Man Admits in Open Court That Sexual Abuse Became a “Relationship”

WORCESTER — “A Charlton man testified yesterday that he was sexually abused 38 years ago by a University of Massachusetts Medical School student in the student’s apartment bedroom while the then-10-year-old’s friends were in the living room smoking the student’s marijuana.

Timothy Clark, 48, testified that the abuse went on for several years, until Mr. Clark and a friend got caught playing hooky after they rode in the muscle car of the student, Richard B. Edison, before another marijuana party at Mr. Edison’s house. Mr. Edison is now a plastic surgeon in Hollywood, Fla., who denies the allegations made in the civil jury trial in U.S. District Court.

Also testifying yesterday was Erik D. Nelson, a Worcester psychologist who treated Mr. Clark for post-traumatic stress disorder in 2008, the year that, Mr. Clark testified, he recovered the memory of the abuse. Defense lawyer John O. Mirick tried to make the case that Mr. Clark’s PTSD could stem from an abusive mother and father, rather than abuse for which he said Mr. Nelson has only the word of his patient. While the psychologist said he was aware of other stress factors in his patient’s life, he testified the trauma stemmed from the sex abuse his client suffered at the hands of Mr. Edison.

A jury of five women and three men is hearing the case based on a civil suit filed by Worcester lawyer Stephen Gordon.

Mr. Clark described how in 1974, when he was 10, he was intrigued by Mr. Edison’s red Cutlass “muscle car.” He said Mr. Edison gave him more intimate invitations, from driving around in the car, to steering it from the passenger seat, to steering while sitting on Mr. Edison’s lap — Mr. Clark’s feet wouldn’t reach the pedals — to going up to his apartment and listening to Led Zeppelin on a stereo.

Mr. Edison lived in the same apartment complex on Yorkshire Terrace in Shrewsbury as Mr. Clark and two older brothers and their divorced mother. Mr. Clark said he smoked marijuana for the first time in Mr. Edison’s apartment.

He said Mr. Edison began rolling on the floor with him and showed him the “crusher,” which the medical student said was a wrestling move that involved the older man getting on top of him and rubbing himself on the boy’s buttocks. Soon, he said, the behavior moved to Mr. Edison’s bedroom.

Sometimes Mr. Clark’s brothers would also be present or other children from ages 10 to 13, Mr. Clark said, and they would smoke marijuana and listen to music while Mr. Clark and Mr. Edison disappeared into the bedroom, locking the door. The witness said his mother, who eventually died from a heroin overdose, forbade him to see Mr. Edison, but she worked up to three jobs at a time, leaving the boys unsupervised. He disobeyed her.

“I trusted him,” Mr. Clark testified. “He was going to be a doctor.”

Mr. Clark said he was spending three or four days a week at Mr. Edison’s apartment. “It got more and more intense. It became a relationship,” he said.”

I absolutely believe Mr. Clark’s memories. There is no way that a man is going to get on a witness stand and admit to the court and to the public that, at age ten, eleven and twelve, he was in a sexual “relationship” with a grown man.

I might have been wrong yesterday when I stated Mr. Clark probably recalled the sexual abuse at his mother’s grave because she did not protect him from his perpetrator. I think Mr. Clark might also have been angry with her for forbidding him to see Mr. Edison.  He went against his mother’s wishes and did it anyway, but he was probably angry and defiant over her trying to keep him from enjoying the relationship he had with his abuser. As sick, dysfunctional, and abusive as it was….the child in these situations does not always see it that way.

Society looks at all cases of child sexual abuse and says, “Oh how horrible that must have been for the child.” But many times, the child might say, “No, it wasn’t so bad. I liked getting attention, gifts, and the sexual stuff sometimes felt good.”

Mr. Clark may have simultaneously been angry with his mother for not being there to protect him and to be a real mother, but also angry at her for trying to keep him from the man who was providing the boy with what he so desperately needed –a form of love. To many children, sexual abuse is LOVE.

Please don’t write me and tell me I don’t know what the hell I am talking about, because I speak from personal experience here. I felt these exact emotions with my own parents.

“After two years, when the family moved to Brandywine Village on the other side of Shrewsbury, Mr. Edison soon moved there, too, Mr. Clark testified before Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV. It was not long before “the same routine” continued there, only with different youths being left outside the bedroom of Mr. Edison’s apartment, Mr. Clark said.

The family moved to Lincoln Village in Worcester in 1978 and not long after the red Cutlass pulled up to the basketball court there, where Mr. Clark was practicing. Mr. Clark convinced a friend to skip school with him the next day and go to Mr. Edison’s apartment in Shrewsbury.

The three of them smoked marijuana, Mr. Clark testified, and Mr. Edison got atop the friend, tickling him until the friend was overcome by an asthma attack. “Rick and I went in the bedroom…” and eventually Mr. Edison took the two boys back to Worcester, Mr. Clark said.

But the boys got caught playing hooky and, with Mr. Clark’s friend’s mother involved, they took Mr. Edison to Central District Court in Worcester. The charge was disturbing the peace, but he said he never saw Mr. Edison again.

Mr. Clark said memories of the pot smoking and sexual abuse came tumbling out unexpectedly, “just like shock and awe,” when he visited his mother’s grave on Mother’s Day in 2008.”

The fact that Mr. Clark began to remember the sexual abuse on Mother’s Day is also indicative of his anger. Mother’s are supposed to protect, love and nurture their children. Mr. Clark probably felt abandoned and betrayed by his mother.

Days before I first began to remember being sexually abused by my father, I got a phone call from the Police Protective League asking for a financial donation.

They did not know my father had been a police officer, it was merely a random call, and to most other people, the phone call would have appeared normal and innocent.

However, after hanging up the telephone, anger began to well up inside of me. At the time, I had not yet remembered the incest, so I had no idea what triggered my rage. The request for a charitable donation was nothing strange, and the person on the other end of the phone had been polite and understanding when I declined to give them money.

Police officers are supposed to protect and defend children, so the phone call was a trigger that began to dislodge my memories.

In the days following the phone call, I experienced terrible symptoms, including chest pain, rapid heart beat, and a pathological hunger that was close to unbearable. It was not long after this that I had my first repressed memory of incest come out of the shadows of the darkest corners of my mind.


This entry was posted in Child Abuse, child molestation, child sexual abuse, false memory syndrome and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Man Admits in Open Court That Sexual Abuse Became a “Relationship”

  1. little nel says:

    It is interesting what “triggers” the memories of childhood abuse in adults.

    I remember that a county worker came to my house one day and demanded that I let her have access to my fenced yard through a closed and latched gate so she could “inspect the barn.”

    I said, “No, you have no legal authority to do that.”

    All of a sudden, she got this smug facial expression, and I had a flashback of Julia Leythrope Hall and the night matron’s face, something that I had never remembered before.

    I felt instant panic and began looking for a place to hide. I got into my truck and drove to a hotel and checked in a room without saying a word to anyone.

    I got into the room and found a dark corner where I rolled into a ball and cried and rocked. It took my husband a day to find me.

    • Alethea says:

      It is interesting Little Nel! The SC mind intrigues me. There is a Lifetime movie, based on a true story, where the female character sends herself threatening letters in the mail. But does this while she is dissociating so she does not recall writing or sending them and when she receives the letters, she freaks out thinking someone is trying to kill her. It was all done subconsciously so she would put herself in touch with her traumatic past of death threats and child abuse.

      The police detective assigned to her case figured it out and got her help. The movie is based on what really happened to a woman. Lifetime Channel never runs the movie anymore 😦

  2. Michelle says:

    Thank you Alethea and Little Nel for your comments, they give me hope. I just wish I could get a message to her somehow that I do not believe it is her fault. It is NEVER the child’s fault and even if her relationship continued to happen after she was older she was already it in and obviously very confused. My ex is the master manipulator and she didn’t stand a chance. One of her counselors told me that she had never seen anything like their relationship. She might as well be his wife, they are so close. I am hoping if he gets convicted, maybe she can break free.

  3. Michelle says:

    I think that is what my daughter is involved in with her father, my ex-husband. She has been involved in cutting, anorexia, bulimia, drugs and now prostitution. She is totally estranged from me because now my youngest daughter, her sister (10 y/o) has come forward saying her dad has been molesting her. I am involved in a legal battle for full custody now to get her away from her father and he is also facing criminal charges. But my oldest daughter has turned on her sister and myself calling us liars and standing by her dad. I have learned so much from your website, but my question is, “do you think she will ever face the truth herself?” I continue to text her and tell her I love her but she doesn’t want anything to do with me!!!

    • Alethea says:

      Dear Michelle,

      I am so sorry that you are going through so much pain.

      Many times, victims of child sexual abuse, will turn on a younger sibling out of jealousy that the abuse has now started with the younger sibling and slows down, or ends, with the older one. This is not uncommon and although society does not want to believe it, this kind of twisted relationship exists in many cases of CSA, especially incest.

      Oftentimes, when the children grow older, the oldest victim (now an adult or teen) will deny the younger child’s accusations of abuse because denying the abuse means they can continue to deny their own abuse. Many teens and adults prefer to not think about it and try to deny or ignore it. They mistakenly think this will cure them. In actuality, it sets up the younger victim for being called a liar and for abuse continuing, and it will eventually make the older victim very sick and dysfunctional in their life.

      I can’t judge your situation, but by what you have told me, it sounds like your older daughter might have resentment for you because of a possible “sexual relationship” (read: child sexual abuse) with her father as a child. I am not saying this is the case for your family, but in many families with father/daughter incest, there can be jealousy and competition between the daughter and the mother –competition for the affection of the father.

      Not only do I base myself in having talked to other victims of abuse, and by reading other people’s stories, but I speak from personal experience.

      Will your oldest daughter ever face the truth? Most people do not ever face the truth. I hope she does. The fact that you are so honest with yourself and willing to see the truth yourself, means that one day, you might be able to help her deal with herself. Your involvement and love for her means hat she has a much better chance to one day deal with it and heal.

      Don’t push her to much, but let her know that your door is always open.

      • little nel says:

        “Most people do not ever face the truth.”

        It is interesting that “cutting, anorexia, bulimia, drugs, and now prostitution” are more comfortable than “the truth” in some people’s lives.

        What is so scary about “the truth” that repels most people?

        I think that they are adverse to admitting or acknowledging their own feelings and actions, especially if it “feels good” and seemed like a good idea at the time.

        It was that way for me.

        “Your involvement and love for her means that she has a much better chance to one day deal with it and heal”

        This is so true. When other people saw that I was willing to face the truth about my childhood abuse, it gave them hope and courage to face their own guilt and fear. They saw that it worked for me and they wanted what I had found.

Comments are closed.