At first glance, 74-year-old James Daniel Bond looks like a grandfather.
He doesn’t look like a sexual predator who preys on underage girls.
But he is.
And this grandfather’s victim was his eight-year-old granddaughter.
When Bond entered a guilty plea in Circuit Court in Floyd, Virginia, last November, he told Judge Ray W. Grubbs that he loved his granddaughter.
“I guess I just loved her too much,” Bond said.
Bond admitted repeatedly fondling his granddaughter’s breasts and genital areas and tried to talk the child into performing oral sex on him.
Yet with all that he did, his daughter – mother of the child he molested – didn’t want her father to go to prison.
“I know those who don’t know him will view him in a different light because of this,” she said. “But he’s my father and I love him and I don’t want him to die in jail or spend the rest of his life alone in his home.”
He went to jail – for a year – and will spend 10 more years on probation with electronic monitoring and cannot see his family again.
It would be nice if we could report that a sexual deviate like James Daniel Bond is an anomaly.
But he’s not.
Many sexual abuse cases involving minors also involve a relative of that minor.
In tiny Floyd County, Virginia, there are 21 registered sexual offenders – and 12 of them molested another member of their family.
“Strangers are perpetrators in about 10% of child sexual abuse cases,” says Dr. Julia Whealin, an expert in sexual abuse cases. The rest are relatives are others known to the children.
“Children are more likely to be sexually abused by someone they know, including relatives and family friends, than by a stranger,” says promotional material for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. “Children may have confused feelings if they’re being abused by someone they trust. They may not realize that what is being done to them is abuse.”
Jeffrey Ferguson, 19, of Copper Hill, Virginia, molested his younger sister when he was 15. Police charged the then-juvenile with aggravated sexual assault but – under state law – he would not be tried on the charge until he became an adult. His family argued that he should not go to jail with his grandfather telling the court the youngster’s crime is “one of those things all teenagers go through.”
He went to jail.
“Too much denial leads to all sorts of problems as the abuse is not addressed,” says psychotherapist Kali Munro. “This kind of denial is harmful and is fuelled in part by other parts of society who would rather deny than face the reality of child sexual abuse.”
“Those who remain in denial about the definition of sexual child abuse, the truth about the most frequent sexual child abuse offender is part of the reason sex offenders have the opportunity to abuse children,” says Dr. Dorothy M. Neddermeyer.
Denial. Something we see every day in politics, substance abuse, crime and too many other parts of society.
In cases of sexual abuse, denial all to often begins at home.