“And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck” (Mark 9:42)
Last week everyone waited for word about Jessica Ridgeway, an 11-year-old girl in Colorado. Was she alive or dead? Unfortunately, she was not found alive and had been brutally dismembered. The fate of Jessica and many other young girls like her always bring back memories of a similar occurrence in my own life.
I was about nine years old and having a fun time playing with my neighbor at her house. The phone rang. It was for me. I didn’t recognize the man’s voice on the other side of the phone, but he seemed to know me. He asked me how I was and we chatted for a few moments – small talk. Soon, however, the conversation turned weird for a young girl. He began asking me if I had ever had a babysitter. When I responded that I had one, he began asking me questions about her. He asked whether she was tall or short, had dark hair or light hair, what her eye color was, and how old I thought she was. I was uncomfortable with the questions, but he said that my mom had given him my friend’s phone number so I figured it was okay to answer them. Then, his questions became creepy. He asked if my babysitter had breasts and what size bra I thought she wore. This is when I became scared. Apparently, this man realized my apprehension in answering personal questions about my babysitter and he changed the subject.
He told me he had several baby rabbits. They were very cute. He asked if I would like to see them. What young girl wouldn’t like to see and hold a soft, cuddly baby rabbit? I told him that I would and he told me to meet him at the corner drugstore. Fortunately for me, the corner drugstore was across town and I knew that I probably wouldn’t be able to go see the rabbits, even though he made me promise to be there within the next 15 minutes.
By this time, I’m confused about his weird questions, but excited to see the rabbits. I slam down the phone and run across the street to my house. When I get inside, I tell my mom everything this man said to me – everything! I beg to see the rabbits while my mom picks up the phone and calls my babysitter’s mom to warn her about a man who had told my mom that he was Pamela Smith’s ‘uncle’.
Pamela Smith was another young girl in my class. We were friends and spent a lot of time together. She actually lived one block from that drug store with the rabbits. My mom immediately called Pamela Smith’s mom to ask her if she had an uncle who would make such an obscene call to a little girl. Pamela’s mom suddenly became very upset. Earlier that day Pamela had received a similar phone call. The man claimed to be Olivia Greene’s grandfather! The two moms began to call other moms only to find out that this man had contacted several girls in my fifth grade class. The police became involved. Everyone was frightened for their daughters. Parents drove their children to school everyday – everyone except my parents.
Both of my parents worked and both of them, for whatever reasons, didn’t find it dangerous enough to take me to school. I lived very far from the elementary school unlike the other girls in my class. I lived at the cut-off line for that particular school and had a 10-12 block walk. All of us who lived on my street took a short cut down the hill on an old ‘Indian path’ covered with brush and trees. I was so frightened about who could be hiding in those trees that I walked alone to my school the ‘the long way around.’ To this day I’m not sure why my parents didn’t feel the need to protect me and drive me to school. Though I have asked over the years, all they say is they don’t remember being worried!
Several weeks later, the man was caught breaking into the bedroom of one of my classmates. He had obtained a ladder and was tapping on her bedroom window. I don’t remember if it was a set up or they were just lucky, but the police shined a light on him and he was caught. I do not know whatever happened to that man as I was never told. For all I know he’s still out there somewhere. My classmate was not in school the next day, but when she returned she talked about the most frightening night of her life.
This event happened 45 years ago. I was taught to not talk to strangers. I was taught not to take candy from strangers. I was taught to not get into a car with strangers. Yet, a stranger came into my world and made a lasting impression on my life and the lives of several other young girls.
Wickedness turns into depravity for those who could care less about the knowledge of God (Romans 1:28). Yeshua speaks of the wickedness in the end times in Matthew 24. He warns that the world will become more wicked and even more depraved as men reject God, but salvation is for those who ‘stand firm.’
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:12-13).
Today as I read the comments on social media from several different groups supporting the family and friends of Jessica Ridgeway, I am grateful that so many people still stand firm and not everyone’s conscience is seared like the man who abused this young girl (along with every other man who abuses young children and young adults physically or emotionally). I pray that this man may be found – the light shone on him – and justice rendered quickly. Only with true Biblical justice will there be peace for the family of Jessica Ridgeway.
“And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man,by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:5-6).
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