I was abused by a babysitter when I was very young and the memory of it is very hazy. I can't imagine what you have been through. I will share this wherever I can.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Thanks for sharing. You are soooooooooo courageous. Good thing you have gotten help. I feel bad for women suffering in total silence. I will email most of these sources. As the mother of three girls, I was like a lioness protecting them....for this reason.
Love you Charlotte....JAN

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJAN

Charlotte, as always, you have expressed yourself eloquently, and with great dignity. My heart hurt for you and your family as I read this- I cannot imagine the strength it took for you to become the amazing woman you are after going through this experience of sexual abuse. It makes me even more impressed with the family you have created for yourself. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it helps others out there who have suffered in the same way, and that it possibly prevents others from being victims of your father.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLori Fisher

Your story is gut-wrenching. I am amazed that you were able to not only type it up, but also to share it in such a public place. It was hard to read, hard to face that this happened and is still happening to so many kids (I just want to stick my head in the sand), but your writing and sharing seems like the right thing to do. You are such a strong person and are loved by people near and far. I am thinking of you and sincerely hope your writing will get the gears turning. Hugs from across the country. You are doing the right thing for yourself, for your family, for your girls, and for all the victims.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

I'm lucky to be your friend.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Willie

Amazing writing my friend! I always admired what one tough cookie you were and are. Much love, friend!

Ps~ I sent you a PM via FB.

xo.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSpike!

I am so, so sorry. Did any of this abuse occur in New Mexico? I currently live in Sanra Fe and recently served on a grand jury and heard multiple child abuse cases. One involved abuse that happened over 20 years ago and the district attorneys office was prosecuting it...I got the impression there was no statute of limitations in NM. I will contact the mayor of Taos, but I have to tell you, I relocated to NM a couple of years ago from San Diego and this is the most corrupt place...I had no idea. There are good people too of course, but not enough to keep me here...I'm returning to CA as soon as possible. You were so brave to write this and I will keep you and your sister in my thoughts. I suffered abuse too, but as an adult...sending you light and love.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMD

I worked with sexually abused kids for many years. Of course you didn't want to press charges against your father. I never met a child who did. And frankly, I'm appalled that it was up to you. Those kinds of decisions should never be on a child's shoulders. He really is a classic pedophile, isn't he? I'll be very happy to go to the links you provided and help you shout this to the rooftops. You are a teller of truth. The role of your church in this makes my gut twist. Sending you love and healing.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa White

Charlotte,
First of all i'm very sorry for what happened to you and your sisters.

I'm not entirely sure what the laws were back then but in Alaska there is no statute of limitations on sexual felonies. Sec. 09.10.065. Commencement of actions for acts constituting sexual offenses.

(a) A person may bring an action at any time for conduct that would have, at the time the conduct occurred, violated provisions of any of the following offenses:

(1) felony sexual abuse of a minor;

(2) felony sexual assault; or

(3) unlawful exploitation of a minor.
Unless even the digital penetration was only considered a "misdemeanor" back then (in which case what in the super hell?) they should be able to prosecute. http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/folioproxy.asp?url=http://www.legis.state.ak.us/cgi-bin/folioisa.dll/stattx06/query=/doc/%7Bt2504%7D/pageitems=%7Bbody%7D?

Also, did It all happen on post? If it happened off post you can get ahold of local police(where it happened) instead of having to go through OSI and can tell them that OSI has information as well.

Also, some states will allow ( I don't know where to look for this but you'd be able to ask a lawyer) , even if no charges were pressed and statute of limitations are up, they would allow you and your sister to testify to what happened to you if he is doing it again and the person decides to press charges to help build the case against him.

I hope you guys are able to get justice served

*hugs*

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLittleOlMe

wow I just cannot imagine the horrific guilt you went through and are still going through, although I've been molested many many times but not like that from a family member (Father) only by non-family. That book he wrote very typical of child molesters to work around children, but that book ack! So sorry you went through this, as for me & what happened it made me stronger, maybe that is what happened for you too.
peace
Dillinger

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDillinger

Charlotte,

Wow... If anyone has guts, it's you girl.. Way to go โœ‹. It is better late than never ๐Ÿ‘. This makes my heart hurt๐Ÿ’” . I knew that he molested you when we all lived in Eagle River, I didn't know all the details, especially that he also molested your sisters. I have been raped 5 times. I didn't press charges on any of them (long story) but I think about how I should have..๐Ÿ˜ค I will help how ever you need me to.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMandy

I sent an email to OSI investigator and Alaska Attorney General. I posted on US Air Force, Alaska governor, and Taos News Facebook pages. And Charlotte, I'm sending you lots and lots of peaceful bright energy to surround your awesomeness. I also like that awesomeness is now a word that is auto-correctable.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Henry Bujnoch

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