Paul's Recovery Story - From Bars to Bow Ties

“I thought if I showed people what I wanted them to see in me, they would deny that I was a child molester. Plus, I did not think of myself as one. I was in denial. The best thing that could have ever happened to me was to be on the front page of the newspaper and I am grateful it did. How many people can say that about their addictions?”

  • Paul

At UnashamedUnafraid we know this is a very sensitive and tough situation to be talking about. You may have a very visceral reaction to listening to this podcast. We hope you walk away considering just how far-reaching Christ’s atonement really is and know that no matter who you are or what you’ve done there is always hope for healing and redemption.

Paul lives in a small town. If you have ever been part of a small town community, you know that everyone knows everything about each other; whether they want it known or not. Paul grew up going to church with his parents on Sundays and it appeared that his life was full of good Christian values. He went to Bible School, and did all the “right things”. He did not realize that his life was not a life in Christ. 

Paul was first exposed to pornography in elementary school but it did not take over his life until years later. Like most teenagers, he felt that he was not enough and less than everyone around him. While in college, he met his first wife. She was not religious and he soon found himself going to church only sporadically and started questioning whether or not he believed in God. Paul had an affair before his first anniversary. His wife ended up leaving him and their daughter for one of her co-workers, ending his first marriage. During this time, he earned a degree in teaching and landed a job as a high school teacher.

Reeling from his divorce, Paul met Bev at the high school where he worked. She would talk with him about how wonderful God was and how much she needed Him in her life. Soon Paul realized that God was missing from his life, he started attending church and he fell in love and married Bev.

Bev had a daughter who was in Jr. High and Paul chose to start molesting her. He tried to cover up his actions by telling her that he might have been asleep or did not know what he was doing. Paul told Bev about the incident and painted himself as an innocent person. He continued to justify his predatory behavior by lying to himself that his stepdaughter was just a rebellious kid. Paul worked hard at a dual life to make sure he looked like a great teacher, pious churchgoer, and solid community member to cover up his actions. 

At this point, Paul began to spend hours downloading porn, fueling his lust. He was the girls soccer coach for the Jr. High and High School team and he would travel with the girls. Paul would make sure everyone knew he would get off the bus while the girls were changing to cover up his dual life and feed his justification and denial. 

Paul’s stepdaughter reported him to the police but it was her word against his, which made it difficult for the police to prosecute him. Despite his stepdaughter coming forward, Paul found he was very good at deflecting the truth about himself by telling people his stepdaughter was making a lot of bad choices in her life. Later, when Paul molested a girl from the soccer team and she reported him there was enough evidence to bring charges against Paul which led to his arrest in 2000. 

Six months into his prison sentence Paul was ready to truly start on a path of trusting God. His first step was being honest. He called Bev and told the truth about everything for the first time. He wrote letters to everyone he knew, confessing to his actions and his lies. Along with honesty, he also wanted to be accountable. Paul decided to call his step-daughter and told her he wanted to own the truth of the abuse. He told her that he wanted to be accountable and honest with everyone about what had happened. He had Bev on that phone call because he wanted his stepdaughter to know he wasn’t lying and manipulating any more and truly wanted accountability. This was the start of Paul’s recovery. 

Upon being released from prison Paul tried to reintegrate into the town’s churches and they shunned him. He eventually found a pastor that would allow him into their congregation. Soon, the head pastor asked him to share his story and he agreed, after which, Paul was expecting to be shunned from this church too. Instead, Paul was approached by a guy who hosted a 12-step recovery group and Paul decided to go. He attended regularly and found hope, healing, and change in his life. 

A major part of Paul’s recovery and healing is the relationship with his step-daughter. Paul remains accountable and open with his step-daughter. Over the course of many years, she has found healing from Paul’s abuse and has forgiven Paul. Fast forward 14 years to today, Paul has an active relationship with his stepdaughter and her family.

Paul has found healing through the acceptance of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice. He describes his recovery as one day at a time and one grace moment with God to the next. With his stepdaughter's and Bev’s support, he continues to share his journey of hope and healing with everyone he meets. He teaches in a prison ministry and co-hosts the Mess It Up Podcast as the “Bow Tie Guy” where they “turn your mess into a message”. Paul said, “The best thing that could have ever happened to me was to be on the front page of the newspaper” because it exposed the lies he had been living for years and started him on the road to recovery.