I’m so freaked out by this story of a doctor who resorted to a “successful suicide” following accusations of abusing male patients. This was someone who viewed LD issues in an open-minded way, terming them “learning differences.” I haven’t read his books, but I did look at some interviews. I thought what a great thing for kids to relate to a doctor with a philosophical focus. That said, I know too well that those with LD issues are at higher risk for all types of abuse. Here’s why:
We tend to be more isolated, have unexpected ways of communicating (which we don’t always succeed at, esp. when we’re younger and/or have had less intervention and/or come from families that don’t reinforce social scaffolding, et cetera), or have a higher chance of chronic depression or anxiety. Beyond these issues, it’s not uncommon for us to find people older than us easier to relate to than those our own ages. Even now, in my late 20s, most of my friends are older. I feel less intimidated around them, and they see the big picture. They don’t judge my setbacks, and believe in my abilities.
For these reasons, as a teen, I found the companionship of an adult who turned out to be abusive. Ten years later, I still require intensive PTSD help. I don’t know what this doctor did or didn’t do that may have been illegal (let alone just plain wrong). I know there’s the “innocent until proven guilty” premise, but committing suicide leaves a person without a voice either way. He claims innocence in his note, but in a way that is self-serving more than anything else. Perhaps he was abused at some point. Some people who get like that were (if he did it; again, I don’t know enough to have real theories, but suicide leaves many open paths for theorizing). The boys’ stories, quoted in the Boston Globe, remind me of some of the experiences I had–an adult spending one–on-one time with a child, then doing inappropriate things.
However, some criminals are even more crafty, and disguise abuse in love, so a child neglected by their parents could be enticed into a “loving” bond that turns incestuous. I guess I’m saying kids with NLD need verbal training to speak up if they have gut feelings about adults they know. I didn’t trust my gut. People had been doubting me my whole life, and I didn’t learn to honor my conscience. I then ended up abused. Unfortunately it’s very difficult for abusers to receive justice.
I in no way support false accusations. If someone is wrongly charged, they deserve legal defense, and all that. But what about the people who really were abused, who have to pretend they’re OK every day, with no one to talk to except, if very lucky, a good therapist? It’s really hard. I’ve felt limited in ways of expressing myself due to NLD, my speech troubles, and fears that people wouldn’t want to hear about the mistreatment. It’s pathetic that some adults take advantage of children and/or adolescents. It needs to stop now. We must also remember some abusers may have made good contributions to society, but could also have done horrible things behind closed doors.
I was abused by someone who championed my talents, told me how smart I was, et cetera. So this stuff isn’t black and white. Above all, I’m just freaked by suicide, having recovered from severe depression myself. These types of suicides make me think there are serious psychiatric instability issues. And that perhaps a complex mind that could imagine a suicide might also rationalize inappropriate behavior. We may never know, but like the play Doubt, “I have such doubts.” In no part of his notes does the doctor discuss molesting as wrong. It’s all about “I was charged with” and “I didn’t do it.” Sorry this post is off-topic, but I have many opinions about this story. I feel very sad and scared by this doctor’s suicide and the problems he left behind.