Chapter 16

I approached the Family Court House, feeling like a fish nearing a dangling lure. Inside the building, the atmosphere was charged with the hum of anxiety. I squeezed in beside a plump woman and used the wall to hold myself up. I placed my briefcase on the floor. Across the room, I caught a conversation directed at me. “That your lawyer?” a woman nodded her head towards me.

“Nah, my lawyer doesn’t come till the last minute,” responded a young man in tight black jeans and a cut-off t-shirt. It surprised me to think that they thought of me as a lawyer, but as I looked around the room I realized that I was one of the only people dressed in a pants suit and carrying a briefcase. At 9:40 I still hadn’t caught a glimpse of my lawyer. It was very unsettling. The fate of my child lay in these proceedings, yet I got the sickly feeling that it was just work as usual for these people. Just another day of pay.

A nasally voice on the intercom interrupted my thoughts, “Reid vs. Peters come to Courtroom Two. Reid and Peters in Courtroom Two.”

The room slowly filled with people. I caught tidbits of conversations; some angry, some frustrated, some secretive. Lots of tension. A woman standing with hands on her hips huffily remarked, “So, are we here to settle this or what?” My attention turned to the little child drinking a pop, looking confused, eyes darting back and forth between mother and father. Sitting down, I leaned my elbows on a table and put the heels of my hands onto my forehead.

“Williams vs. Kramer come to Courtroom Two,” sounded over the loudspeaker. “Williams and Kramer in Courtroom Two.” My heart skipped a beat. Rod walked past and gave me a sculpted dirty look while his lawyer flashed me a wide smile that showed off his gold-capped tooth. My skin crawled. From around the corner, my lawyer appeared and motioned for me to follow her. Her face was the pastry color of flour. What lurked ahead terrified me.

We entered through the double doors and my lawyer led me to the row of seats in front of the room. Rod sat with his lawyer at the other end of the row. He shot me a blistering look.

“All rise for the honourable Judge Simpson.” Judge Simpson walked through a side door on the elevated platform wearing a black gown with a red sash. He had white, wispy hair and thick glasses. He scanned the courtroom before sitting down. Catching my eye, he stopped for a brief moment. Then he sat. I watched the movements of those around me before sitting myself. I could feel my heart rate picking up but tried to keep my expression static so no one would notice the tears in my eyes.

A man wearing a floor-length gown approached and took a file of documents from my lawyer. Then he crossed the room and did the same with the C.A.S. lawyer and Rod’s lawyer, and handed them to the judge.

The judge opened the files and as he talked, a woman sitting opposite the man in the gown, recorded the proceedings. I didn’t understand the legal terminology and felt like a child trying to learn a foreign language on her first day of school. Conversation volleyed between the lawyers. I tried to follow but found my mind wandering to Rod. Through the corner of my eye, I saw him sitting beside his lawyer. The little smile on Rod’s face hit me like spittle. He dressed in sharp business attire and looked like any upstanding member of the community. He folded his arms across his chest and set his mouth stubbornly. Anyone looking at him would not believe that he was a child molester.

My quick search on the Internet had done little to soothe my nerves. One report wrote that there was no indication that any specific psychological profile was useful in describing who was likely to abuse children. Although many pedophiles suffer from alcohol and drug abuse, feelings of inadequacy, depression and poor impulse control these aren’t things you could easily spot. On top of that, the report indicated that pedophiles might have the appearance of respectability and hold positions of authority. Catching another glimpse of Rod, I noticed that he was sitting straight with his hands now folded on his lap. He showed no remorse. It made me sick to think that, like most abusers, Rod was skilled at gaining trust and acted slick and manipulative.

My lawyer broke into my reverie and signaled me to leave. It was over? So soon? Lost in my thoughts, I missed the conversation. I stood up, somewhat in a fog and walked back out through the double doors. I numbly trotted after my lawyer into a side room.

“Good news,” Ms. Turner said.

“Really?” I said, my teeth fixed in a smile.

“The judge ordered Caitlin to remain in your care and be subjected to the supervision of the C.A.S for a period of three months.”

“That’s great news.” I sat down. “But wait. Only three months? Why?” All the color drained from my face.

“He wants to see how things go in the next few months and then he’ll make a final decision at the next court date.”

“How is that good news?” I muttered under my breath. “So now what?”

“The C.A.S will assign a contract worker to supervise the weekend visits with Rod, starting next Saturday, until the next court date on December 27. A worker will come and pick up Caitlin at your home and stay with her for the day, returning her in the evening. I’ll complete the paperwork and get it out to you as soon as possible.”

Leaving the building, the clouds were growing thicker and I felt spots of rain on my face. As I walked toward my Jeep, I thought about the next weekend visit. I would now have to give up my baby to some worker to watch over. The ground shifted under me and I had to hold onto the car beside me to steady myself. A torrent of tears surged forward.


“What do you mean he still gets access?” My mother nearly shouted into the phone.

I looked at the digital clock on the nightstand. The red numbers claimed it was six o’clock. “The good news is that it’ll be supervised visits.”

“But why?” My mother’s voice sounded hollow.

“It’s her word against his. With no physical evidence to criminally convict him, it’s the best we can hope for.” I flopped back on my bed. “Listen Mom, I gotta go. Will you call Janice? I’m too tired to go through it again.”

“Yes, of course. I love you, Dear. Give hugs to Caitlin.”

“Love you too. Bye.”