Those of you that know me know that there are certain things I see as absolutely abhorrent in life… and I mean abhorrent. They burn a fire of anger in my core.
I can deal with situations that are awful as well as help others through said situations. I do it regularly and I don’t give it a second thought; I’m there to help. There are some things, however, that stick with you. Certain things I have a hard time letting go. These are the things that change you and that cause problems sleeping.
Even when nothing comes of it you still feel dirty and you still feel as though you have failed even if there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. I’ve had two in the past month and it’s taken everything I have to come back from the edge and keep fighting because people depend on me.
I didn’t know how to deal with any of these things at the time. Both of these incidents involve my investigations and involve me dealing with and confronting the worst in humanity. Moreover, these involve children.
I firmly believe that the last thing a child molester should hear is the report of a twelve-gauge being fired at his head and the last thing he should ever see is 00-buck flying toward his eyes.
One of the things I’ve also learned is that you can’t save everyone. I’ve had to learn that lesson the hard way and I think I will probably have to keep learning it since I cannot stop when it comes to cases like these.
About a year ago, a fairly interesting individual joined my department at work. He was a charismatic person and had a similar personality both to my best friend there and me as well. Needless to say, we took to him quickly and he quickly became accepted into our small group of silly assholes. We would all tell awful jokes just to make each other laugh and we could all play off of each other. He seemed like one of us.
Looks can be deceiving, however. As time went on we learned that he did not necessarily match up with the image with which he had presented himself. We had trusted him to manage our products and deployment timelines and he was incapable of doing so since our deadlines consistently slipped.
It wasn’t his fault that the deadlines were slipping but it was the way he was reporting it that was dishonest. We would tell him that we had deadlines planned for several months and we would have our teams re-structured and then the project plans would only show extensions of about a week; this went on for several months.
Eventually our boss realized the dishonesty and confronted him. He wasn’t able to defend his actions and was promptly let go on the spot since he was still within his probationary period. This is where the story gets interesting and takes an awful turn; up until this point I had considered this guy a friend.
Not too long after the guy was let go, my boss came to me with a request that I wasn’t used to based on his personality. I’d worked for him for years and it still caught me by surprise.
Boss: “Hawk, I need you to do something for me”
Me: “Sure, what do you need?”
Boss: “Look through his laptop”, he said as he handed me the guy’s laptop
Me: “Okay… what am I looking for?”
Boss: “Any documents he had that we need. If you come across anything inappropriate, document it and keep moving”
Me (knowing my boss well enough to know something was up): “Sir?”
Boss: “We’ll talk later”
Boss: “I don’t need a full forensic investigation” (this statement was a red flag to me)
Me: “Then what the hell am I looking for?”
Boss: “There might be some pornographic material on that laptop” (the department purchased the laptop so it was company property)
Me: “Might be?” (at this point I’m convinced I’m not getting the full story)
Boss: “Again, I’ll tell you later”
Me: “Got it. I’m on it” (I now know that he knows I’ll find something)
I began my investigation. I went through the entire laptop and I picked up four artifacts of pornographic material left on the hard drive. It was definitely disgusting (I didn’t know the guy had a scat fetish) but nothing was illegal. I made my report and called it a day. We turned the laptop over to the central IT department to do an official investigation but I was confident in my findings since they were right in front of me.
A few days went by without incident and everything had gotten back to normal.
My boss pulls me aside at the end of the week with this look in his eyes. I’d seen that look before and I’ve seen it since; he’s hiding something from me and he’s trying to figure out how to tell me.
Boss: “I want to give you an update on his laptop”
Me: “Okay, shoot”
Boss: “They didn’t find anything inappropriate on it”
Me: “Of course they didn’t. They’re completely fucking incompetent!” (I used that exact language; I was PISSED).
Boss: “I know. They are. But they also didn’t find anything to be provided to the police department”
Now, I’ve worked with law enforcement in the past and I’m still directly associated with a police department now. I now had more questions than answers since I had never had any inkling that this would need to go to the LEOs. My boss also knows my history working with law enforcement as well as my current status so I’m certain he was telling me as professional courtesy.
Me: “…why would it need to go to the police department?”
Boss: “The child porn”
I lost it at this point and it was directed entirely at him. My boss and I see a lot of each other within each other so there are certain things we only say to each other. We’ve also had a lot of the same life experiences and there are some things only I’m allowed to say to him and sometimes vulgarity is necessary to accentuate the point.
Me: “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN, CHILD PORN?”
Boss: “I thought I mentioned it”
Me: “The hell you did! You need to tell me what’s really going on here!”
I was beyond pissed that something like that had been hidden from me especially when all I want to do is put pedophiles behind bars and my boss knows it. What came next was a real shit sandwich:
Boss: “I was told about this not too long ago but the person that told me sat on it for about five months”
Me: “What the fuck…” (my eyes were red with anger by this point)
Me: “The evidence was GONE when I investigated! I could have caught this asshole if I had just been told when it happened!”
He then proceeded to tell me how it had been discovered entirely by accident by another employee when she was working on the guy’s laptop. A whole bunch of browser tabs had popped open with the content in it; at least the guy wasn’t smart.
This bastard got away and as far as I know he still hasn’t paid for possession of child porn. These people don’t stop; I just want someone to nail him before he escalates to hurting some innocent kid. All I hope for is that my equivalent finds him and catches him at the next company this asshole goes to. Once he’s behind bars then justice will have been served.
My second case in this tale came about a few weeks ago. This one genuinely pissed me off since I looped in both one of my LEO friends as well as a former police psychologist so the three of us could work this together as a team. These cases are hard since having a victim open up is always difficult but there are times you can’t help feeling like you’ve gotten the run-around; it’s especially difficult when the victim is a child.
I’m a member of a fairly-large group of people who have either grown up around the military, are current/former military, or have an affinity for the military. I’m also a member of several LEO groups. This isn’t me dick-measuring with anyone but it’s just me mentioning how I see things and how I hear about things.
One of the members got wasted and posted his ex-girlfriend’s number in the group under the heading “Fucking Bitch”. I figured something wasn’t right so I texted her. I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into at that point. I soon found out.
I texted her and found out she lived across state lines from me. That immediately presented itself as a problem since I was now needing to operate within the laws of her state and not that of her home state. I learned them quickly so that did not present itself as an issue.
She and I began talking more and I found out she was seventeen. I had previously looked-up the area code of her phone and had found that it was within a certain state and our discussions had confirmed it; the age of consent there was lower than my home state. That in and of itself made me uneasy but I pressed on as a good investigator.
The entire time I wanted her to see me as a friend and we were just having a friendly conversation about life. We told each other stories about stuff that had nothing to do with what I was actually driving at but I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable by attacking the issue immediately.
She wound up giving me information and all kinds of details. I figured I could nail her asshole ex-boyfriend on statutory rape since the year where they had dated and had been sexually active had been before she could legally give consent since she had told me her birthday. She was very open about details and seemed like she was working with me toward that resolution.
Once I wanted to take it to law enforcement and get the bastard put away, she suddenly decided that nothing had happened. My entire case fell apart in a minute. I could not proceed at all. I had spent three days talking to her and getting her to open up to me; she divulged details.
Unfortunately, when I asked again when they had dated and had been active she gave me two different years and couldn’t remember. If it was one year she would have been able to give consent legally; if it was another it would have been statutory. That irritated me more than anything; I had the bastard and now he was being protected and the person that I had considered the victim was the one protecting him.
I contacted my LEO friend that I had looped-in and told him what was going on and there was really nothing I could do according to him either. To this day I feel like she was protecting him and just didn’t want to get him in trouble.
I had two massive failures in a row. One would have been bad enough but the two compounded each other. I didn’t know what to do with myself.
I wound up falling into a shitty feeling that took over a week to climb out of since I felt like I had two failures (though only one I was directly involved in).
Sometimes you can’t help people and it’s a hard reality of life. It’s one I’m still struggling to accept but I’m getting better at it. It’s absolutely still a hard pill to swallow since I want to help everyone. I got too close in both of these cases and I suffered for it.
I solved it by immersing myself in my work outside of all of this. It gave me something to focus on that had nothing to do with child cases since they really bothered me.