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The following is a first-person accounting from a client:

I tell this story with the hope of influencing the decision of at least one person to not travel down the same road I did. I am a person who had it all. A wonderful family, fantastic children, a girlfriend, and a good career. Life could not be better. However, I made a decision that will haunt me the rest of my life, even though the legal aspects of this case are now over.

A number of years ago, I made the horrific decision of wandering into an internet chat room that was dedicated to discussions about child molestation and the trading of online child pornography. The smart decision would have been just to leave but the temptation to engage others in the chat room was too great. Although I have never had a sexual interest in children, the lure of chatting with others who were involved in it raised a level of curiosity from me.

At first, I thought it was just a bunch of people role playing, but I unfortunately found out it was all too real. For reasons that will never be 100% clear to me, I made that awful decision to engage in the viewing and trading of that content. For anyone who thinks the viewing of child pornography is harmless, think again. Some child had to be molested and have their innocence taken away for those images to be produced. Put yourself in that child’s shoes. It is an extremely horrible and incredibly sad act. I had the incredible privilege of being raised by the 2 best parents in the world and the shame I inflicted on myself and my family will never go away. Anyone with any type of conscience will never let a day go by where you don’t reflect on a really bad decision such as this. From the day of my arrest, I cried myself to sleep every night. It was more painful than anything I ever had to deal with in life and I caused it. It was a self-inflicted wound. Yes, in that way, it is a life sentence. As I stated earlier, I have children of my own. I would have been incredibly devastated if it were one of my children in those photos. For me or anyone to not have that same level of concern for anyone’s else children is a very selfish attitude to have. When I was caught, the FBI showed up at my workplace and confiscated my computer. A search warrant was served at my residence and my home computer was also seized. The absolute worst part of the whole situation was that I had to have supervised visitation with my children. You would think the legal ramifications you face would be the most difficult, but it is the pain you inflict on others, especially your own children which was the most painful. When my case was resolved, I was sentenced. I had to also serve probation as well as register as a sex offender. The financial pain of this ordeal was very significant. The emotional toll was priceless. I still have those days where I cry and want to tell everyone involved how sorry I am and how out of character it was. People do forgive over time, but you can never turn back the clock. There are just some scars that are permanent and you will have to deal with it.

The lesson is: Before you ever even think of committing any kind of criminal act, especially when the victim is a child, the ramifications you will have to deal with are so not worth it and it is that pain you inflict on those who love you will have a much more long lasting effect. Never ever take for granted anyone who is dear to you..You may lose them forever.

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