The Complicated, Often Deadly, Relationship Between a Sexual Predator and His Prey

“People need to realize that there are many, many of us out there, and we’re not going away.”

~ an admitted pedophile

When a child is being sexually violated, they often go through the process of anticipating the abuse, experiencing the abuse, and then an act of affection or calming behavior by the abuser. This is when van der Kolk says, the “fantasy of fusion and symbiosis” begins. 1 Some people even theorize that victims of abuse can literally become addicted to their abuser as well as to the abuse –just like a drug addiction.

This kind of morbid emotional union might even lead to murder.

In 2002, Alex and Derek King (above) were tried as adults and convicted of second degree murder for killing their father. The two boys, only twelve and thirteen at the time –and too young to truly understand the seriousness of their actions– had originally confessed to the murder.

The boys later said they had lied in order to cover for Rick Chavez, a “family friend,” and the man who Alex says had been sexually abusing him. The boys claimed Chavez killed their father to keep him from knowing about the abuse and because he would not have allowed them to live with Chavez. 2

Much of the country was riveted when watching baby-faced Alex take the stand in his dress shirt and little tie. Alex told the court, and the world, about a sexual relationship with forty year-old Chavez.

I was one of millions who sat glued to Court TV to watch the trial. It was heartbreaking to see a small boy tell of his romantic love for an adult man.



Rick Chavez (in the photo with the boys) was eventually found not guilty of the murder. 3 The verdict shocked many people. 4 In spite of the love-letters written from Alex to his molester, Chavez was also found not-guilty of child molestation. Once again, it appears that a jury with an apple pie minded denial system, had refused to believe that a grown a man was having sex with a little boy.

The verdict defied the testimony given by Alex, and it flew in the face of common sense. Although unknown by the jury at the time, Chavez had been previously convicted of sexually assaulting two 13 year-old boys in 1984.

However, Chavez was convicted of false imprisonment in the King case, and later, he was convicted of accessory to the murder. Chavez is serving 35 years.

When Alex King testified at the murder trial, he spoke of his feelings for Chavez as if they were young lovers. Chavez not only stole Alex’s childhood, but he caused terrible sexual confusion in Alex, who wrote in a love letter to Chavez that he did not know if he was straight or gay.

This turmoil can be devastating for a child.

Alex King’s love letters to Chavez were painful and tragic. Alex’s crooked little handwriting resembled a young girl’s diary entry after she meets her first love. Alex wrote to Chavez, “I love you always and forever.”

Alex wrote that his life was uncertain before he met Rick Chavez and that he didn’t know if he wanted to be a teacher, a governor, or the president of the United States. Alex wrote that he thought these goals were what life was about. He said that once he met Rick Chavez, he realized he was wrong and that life was about sharing with someone else.

Little Alex thought he was in love with Chavez and wrote (maybe even prophetically) that his ultimate goal was to do whatever Chavez wanted. 5

Although Alex says it was his idea to kill his father, and Derek says he was the one who ultimately murdered their father, Chavez encouraged, coerced, and even pushed those boys to kill their father.

Whether or not the King boys committed or planned the murder, they should not be blamed for the crime. The King boys come from a society in which children are taught that violence is the only way to solve a problem, and to kill whatever is in their way.

If the King boys did kill their father, they also did it because of a lack of love and lack of healthy parental nourishment. Their mother was a stripper, who left the entire family when they were very young. There was mental and physical abuse by the father, and because of “discipline problems,” he sent Derek off to live with a foster family, and Alex was shoveled off to stay with Rick Chavez.

Alex and Derek’s father never did a background check on Chavez, and I am sure the boys both felt subconscious rage at their father for not protecting them from a molester.

Both boys were pawned off by their father, and abandoned by their mother.

Derek openly admitted to having overwhelming anger for his father. Alex still struggles with why the murder happened, and you can see the pain in his eyes. I am certain there is hidden rage at his father for placing him in the hands of a child rapist.

Alex had his entire life ahead of him, but it was ripped apart by Chavez’s degeneracy.

Child abusers have the ability to get their victim to do almost anything for them. The relationship between the sexual predator and his prey is extremely complicated. Through a form of brain washing, the abuser can twist the victim’s mind by grooming the child into believing that the abuser is the child’s only path to self-worth, and to love.

Child abusers are deceptive, manipulative, and self-oriented. Alex and Derek were being manipulated by a convicted child sexual abuser, and their sense of self was gone.

Pedophiles and child abusers steal children’s goals, possible future contributions to society, their freedom –and often, their sexuality. The victim grows with all the scars, and eventually the rage sets in.

Thousands of people were enraged when the King boys were convicted of murder. The trial was shown in its entirety on Court TVand I was among many people, who wrote the judge in the case, hoping to convince him to reverse the conviction.

On Thursday October 17 2002, the Miami judge overturned the convictions of Alex and Derek King.

The judge ordered that the attorneys both reach a plea bargain, or a new trial would be granted for the boys. Alex was given seven years, and Derek, eight years.

This shows that, when people respond to injustice in great numbers, things can be changed. Abuse survivors know better than anyone that silence is approval. Writing letters in situations like this can create positive changes for victims of child molestation and child rape, and can modify the court system. For once, America was not silent, and these two boys now have their freedom as handsome young men.

Some cases wrench my heart. But this one has a happy ending.


Although I can still see pain in Alex’s eyes, and in his tone, both boys are enrolled in college, have lots of friends and girlfriends, and both the young men have people who stepped up, in order to become the loving families the boys never had growing up.


1. The Compulsion to Repeat the Trauma Re-enactment, Revictimization, and Masochism, Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 12, Number 2, Pages 389-411,
June 1989
2. Associated Press, Bill Kaczor-NY, 09-06-02 1743EDT
3. Sons found guilty, pedophile acquitted, Rochelle Steinhaus, Sept 6 2002, Court TV Website
4.  King Brother’s Relatives Angry at Man’s Acquittal, Fox News, Feb. 13 2003,  Free,
5. Notes from Alex King ,Court TV, Aug 29, 2002
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