I have not publicly shared the real name of the man who molested me and my cousin, Peter, during the summer of 1972. For the purposes of the book, I changed his name to Glenn Stickney.
I was recently contacted by someone I went to high school with in Robinson, Illinois. For the sake of privacy, I will call him Leo. For the record, Peter is not the real name of my cousin, either.
There were approximately 600 students in my high school. Leo was someone who I didn’t associate with. I have no memory of ever speaking to him, nor was he one of my bullies. One would think that Leo and I had nothing in common. However, Leo has been following this blog and awaits the release of my book. I am happy that Leo reached out to me.
He wrote to me that he had glossed over the description of my book and took pause at the part about my molestation as a child. Leo asked me if that experience had anything to do with Glenn Stickney. He then confessed to me that he had been molested by Glenn and had never shared his story with anyone before.
This was a message I both anticipated and dreaded. I was shaken to my core as I read Leo’s letter. He shared his story which was akin to mine; deception, broken trust, and years of pain and denial which he still carries.
There were always whispered rumors about the four Stickney brothers when I was growing up. It is safe to say that many residents of Robinson, Illinois knew their reputation, but few spoke frankly about it back then. A couple of weeks after Leo’s letter, I heard from someone else I went to high school with who I will call Wayne. He, too, shared a story of being molested by Glenn Stickney.
Some validation came in 1989. The oldest Stickney brother (not Glenn) was convicted of 35 counts of child molestation in Indiana and is now serving a life sentence for his crime. At least SOMEONE in that family was being punished for raping little boys. With the release of my book, perhaps more victims will come forward and more tough questions will be asked. How many victims could there be? Which brother did what to who?
I am told that Glenn Stickney, now in his 50’s, still walks the streets of Robinson. I hope my hometown talks about his legacy and protects their children.
My book isn’t about the day, the week, or even the summer that I was molested. It isn’t about being bullied for being a sissy. My lifelong struggle for my dad’s admiration isn’t what the book is about, either. Shorn is about the EFFECTS those issues had on my life. I felt alone most of my life because of my confusion and my pain. I obviously wasn’t the only one in Robinson, Illinois who struggled with those feelings.
The alleged victims of Glenn Stickney were also victims of a generation where child molestation was not talked about. We lived in a small, conservative, Midwestern town where most folks never thought about such ugly things. We were stifled children too scared to speak. The language of sexual abuse was minimal in the early 1970’s. However, the dialogue that we all share now is that of guilt and shame. Peter, Leo, Wayne and I (now in our 40’s) have all experienced remorse for not speaking up at the time and possibly protecting other children from our molester.
But we were kids???
I am delighted to corroborate and empower anyone who has suffered sexual abuse, especially those who lost their innocence at the hands of the Stickney brothers. My book hopefully soothes the shame of others that grew up emotionally burdened like me.
I eventually found my voice. I am here to tell everyone that the thirty-some years of Hell I endured is worth the happiness I have felt since forgiving myself for things I was never guilty of in the first place.