Monday I went in for jury duty, thinking that if I were selected to serve, it would be a few hours of my time over something like traffic tickets. Instead, I found myself doing something that I sincerely hope that none of you or I will EVER have to do again - serve on a jury in the trial of a 41 year old man that molested a 4 year old girl.
In five minutes, Jose Arturo Alvarado destroyed so many lives, including his own.
The little girl is now five, cute as a button, and was so very brave, bold, and cheerful when she testified. She seems fine, but of course the scars are most likely on the inside (in her mind and soul) and will become more evident as she grows older.
The little girls mother is of course a basket case. The one and only time that she was forced by her work schedule to leave her daughter with her fiancé of two years, he molested her. Can you just imagine the guilt and anguish that this woman will have for the rest of her life? It's only human - as irrational as it is, she will always think that she should have magically known, that her ESP should have some how warned her. There will always be a voice in that mothers mind that whispers to her late at night "It was my fault".
Jose's children are model students, well on their way to scholarships. When his 16 or 17 year old son entered to testify, more or less as a character witness, the man broke down in tears and I damn near did too. Could you imagine having to look your son in the eyes after having just been found guilty of molesting a four year old? Can you imagine walking past your father to testify on his behalf, knowing that he had done this? Still, the young man did take the stand, did say that his father was a good man who had always been a kind and loving father.
His 14 year old daughter entering the courtroom carrying a stuffed animal and giggling for a solid five minutes from the shear nerves and mental anguish of it all. . .
His invalid mother sobbing that she had brought her son to the United States when he was ten to give him a better life. "He had always been such a good and decent man, how can this happen?"
Several life long friends of his came to testify as to his character, and even after learning what he had done, they were willing to stand with him and call him a good man that should not spend his entire life in prison for one horrendous act.
All of those people who's lives are shattered.
All of those families destroyed.
One thing I am SO thankful for - while he tried to recant it when the lawyers got involved, the man confessed on video and gave details making it clear it was a true and honest confession. At least I don't have to live with the fear and terror that I may have made a mistake and helped to send an innocent man to prison.
Sorry, time to go! I need to go hug my daughter . . .