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just found out something awful about someone I knew many years ago

(65 Posts)
GillT57 Thu 30-May-19 16:35:01

Not sure whether health is the right category, but as it is disturbing and worrying at me, perhaps it is. Briefly; through an online forum I have discovered that a chap I used to know ( and fancy!) has been convicted of looking at child pornography. Now, it was many years ago that I knew him, and we did not have any kind of relationship other than me worshipping him from afar, but when I saw a photo of him way back in the 1970s, looking as I remembered him, and then saw the pathetic old man looking out of the newspaper court report I felt sick.....and very sad. Obviously for the children in the pornography, that goes without saying, but somehow for the tainting of my more innocent youthful self. I know it may seem self indulgent, I wasn't harmed after all, but it has really been bothering me.

lemongrove Thu 30-May-19 16:42:02

It’s understandable Gill and I would feel the same, you feel a bit tainted and it has ruined a happy memory.
Try and put it out of your mind and forget him.
There seems to be an epidemic of men looking at child pornography, and these are the tip of the iceberg as so many are not found out, it’s truly horrible.

GillT57 Thu 30-May-19 16:49:43

Thanks for your kind understanding lemon, this has really disturbed me.

annep1 Thu 30-May-19 17:03:20

Same sort of thing happened to me. We worked together until ten years ago when I moved office and kept in touch by email when I retired. He had been very supportive when my husband and I split up (naive moi?). Then one day he made an unacceptable remark. I said he would have to not do that or I wouldn't keep in touch. He said he didn't do ultimatums. So I just stopped corresponding immediately. I felt sick when I saw his photo in the paper and totally disgusted and wondered what thoughts he had possibly about me. Ugh. That was two years ago. It's forgotten now. You'll soon forget about it.

Nonnie Thu 30-May-19 17:05:33

How horrible must have been a shock and make you wonder what could have happened.

When we were first married we knew a couple who brought their child to see us a couple of times. He always had plasters and they said he was accident prone. We lost touch but then read in the paper that they had been abusing their child. Those plasters were covering cigarette burns! We felt awful but, as we were not parents, we didn't have a clue.

grannyticktock Thu 30-May-19 17:13:34

Don't jump to conclusions about what this man did or didn't do. Here's what happened to someone I once met:
He had been viewing legitimate porn (!) and hanging round some dubious chatroom. Somone on that forum sent him a file and said, "I think you'll like this!" He moved the file to a memory stick (I think he was at work, but this was his big mistake) and then had a look. When he clicked in the images some were of underage/children. He was shocked, closed it down and deleted the file. Then a colleague, looking for a lost file, searched in the Deleted box, found the images and reported him.

Now that's his story; it's not very wholeseome, and I don't know if there is any more to it than that. But this man was taken to court. He was found guilty of possessing indecent images, but at the the very lowest level, and given a long period of probation with psychiatric reports etc. The police and probation service concluded that he had no interest in child images and the chance of his reoffending was minimal.

However, he lost his job, his marriage, and all contact with his children. He received death threats. He suffered with mental health problems. He left the area, and got another job, and years later he ended up changing his name because it's all out there if anyone googles his name, even though his conviction is now spent. He is, however, on the sex offenders' register for life.

I also heard of another man - a vicar! - to whom something similar happened.

So don't conclude that this man is a monster. Many men view porn, and it is easy, particularly for somone who's a bit clumsy with technology, to find themselves almost accidentally becoming a sex offender. That doesn't excuse their grubby behaviour and sleazy habits, but images are passed around so casually that they may end up on the computer of someone who never wanted them. Some of the "perpetrators" of these crimes are also victims of others trying to sell their vile materials.

I think you should put this behind you and stop feeling tainted by association with this man. You don't know the details or the circumstances, and you can't do anything about it anyway. When you knew him, you both lived in more innocent times, and maybe you can even feel some compassion for him now that he has ended up in this pitiable situation and will be disgraced for life.

Johno Thu 30-May-19 17:17:59

The old saying.... you cant control what others do but you can control how you react... is applicable here. Life is full of rotten people and let downs, this is natural.. Negative energy will do you no good. He is a vile person and not worth your energy. If you accept that it is your moral standards which set your reaction in this way (good standards) then you can be grateful you are a good person and have true feelings, which is far better than being some cold fish.

Labaik Thu 30-May-19 17:19:19

It's great that, through social media we can relive things from our past. When I first found an old site showing photos of where I lived as a child it was fascinating at first but, for a while I had to stop looking at it because it was such a long time ago and those areas have now been demolished and rebuilt. I kept dipping into it but it made me unbearably sad. I always liken the internet to some sort of time machine. Great in some ways but also quite disturbing in others. An example being of a teacher from primary school days that I often wondered about as I grew older; a nostalgia site I was on recently talked about how physically abusive many of the teachers were [including him]. It left me feeling very odd. So to read something like that must have really thrown you, especially as the memory you've had for so many years has been replaced with that of an old creepy man. I agree with lemon; you must put it behind you and perhaps use this thread as a way of exorcising it in some way. x

Elvive Thu 30-May-19 17:20:12

This type of thing shakes our foundations and makes us ask all sorts of questions. Go easy on yourself Gill.

blondenana Thu 30-May-19 17:26:16

There is so much of this , men viewing indecent images of children, and a policeman friend of mine told me this town is rife, with paedophiles and drugs
There is UK database, and i have discovered from that at least 4 people who live locally to me, and one who was a school friend of one of my sons in the 70s
Also i know someone i was close to who gave me clues that he could be a paedophile by things he said, i cant even speak to him now, although he has never as far as i know been convicted, but he is very secretive about his past,

GillT57 Thu 30-May-19 18:10:48

Thank you all. I am touched by the kindness and understanding. I was worried it could come across as being a bit weird to be so bothered about something over which I had no control.

Callistemon Thu 30-May-19 18:16:09

I will reiterate what Elvive has said

And would add that everyone needs to be careful about how much information they may share on the internet, even such innocent sites as Ancestry, etc.

GillT57 Thu 30-May-19 18:30:52

grannyticktock sadly this was no innocent or accidental viewing of child porn. He was charged, had his laptop taken as evidence and was found with a new laptop and child porn before the first case even got to court. I don't think he ever married which is s relief I suppose. He had several custodial sentences. He is dead now but I am haunted by the photo of the exceptionally good looking young man he once was

Fennel Thu 30-May-19 18:40:33

Very sad Gill.
But goes to show how these disgusting websites can become addictive to vulnerable people.

kittylester Thu 30-May-19 18:46:31

Oh, gill, that is unsettling! I hope the memory fades quickly.

sodapop Thu 30-May-19 18:50:47

It's strange isn't it how we always think its 'someone else' and would not be anyone we know. It's very hard to comprehend when we know the person concerned.
Callistemon is right we should all be mindful of the things we share on the internet.

wildswan16 Thu 30-May-19 19:35:29

I think it shakes your confidence in your own judgement. I knew and very much liked a man, but years later found out some very unsavoury things about him. (Absolutely certain about these).

I still can't believe how I was taken in by him. And for many years, whenever meeting people I kept saying to myself "is this person really who they say they are?", and that is a horrible way to have to be.

luluaugust Thu 30-May-19 19:46:34

This must be relatively common, we have just been reading about a court case involving a paedophile and suddenly realised that it was a friend of our DD1 who she was at school with 35 years ago. Along with her other friends he was often in and out of our house. She hadn't seen or heard of him for years but has now had a lot of old schoolfriends contacting her regarding the case.

GillT57 Thu 30-May-19 20:40:32

I think you are right sodapop, we are inclined to think these repellent crimes are committed by "others" not by people we like, people "like us".

Anniebach Thu 30-May-19 21:48:20

I can go back to the late 70’s, my two daughters went every week to the church youth club, the priest and his wife were close friends and when a new priest came here we were all friends, the married couple moved to a new parish and the priest carried on with the club. Two years later he moved to a new parish (the youth club was held in the clergy house )

Some years later he was charged with sexual abuse on boys,
I was so mixed up, upset because I liked and trusted him, relief it hadn’t been little girls which caused such guilt.

Humbertbear Fri 31-May-19 07:19:15

One day, a few years ago, my husband said ‘did you know Mr A when you were teaching ...’. I said yes, he bullied both the staff and pupils. ‘ That’s just what it says in The Times’ he said. Mr A was about to be sentenced to 17 years for molesting pupils at the school where I taught, while I was there. I immediately threw up and still feel sick when I think about it. I honestly had no idea this was going on and, worse still, with hindsight, I think one of his victims was in my form. I can only hope and pray that he has managed to build a life for himself. I knew he wasn’t happy at the school and in year 11 I told his parents to move him to a 6th form college which they did.

BlueBelle Fri 31-May-19 08:17:06

Having worked so long with survivors I know only too well that most paedophiles are seemingly ordinary every day people and I m afraid I would never be shocked to hear if anyone I knew (apart from knowing someone very well ) had that within them We ALL know a paedophile we just don’t know we know them There are two men who were living near me one who makes me sick to the core a professional man a university lecturer who was given custody of his daughter he is now serving a sentence, another younger man, single, arrogant and very full of his good acts in his church, a regular church goer who is now thankfully serving his third term inside my third encounter was the grandkids priest at their school he was round, jolly, and the kids went to him with their problems until he disappeared then suddenly appeared in the newspaper for historical abuse

Everyone knows a paedophile Gil please throw your memory out with the shower water he was not what you thought or knew

TwiceAsNice Fri 31-May-19 08:51:28

Having worked with paedophiles and non protecting mothers in the past, these men do not have two heads and look just like anyone else, that is why they get away with it. They are masters at being manipulative and grooming is a skill . Don’t worry that you were taken in so ate most people. When I was working in that area me and my colleague felt we developed a sixth sense in spotting them

TwiceAsNice Fri 31-May-19 08:51:56

Are not ate

Franbern Fri 31-May-19 09:36:04

When I was involved in sport, and was regional Welfare Officer, I used to deliver Child Protection courses to coaches and also train up Club Child Protection Officers. One, very well qualified coach/teacher had me down to his club to run these courses, and I can always hear his voice in my head saying how glad he was that this had been brought in and it should have been done years earlier. Great coach - did wonders for many under-priviledged children......I actually told one of my own children (training in Sports development) to 'sit at his feet and learn'!
Then, a few years later, I had to stop my car on the hard shoulder, as I heard on the local news that this 'wonderful' man, had been convicted of grooming, etc. of his own club members. I was actually sobbing and felt so 'used'. How did I not see through him?, and could I have done more to protect those young girls? It was like someone had kicked me very hard in the stomach.