Saturday, January 31, 2015

Time to Give It a Rest

In 2007, when he was 87 years old, I Googled Bill Bricker and found a flattering profile written about him, previously published in the Glen Arbor [MI] Sun in 2005. [If only the article had been written twenty years earlier.] 

I posted the article on my blog, because a friend of mine told me years before that he had been molested by Bricker during scouting overnights. I made a cryptic remark at the end of the article, wondering why Bricker left his teaching job, hoping to see what kind of comments my query and the profile would generate. Thus began the long and winding road to Bill Bricker's arrest seven years later for inappropriate behavior with three minors. 

Over the next several years, lots of people began to comment for and against Bricker on the blog. Always anonymously. 

One victim, who never told me his name, decided to get a Chicago attorney involved with an eye toward criminal or civil charges against Bricker. He even called me on the phone [anonymously, with the number blocked], when I was discouraged by the lack of people coming forward at the time. Ever hopeful for a result, I tried to help out by posting the lawyer's information.

In 2012, I was contacted via this blog and my email, by a detective with the Teton County, WY, Sheriff's office. She wanted me to list her contact number on the blog for anyone who had been molested by Bill Bricker in Wyoming. With help from comments they found on the blog, there was an active, open, ongoing investigation against Bricker. After the years of whispers, I was very pleased to hear that an investigation was under way in Wyoming which, unlike Illinois, didn't have a statute of limitations. 

However, a year later, she called back wondering why she hadn't heard from more victims. 

It became clear that the shame and humiliation of sexual abuse were too great for the victims, both boys and girls, to feel comfortable revealing themselves, no matter what I, or anyone else who tried to help, could do.

Finally, at the end of September, 2014, the ailing, now 94-year old former teacher/scoutmaster/camp counselor was arrested. Three credible victims had come forward. His double life was over. His decades of depravity had been revealed. He was arrested and taken from his medical re-hab facility and put in a cell before his arraignment. The press perked up and took an interest. 

The years of rumors became a moment of truth for Bill Bricker's victims. More victims felt empowered to come forward. More papers carried the story.

The arrest was then followed by weeks and weeks of lawyers fighting for Bricker's extradition.

Followed by Bricker's death.

With Bricker's passing, this chapter of my life is over. I am on to other things. If there are postscripts, I will share them.

But for now, I'd like to give it a rest.

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