Coach Dave Daubenmire
May 12, 2011
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Rev. 12:11
To quote from one of my favorites TV programs as a kid, “The story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.”
It would be presumptuous of me to think that you might be interested in a story of personal struggle in my family, and I try to never use this platform for self-aggrandizement. And although you may not be interested in my story I think I should be upfront and let you know that it is not unto you that I write.
I write today to publicly bring honor to the Lord. I pray that this story will encourage you. The names have not been changed and the story is true.
Just shy of five years ago our 24 year old son was arrested and charged with “pandering pornography involving a minor.” The charge stemmed from some images that we found on our home computer. In an attempt to do what was right, I self-reported my discovery to the local authorities. I had no idea the depths to which my family would plunge as a result of that well-intentioned, yet foolish act.
I call it foolish only because of my naiveté’ I thought that self-reporting, or “coming clean” could head off any problems that might occur down the road. In my wildest dreams I never knew I would be throwing our precious son to the wolves.
Let me stop right here and give you some very sound advice. NEVER SPEAK WITH A POLICE OFFICER REGARDING PERSONAL CONDUCT. I know that may sound un-Christian to you but please understand that the criminal justice system is evil. ALWAYS SHUT UP AND GET A LAWYER. Trust me…great advice.
son had just completed his M.Ed in Special Education and was preparing
to follow in Dad’s footsteps as a teacher/coach. He missed his
first day of school because he was behind bars.
Arrested, based not on a police investigation, but because of what we had reported to them.
A little background. Our son graduated second in his high school class, was an all-state athlete, and model citizen. Before he was arrested at age 24 he had never had a brush with the law, not even as much as a parking ticket. Like millions of teenagers across America he discovered pornography at the age of 16 when we brought the one-eyed computer/monster into our home.
The internet was new, and most parents were unaware of what was readily available for viewing. Over the next 8 years, pornography began to sink it’s teeth into him. Eventually, his fleshly-curiosity led him to a file-sharing website where he downloaded onto our computer images of teenage girls. How many young men all across this nation are guilty of this crime?
But it was a crime. Because the girls were under the age of 18, they were considered minors. Downloading the images was considering “pandering pornography” and because they were “minors” it was a Class II felony…right up there with kidnapping, rape, and murder.
All hell was about to be unleashed on our son. He was about to lose everything he had.
Because he was the son of a “local minister,” and because of the bold Christian-stand that Pass The Salt Ministries takes, our son became the whipping boy for all who had a bone to pick with his father. The local media reacted with a vengeance. They tried to kill me buy destroying our son.
Please understand, I make no excuse for what he did, especially in our house, on our home computer. But if every 24 year old-man who had looked at naked teenage girls were arrested we would have to build more jails.
The media crucified him. They called him a “pedophile,” “pervert” and a “child molester.” The reports talked about “kiddie-porn” and “sex-offender,” and “little girls.” (Our society encourages young girls to dress like sluts and then calls those who look at them perverts.)
I am not making light of my son’s crime. He is a sinner, as is his father…as are you. But if the message of the cross means anything, it means redemption is available. I believe in redemption. I serve a God of second chances.
It was the darkest period of our lives.
Our scholastically-brilliant son spent an entire year of his life cutting firewood. Every day, accompanied by his loving uncle, he would cut, split, and stack firewood…a period of “hard labor” the Lord subjected him to. No one would hire him, even for the most menial of jobs. Although he served no jail time, he was classified as a Tier 1 sex-offender…the new scarlet letter…requiring him to “register” every year for the next 25 years.
The first month after his arrest I was in deep travail. It was hard to watch the mud being thrown at him; especially knowing that I was the real target of the muck.
So I would get on my bike and ride, pounding out the heartache on the pedals, praying, travailing really, to the Lord. As I chugged down a back road, tears streaming down my face I remember screaming at the top of my lungs:
“Lord! How can you let them do this? It is me they are after. Let them attack me. But how can you stand buy and allow them to do this to my son?”
A soft answer returned to my spirit. “Did you see what they did to my son?”
evening, after a day of hard labor, our son said to me “Dad,
I think I would like to go to law school. Maybe I can do something to
straighten the system out.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that felons don’t get into law school. Most lawyers don’t commit crimes until AFTER they have their law-degrees.
We called a lawyer-friend of ours and spoke with him about law school. He told us the chances were slim and none…but he did hire our son to do some work in his office. Our son took the L-SAT, (the law school entrance exam) and scored in the top 10% of all applicants in the world. He flooded the universities with applications. Without his felony charge the schools would be pursuing him. Sadly, no school would accept a “sex offender.”
On the first day of June 2007, Zack picked up the phone and began to call Law Schools. It was the day after most schools had closed their admissions. He appealed to several Law School Deans for an opportunity to prove himself.
Only July 1, 2007 CASE Western Law School in Ohio said yes. Not only did the Lord open a door for him, but He opened a door to one of the top Law Schools in America.
Our first born son turned 29 on May 11. On May 15th he will walk across the stage and receive his JD, with honors, in Criminal Law. It has not been an easy journey. He never put down his plough.
Michele and I so proud of our registered sex-offender son. We serve the God of second chances.
I write today to give you hope…and Lord knows many of you are in need of it. Hope, not in a natural plan in a natural world: But hope in a Supernatural plan from another world.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy path.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust. Has there ever been a solution so simple…yet so hard?
I don’t know what you are going through…but the Good News is that you are going through. One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is “It came to pass…”
Aren’t you glad it didn’t come to stay? Remember, God does His greatest work in impossible situations.
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For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. -Isaiah 55:8-9
Now, when I go out on the streets to stand up for Jesus I’ll have a lawyer I can call to bail me out who will not charge me an arm and a leg.
Look what the Lord has done! To God be the Glory!
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