The Effects of Killing a Child Molester Discussed on 'Oprah'
by Jolie du Pre - OPINION
January 11, 2011
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is from Yahoo! TV. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of this web site. It was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own articles. At the time of this posting there were 19 community replies (comments) to this article.
On "Best of Oprah: Exclusive: The 16-Year-Old Boy Who Killed His Molester," viewers visited the lives of two males who were molested by men who were later killed. Is killing the child molester the best way to go?
The bogeyman doesn't wear bogeyman clothes
Daniel Kovarbasich is a boy who was released from jail to talk to Oprah. Said Judge James Burge, "If we can prevent one more case of abuse and prevent another horrible death, it would be a public service announcement worth making."
What did Daniel do? At 16, he stabbed 52-year-old Duane Hurley, a man who molested him. Duane lived a mile from Daniel's home. Three years before the murder, when Daniel was 12, Hurley began the "grooming" process typical for child molesters. "A skillful groomer, a skillful abuser, gets into the child's DNA and becomes part of the child, and the child can't cast him off regardless of the age," reports Dr. Michael Welner.
Although Daniel's parents, who have always been cognizant of child molesters, checked Hurley out, they found nothing on the Internet that showed Hurley was a child molester. He seemed okay. He seemed nice. In addition, he lied to the Kovarbasich family by telling them he was a social worker, someone the family thought they could trust.
Eventually, Daniel's parents welcomed him as a family friend. "Now I understand why police when they're looking into stuff like this they look right at family members and friends because this was a friend. Period," said Daniel's father Terry.
"The Bogeyman doesn't wear bogeyman clothes," said Oprah.
What began as Hurley paying Daniel $30 to watch his dog, progressed to more money, clothes and food. Daniel's parents, who were struggling financially, were groomed as well. Hurley would give them things, too.
When Hurley asked Daniel to show him his genitals in exchange for driving Hurley's sports car, Daniel agreed. And from there, the sexual abuse continued and intensified. On January 22, 2010, in a fit of rage and an act of self defense, Daniel stabbed Hurley 55 times. Daniel was sentenced to five years probation and must remain in jail until a therapy based treatment facility is found.
Did Daniel get away with murder?
Whether or not Daniel got away with murder is up for debate. But for those who understand that child molestation is not the child's fault, and that it was not a sexual relationship, but rather a grooming and abuse, it is easier to understand why Daniel did what he did.
Daniel never told anyone about the abuse because he was too ashamed and too embarrassed. It is a symptom that victim's of child molestation share. "My son was ready to take whatever they wanted to give him, which was the rest of his life in prison, rather than tell what happened to him, said Terry.
What is Daniel's message to viewers? "You need to come out, and you need to say something," said Daniel. "It's not your fault." After Hurley's death, over 1500 pornographic images were found on Hurley's computer, including images of young boys.
A justice seeking mom harms more than helps
As Daniel sat on Oprah's stage with his brother, his mother and his father, viewers can see that with continued love and support from his family, and therapy, Daniel is likely to be okay. However, Willie Nesler took a very different path.
In 1993, Ellie Nesler, mother of then 6-year-old Willie, shot and killed her son's abuser, Daniel Driver, in a crowded courtroom. Released from jail in 1997, Nesler told Oprah in 1999, "I regret the pain I have caused my children. In hindsight, I wouldn't have done it." Later, Ellie Nesler, who died in 2008 of breast cancer, was sentenced to 6 years in prison for selling and possessing meth.
The pain Ellie Nesler caused her children is most apparent with her son Willie. Although her daughter Rebecca, now 25, is married with children and has moved on with her life, Nesler's son Willie now serves 25 years to life for stomping a neighbor to death. Ever since the abuse, Willie has experienced severe problems, turning into a juvenile delinquent and then a troubled adult.
Willie says he got over the abuse around the age of 12, but it was being separated from his family that did him in. When Ellie was in prison, Rebecca stayed with her grandmother, but the grandmother was unable to care for both Rebecca and Willie. So not only was Willie separated from his mother, he was also separated from his sister.
But Willie and Rebecca remain close. "He's my confidant," said Rebecca.
As Rebecca accompanied Dan Abrams, NBC Chief Legal Analyst, to visit Willie in prison, Dan noticed the closeness between brother and sister. According to Abrams, Willie gave a "birds-eye view" of his life, without blame. Willie is "introspective" about his life and wants to do well in prison, despite the fact that he won't be released for at least 20 years.