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Where It All Leads

The following story was taken from LazerBeams blog of Rav Lazer Brody. Let it be a warning for all of us to HIT BOTTOM while still ON TOP.

the.guard Sunday, 21 August 2011

I have no one else to turn to regarding my present situation. I am in a lot of trouble and am contemplating suicide as a way out. I write to you from a position of disgust with myself and potential humiliation for my lovely wife and three daughters.

I was a successful CPA until I lost my job last January and have not found a means to make a living other than trying to start a business which is having a dismal beginning. Until I lost my job, I was earning almost $220k per year. You see, I have been addicted to the internet over the last 6 years. What I mean by addiction is that I was viewing inappropriate materials and obsessed with chatting with unknown people. I was also acting out due to my addiction and avoiding my marital duties to my wife as a result. I was doing this on a daily basis to the point that I was up all night and often wasting away days at work.

Somehow, I carried on the appearance that everything was okay until I was arrested January 25th for chatting with what I thought were grown women and were really undercover police officers posing as minors. I was so addicted that I never paid any attention to details like age since in the fantasy world of the internet, everybody makes stuff up including myself. Since any facts were not believable, I never acknowledged any information other than what I needed to fulfill my selfish desires. In February, things got complicated. After I was arrested, I was extradited to another state where the charges were filed against me. The irony is that the state I am facing charges in, I have never been to in my life nor did I ever contemplate going there. I also never met up with any one I chatted with. I was purely living in a fantasy world that had overtaken my life – a trap that the Yetzer set for me.

Initially, when I was arrested, I was being held in a city jail in the state where I live waiting until I was picked up by the sheriff's department of the state I am facing charges in. I was transported after 15 days in county jail and then spent another 3 days in jail in the state where I am facing criminal prosecution. You can't imagine what suffering this is, for I was with junkies, robbers, rapists – you name it.

Please help me make teshuva. Help me warn others not to fall into this trap. The internet is like a cancer and what happened when I was extradited is that another county in the same state issued a warrant for my arrest for the exact same charges as the county that extradited me had filed. I am currently facing over 24 felony counts in 2 counties of internet solicitation to a minor and obscenity charges due to the nature of inappropriate language I was using. I was released on $80,000 bail with a gps monitor on my ankle. I'm now jobless, penniless, and we're soon expecting child #4.

To add insult to injury, I have never been arrested in my life nor do I have any criminal record. I was a good clean-cut guy with an MBA from the USA's best-known colleges of business. I passed my CPA on the first try. I had my choice of great jobs. It's now blown away. I can't explain what has happened as it all seems like a blur but I was living 2 lives. Since I have not been making any income, the community has come to our aid and has supported us along with paying for my legal expenses thus far totalling over 50k. I have 2 lawyers working on my case to handle my criminal matters and potential exposure to my CPA license. My attorney has been trying to work out a plea deal but thus far has not been successful. My attorney explained to me this morning that if a plea deal is not achieved then he needs to know my position as to whether he should pursue going to trial. If I go to trial, I will be going to trial in 2 jurisdicitions with potential jail time of many years compounded by the number of felonies I am not able to beat. Believe it or not, the worst part for me is that I would also be required to register as a child offender in 2 different states. You have to know that I have never been interested in minors nor have I have ever considered harming a minor. I am reeling from the shock of how what I thought was a secret life has now become an open book. Please intercede in my behalf. I'm sure that your prayers will help my case upstairs, I am now beginning to do everything I read about in your different articles – mikva, Tikkun Klali, guarding my eyes, and doing teshuva during an hour of personal prayer a day. Even so, my marriage has been barely holding together.

Please stick with me, Rabbi Lazer, because I need further guidance. As I said before, I have no income, I currently have no future and my wife is in tears daily. We are desperate and I contemplate suicide as a way to save my family, my children's future and the ability for my wife to remarry a person that is good and can make a living. I could go on for another 10 thousand words, but I haven given you the gist of my present life story. Please, Rabbi, tell the world about what happened to me. If I can save at least one person from a similar fate, maybe G-d will have mercy on me.

Most sincerely, Ralph in the USA