“Harvey Lee Duncan, now 62 years old, wrote us a letter from prison asking us to interview him because he says he wants to help parents better protect their children from predators.
While a lot of what Duncan said was very difficult to hear, it’s important for parents to hear to help understand what’s going on inside the mind of a sexual predator in the hopes of saving children from sexual abuse.”
[My notes in blue] –Frankly, I think it is more important to know what goes on in the mind of the child in order to prevent and minimize child sexual abuse. We KNOW what goes on in the mind of the perpetrator.
“Duncan says he molested five girls in 1995 in Mandarin and Riverside. He says he started doing inappropriate things with young girls very shortly after he got married. He says first, he molested two family members. Next, he says it was three young sisters who were also friends of the family.
Duncan says his wife had no idea what he was doing and that earning the children’s trust was easy.
“If they believe that you will listen to them and talk to them they start asking you questions and eventually they start bringing up questions about the body and sex that they are afraid to talk to their parents and others about. That’s really how it got started.”
Duncan goes on to say young girls are emotionally needy. He says parents make a big mistake not being open with them about their bodies and about sex –- something he says predators take advantage of.
Duncan pleaded guilty in 2002 to lewd assault on a child, sexual battery of a child under 12 years old and sexual performance by a child. His arrest report says he tried to have sex with one of them.
He says the girls’ parents never suspected him.”
–It’s also vital to talk about what goes on in the mind of the parents. Too many parents are disconnected from their kids these days, and way too many of them want a free babysitter, or anyone -regardless of who they are- who will take their children off their hands so they can go to work, go to bars, go out on dates, go on weekend getaways with their lovers, etc etc.
Asked if the parents of the girls that he molested in Riverside found it odd that he was spending time with them, he said: “No, they seemed to like it. They let them stay over at our house sometimes. When we went to visit, when we went home, the kids would want to come with us.”
–Of course the parents enjoyed it. Anyone who will take the kids off their hands so they can have more free time —even a guy who looks like this:
“To protect children who are the victim of abuse, their identities are blacked out of police reports, so we don’t have any way of knowing what their parents thought of Duncan at the time. We can only assume they didn’t consider him a threat, perhaps because Duncan was married to the same woman for 30 years, they had a son and Duncan had a job. He worked as an electrician.
Asked how he was able to manipulate these children into not telling their parents about what was happening to them, Duncan said: “To tell you the truth, I never said one time don’t say anything about it. I actually stressed being honest…. I always told them to tell the truth, many times.”
The secret was kept for nearly two years. What Duncan told us next will sound like twisted rationalizing by a perverted mind. We want you to know what he told us because it illustrates how effective pedophiles can be at manipulating children. Duncan suggests the girls liked what was happening to them.
–It’s time to tell the truth society. Duncan is right. Rewards for child sexual abuse are as old as time! Children learn quickly they can get candy, gifts, favoritism, or attention through sexual acts with adults.
Many children like feeling special with sexual abuse. They like taking the attention away from other children, or even from the adult woman in the family.
“I told them as long as I hear good reports from your parents that you are doing well at home and well at school, then I would let them participate in what we were doing.”
That seemed shocking, to use the abuse as a reward.
–It has to stop being shocking. It is common. People need to get it through their thick heads that not all children react to sexual abuse with disgust and rejection.
This fact does not mean that child sexual abuse should be condoned, ignored, allowed, legalized or in any way permitted!
What this truth does mean, is that more children would be protected if the adult world understood that not all children are going to tell them what is going on if the child is receiving rewards. Not all children are going to show signs of distress, injury, trauma, or anger.
It is imperative that adults don’t base their perception of a perpetrator on how the child behaves around the perpetrator or, that the child does not complain about being with that person.
“That’s just the way I did things,” Duncan said. “I’m not saying it’s right, wrong or otherwise. I’m just saying that’s the way it had worked.”
Duncan says something else parents need to know about predators. When he was molesting girls, he says he could not stop.
“The fear of losing the social contact with people, who I could associate with, of losing that contact, is what prevented me from doing something…. I basically became one with them, not them with me, but me with them,” says Duncan.
Duncan says he was picked on in school and isolated himself as a child, so he says he never felt like he could fit in with people his own age.
Things parents can take-away from this disturbing look into the mind of a sexual predator:
- If your child is going over to a neighbor’s house, ask who else will be home and what do you know about them? –Ha! I would say, don’t allow them to go to a neighbor’s home unless it is to play with their kids, and unless you have established through time and trust that the family has principles and morals.
- Will your child ever be left alone with that person? –If so, then don’t do it!
- Don’t assume your child is safe from a predator just because he or she is with another sibling. Duncan says he molested the sisters when they were all together. –and don’t assume that older siblings won’t sexually abuse the younger ones.
We talked with a local attorney who prosecutes child sex abuse cases and he says it’s usually a relative, a family friend or a neighbor who commits this kind of crime. Rarely is it a complete stranger.
Duncan remains behind bars at the Union Correctional Facility in Raiford. He has served 10 years of his 25-year sentence.”