Updated: Mar 2, 2021
Now, in his adolescent years, things at home continued to be troublesome. Looking back, Larry and Ann see where he had started to groom their youngest child, although at the time they thought the two boys just had a sweet friendship. They, later, learned that grooming can be an incredibly subtle, slow-progressing process. It can appear sweet and innocent for years, effectively lulling everyone into feeling safe. Larry and Ann were horrified to realize the boys’ “sweet” relationship had turned dangerous when Matthew started to shove their youngest child against walls with his pelvic region. He would dance around in his underwear in front of the youngest child’s face. Then the formerly kind behavior completely disappeared and he slapped the younger child so hard, completely unprovoked, that his handprint was left on the little one’s face. All this time, Larry and Ann were supervising all interactions minutely. This minute supervision required them to be hyper-vigilant at all times unless Matthew was in his bedroom with the door alarm on. They began desperately seeking help from multiple professionals. They lived in a prison of terror in their own home. They set up cameras all over their home and installed window and door alarms.
At one point Larry and Ann even went to the police to beg for help and were directed to the Department of Juvenile Justice. The DOJJ offered to assist them by helping them press charges against Matthew for theft. He ended up with a felony and several misdemeanors and a year of probation. Unfortunately, absolutely no consequences had any effect on him.
All the time, Larry and Ann were struggling to keep their family safe and seek help for their son. Matthew presented himself as well-spoken, charming and completely sincere to everyone outside the family. Larry and Ann received many compliments from coaches and Sunday School teachers on what an exceptional young man he was. If they even hinted at the truth, they were treated as if they were joking or had completely unreasonable and harmful expectations for him.
Matthew’s parents continued to beg for help, fearing for the safety of our youngest child. They spent hours each day for months making phone calls and trying to understand the system set up to help kids like Matthew. Ann kept a notebook with detailed notes on what she was learning and the contacts she was making. They finally succeeded in getting him into an excellent Residential Treatment Center that understood RAD and was especially for sexually reactive boys. During his eight-month stay, he resisted treatment, manipulated any staff who let their guard down in the slightest, and made very few improvements overall.