As I sit here and ponder over the last year, and everything that has taken place, all I can do is shake my head at the madness of the outcome of this case. Today has been one year since I drove over to Earth Services and handed Jamie that book to give to Mrs. Terpening. I never expected that I would have been involved in this scandal the way I ended up.
I remember sharing the story when I saw it come down my news feed, with a comment similar to, "Why is the state taking children from one parent and giving them to others just to abuse them more." My friend, Gina, sent a private message on Facebook, telling me to reconsider my comment. She said she knew Terpening for years, and she just couldn't see how he could have done the things that people of accusing him of.
I also thought of bio-mom and what she had said to me earlier on. As I said before, I was already familiar with Earth Services. Everything I heard from the bio-mom to the five adopted kids was a thumbs up. She really liked Mike and Mrs. T., and really believed her kids were in a better place. She even showed me the Earth Services website and showed me pictures of the Terpenings and the horses and farm. Her kids looked HAPPY.
So, I erased my comment. But, I was still skeptical. And, while I know the courts can be crooked, at times, something serious happened in a bad way for this to hit the media like it did, not to mention what the charges actually were.
Then, I see the victim on TV, his hands in his pocket, his eyes downcast and elusive. He was telling the reporter he just wanted out of the facility, and that they lied on Terpening. I was flabbergasted. What the hell was going on down there at Earth Services.
I cannot fathom why Terpening welcomed me into the group so quickly. Yeah, I was his neighbor at that time. Yes, I had a few previous encounters with him. But, I cannot say I knew him. I told him my feelings about child sexual abuse and that I was against it. He knew what the scoop was. Yet, he still let me in. I guess, looking back, he knew what was up and was willing to use and manipulate anyone he could to get what he wanted.
See, Terpening got caught up in so many lies, that he got caught in them on his own. Even before the assistant attorney general took over the case, I had already been aware of some lies Terpening told me that I figured out later on. I never called him out on them, but I definitely made a mental note of it. Towards the end, I had so many bad feelings about the case and knew something wasn't right. I wanted to turn away but couldn't bring myself to do it until I had a good reason.
And, some of the lies Terpening told were stupid, petty lies. Like, when my ex-husband told me about a time Terpening went through his fence with his truck and did damage. Terpening was drinking at the time of the accident. He said he'd be back to fix the fence and never came back to keep his word. Let's not talk about what the vet's office had to say about his current bill with them...lol.
Terpening is a pathological liar and maybe even believes his own lies, I don't know.
I have never been involved with anything serious in the court systems, except for my own troubles, which I took responsibility for and didn't take to trial. But, there's a major difference between a DUI with a 0.10 BAC and someone molesting kids. I don't like police, courts, judges. It's nothing personal, it's just intimidating.
And, I have never been around something so dark. I cannot explain the feeling of darkness that I had many times, especially right after the fire at the big house where Terpening's sister was living. Jamie tried to contact me, but I was knocked out and didn't hear my phone ring or see her messages online. The next morning, she made contact with me and told me about the fire.
Why was the first thought I had think about Terpening and that he had something to do with that fire? And, then to find out about the other fire on Huff Road in a different house of his, a week before the big fire? No way those fires were coincidental.
I got tired of the constant phone calls, which were causing serious tension where I was living. I got tired of the little kid drama with Katie. I got tired of the constant phone calls from Jamie about the victim (who I was becoming pretty good friends with). Jamie didn't like dealing with him much and would push it on me.
But, I didn't mind dealing with the victim. I had my own relationship growing with him, and who would have thought he'd stay with me for awhile, much less still be friends? Or, open up to me? Or spend a lot of time around me doing some pretty awesome things? It was impossible (still is) not to care about that kid.
If people looked back, it really was never about Terpening as much as it was for the victim. One thing I learned is that you listen. It's not my position to judge truth from fiction, if the victim says what is is what is, supporting the victim is #1.
I truly hope things settle down. I will be glad when all of these cases are over. It would be a wonderful thing if everyone involved could just move on and be done with all this, but it won't happen. The problem with this entire family is not just the fact that Terpening was molesting and abusing these kids. His entire family is made of abusers. You got two sisters who beat people up who try to press charges against him. You have Jamie providing a front of 'love' to manipulate victims into recanting their stories. You have Jamie's husband, a violent felon, who was recently arrested for domestic violence. You have Terpening's father threatening to kill or assault witnesses, even in front of the courthouse. There are family and former friends who stepped up and told the truth, to do the right thing, who have been shunned and disregarded like trash. There are Terpening's online supporters, Laura, Katie, and Susie, who have done there share of abusing and slandering others online.
The fact is, it's all talk. Granted, there is always a chance that anything could happen. But, I believe the bark is worse than the bite. They are used to using their mouths to threaten and slander people, just to intimidate others from speaking the truth.
The AG was right. This was not a one-time mistake made by a man who feels sorry for his actions and has remorse. This was a pedophile's empire, ran and operated by the volunteers, employees of Earth, and family members. Aside from the ones that came forward and spoke the truth, the rest are equally responsible for the downfall of Earth and the direction it has caused the victims' lives to turn. While they may not be held accountable for their actions in a court of law, I do know one thing.
The blood of those victims dirties the hands of each and every person who tried to help Terpening operate his 'pedophile playland.'