Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Betrayed Trusts

Back in the early 1990s, I worked in a private agency group home which took care of teenagers who had been diagnosed with a mental illness and an alcohol and/or drug abuse issue.

One of the kids I was assigned to as a primary counselor was a teenage girl who had been savagely sexually abused by a relative. To deal with the pain and trauma from her horrendous experiences, she chose to self-medicate with street drugs.

One summer, the company hired a man to work with me on the second shift. He seemed like an alright enough fellow, and what the heck, he had to pass a background check and have certain qualifications to work there, so I figured he was OK. Not only that, but in that line of work, you have to work as a team, so you need to trust your coworkers since you cannot be there 24-7.

On his first night alone with the kids, it was Halloween. He was supposed to take the kids to an AA dance that night. Sadly, he chose to first go to a drug house and by some crack cocaine. Then when the other kids were at the dance, he took my young client out to the van and sexually assaulted her. He then gave her the crack cocaine to keep her quiet.

The next day when I came back to work, I and the woman I was working with quickly unraveled the story. Besides trying to help this young lady deal with what happened, we were busy trying to help each other cope with this betrayal of our trust.

I cannot describe the anger and the revulsion I felt. Here was someone we were supposed to trust explicitly, and he stabbed us all in the back. This anger was supplanted by the anger we felt when we considered what he did to one of the kids in our care, and the way he betrayed her trust, which was exponentially worse.

When he went to court for what he did, I spent that week driving between Milwaukee, Burlington and Racine, usually through a series of late season snow storms, to wait to give my one hour of testimony. I take no shame in admitting a certain amount of satisfaction when he was convicted and sent to prison for ten years.

So why did I tell you that story?

All of that hurt and anger returned when I read about the Sheriff's Captain from the House of Correction that had been charged with multiple counts of sexually abusing and assaulting four children, the oldest one age ten.

I knew Salsbury when I was a correction officer at HOC. At that time, he was Lt. Salsbury. I remember his homecoming from Iraq and how everyone lauded him for his service to this country. I remember him to be a fair, but strict, lieutenant. Although I was never buddies with him, I would not have imagined that he was doing this kind of perverted, disgusting crap.

After all, he was a commanding officer, a war hero, and had done a lot of things in the community outside of his job. Why wouldn't anyone trust him?

But now he has not betrayed all of the officers that have ever served under him. He has also betrayed the other commanding officers that work side by side with him. He has betrayed the public who was paying him with their tax dollars. He betrayed the brave men and women that have served with him in Iraq.

But the most egregious of all, he has betrayed these poor, innocent children.

If he is convicted, I know what kind of life he will have in the state prison system. A correction officer and a child molester? He will be lucky not to get the Christopher Scarver treatment in short order. This might make people think less of me, but truth be told, I don't imagine I would shed a tear if he did get it.

And if he doesn't get killed, Salsbury will know that someone will want to do it to him, and that will make the rest of his life very long indeed as he is continuously afraid for his life. And that is no more or less than he deserves.

WTMJ4, Fox6Milwaukee and WISN-12 all have pretty good stories that cover different angles of this guy's first hearing today.

Picture is from TMJ4's story.

1 comment:

  1. "After all, he was a commanding officer, a war hero, and had done a lot of things in the community outside of his job. Why wouldn't anyone trust him?"

    I was wondering if you knew him.

    I know you must know this but after reading the above comment from your post I have to say...it doesn't matter what a person does for a living...whether they are cops, social workers, teachers, clerks, or priests...no one should be trusted blindly. Evil people like this man will hide behind jobs that will make themselves appear to be beyond approach.