April 28, 2020. Happy Birthday! Yesterday, I received a gift for my birthday that was delivered in bravery by the stroke of a pen resulting in JUSTICE.
Some Birthday gifts are best saved for the next day. This is that story. Imagine getting your typical COVID19 quarantine day started only to check your phone and see a text that says, “Chad (my ex-husband) changed his plea to guilty and he was transferred to the Utah State Prison last Friday.” (This came from one of my sources). What went through my mind, my heart, and my soul? It was one word, justice.
Many of you know my story. For those that don’t, I escaped a mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive marriage on November 28, 2006. I fled for my life with 5 kids in tow. We were homeless, but not hopeless. We fought for justice to protect ourselves. I was able to get a protective order and used it each of the 7 times he violated it. We were given peace in that justice, but it was not enough.
We were protected and stayed hidden for twelve years. Unfortunately, I watched nine more victims happen at his hands. I felt helpless for them. Think about it. If I stood and spoke up, that would tell Chad were we were. He would go after my children again. What could I do? I sought prayer, fasting, and wanted answers.
First Step in Finding Justice was Through Sharing the Story
We had our piece of justice when we were given the protective order in December 2006. I used it to keep us safe, but nine other victims did not have this. Here was the pattern: Chad would commit a crime (violation of the protective order, stalking, soliciting sex, groping, exposing himself, sexting, and more ). Then the victims would take him to court. Eight out of nine times he would be able to get the charges dumbed down in plea deals. He would only serve minimum jail time. Then he would get out, violate his probation, find a new victim, and start the cycle again.
For nearly twelve years, nine of us (his victims) went through this revolving door in courts. We had to take time out from work, paying lawyers, seeking protection through an overwhelmed system, and waiting for justice to come about only to have nothing really happen. FRUSTRATION!
So with everything happening, I was prompted to GET the WORD OUT! My first step in getting awareness to the world was writing my book, Pinpoints of Light; Escaping the Abyss of Abuse. I knew that as soon as that book was published I was waving a white flag screaming—here we are! Come and get us! However, I had to put that aside and follow what God wanted me to do. So, I did. His plans are better than mine.
Second Step in Finding Justice: Reach out to the Victims, DA office, & Letters
ENOUGH! I remember myself screaming till my throat was raw— ENOUGH! I had taken the first step and publish my book. Through that book, several victims reached out to me. Several shared such sad accounts of their experiences: the violations that Chad committed against them, the way they were terrified, and tried to seek help from a system that was failing them. It was heartbreaking. It felt like I was a detective finding a trail of victims.
Marly Pali a victim who did not stay silent!
Then in July 2019, two more victims happened. They were so young, ages 15 and 16. The same ages as my daughters. Chad stalked them and approached them asking for sex. You see, Chad has been trying to find my daughters ever since we escaped. That is why he is a stalker. He is looking for us. He violated us and that is why I escaped. He can NEVER see them.
More victims who did not stay silent!
Seeing the story of the new victims was when I screamed ENOUGH! That was it! We (my husband and my family) stood up! I made contact with DA office, I wrote a letter to the judge, and I wrote to the prosectors sharing with the court our side of the story—the full story since we were the first set of victims.
Third Step to Justice: Leave the System and Contact the Media.
July 27, 2019, I made a phone call that would change my life. I was able to make contact with the local news station. I shared with them the story. I shared every detail I could about my story and the victims’ stories. I knew that they would find more. They did! For over a month they did interviews, collected evidence, spoke with DA office, etc. This time we were going to be more than a splash on the news. This time the story was going to make a difference. Brittany Glas was the reporter who took up the investigation.
On August 26, 2019, the story went live. It made a huge impact. The awareness, the contact, the pictures, the story, the truth was out. He could no longer hide. The community would not tolerate it. We (the victims) were NO LONGER silent by the system. We were standing up, and shouting and all could hear it.
Fourth Step to Justice: Pictures, the Media, and Pressure can Produce Results.
This picture is me September 2019 finding out FELONY charges are pressed against Chad. I had no words but one, JUSTICE! My emotional response was so RAW! If he was guilty of these charges, then he would go to State Prison and not the revolving jail system. That meant true safety for the community. It also meant mercy; Chad could finally get the mental help he needs.
The short story? Chad’s court dates kept getting bumped for 7 months. However, Chad was booked in the County Jail in August 2019 and remained there until April 23, 2019. If you are counting that is 281 days he served in jail prior to sentencing.
Yesterday, the Reporter wanted my response on the final judgment and asked, “Do you feel the sentencing was enough?” That question was suspended in a sort of time-warp for me. This was what I felt:
Should Chad have more time in prison? Yes.
Should it have happened with the 12 other different charges (three of which were felonies but where changed in plea deals)? YES!
But...do I know everything? No.
Do I know that God has a plan for everyone and that His plans are best? Yes.
Does that mean I understand the plan? ...No.
Does that mean I am meant to or supposed to understand them? No (quietly).
Ultimately I responded to the reporter: I felt justice had come. I felt that the victims had been heard. I was glad to see that he was going to receive help and that we are all safe (for the next 5 years).
Birthday Gift over 12 years in the Making.
Here is something interesting to note. On Monday, hours before any of this news was shown to me, Heavenly Father inspired me with a quote: “The breath of life gives us our words to share our stories. May we all be brave enough to pick up the pen and write.” I smiled as I wrote those words. I think God did too. He knew in a few hours that I would be thrust into the depths of the story again. He knows all.
JUSTICE. MERCY. FREEDOM. PEACE—were my gifts yesterday! It all came full circle. I started this journey with my children when we escaped with seeking justice from the courts for a protective order. We were given that. It worked for us. We were kept safe for twelve years. However, we also saw the system fail victims and that was heartbreaking. Then I was told to write the story in a book to save others.
I was shaking as I started my first draft. I remember praying for help—to be brave! He gave that blessing me line upon line and precept on precept to know what to do. When I was prompted to write the letters to the DA’s office and to the judge, my hands were steady this time. And finally, when I was told to call the reporters, I spoke with conviction and firmness. I knew that the story would finally be able to change the lives of entire communities.
I was brave. I did it with pen and paper. The results are now ultimately justice and safety. Mercy even. What incredible Birthday gifts. To anyone reading this, please stand. Please share your story. Please follow your calling. Trust in Him. He will make you brave. He will give you justice. He will give you peace. He did for us.