Read Corey Porter’s “Preying In Church”

Preying In Church

Copyright © 2019 Corey Porter
All rights reserved.

The story you'll read may be overwhelmingly disturbing. The words I've written down that describes my encounter are true. I often think back to that 10-year-old boy who had no idea how much danger surrounded him. I pray this story opens the eyes of not only children but parents to the risks of trusting people. A person may sit in church, yell out a hallelujah from time to time, or walk with a bible under their arm and still be in your presence to do you harm. A lion hunts where the gazelles dwell. Bears know where the salmon swims, and a child predator knows where he or she would be trusted around our children. A predator doesn't appear as a monster that would be frightening to a child. He or she may seem like a person you or your child would feel safe around. As I look back on the situation, I notice patterns that I may have been ignorant to at the time. There were things he did to try to befriend me and eventually we did become friends. A friend that I later discovered was a child molester and a murderer.

I met him at church. He sat in the back of the church quiet wearing clothes most would wear to a bar or a club. Back in the early '90s, most men wore a suit and tie, griping their black holy Bible. The quiet newcomer sitting in the back of the church appeared to be a man who was searching for God or maybe a sense of family. I remember the pastor asking all of the first time visitors to stand and introduce themselves. The quiet man who sat in the back of the church stood up and said, "Hello, my name is Paul and happy to be here." The small church congregation stood and gave Paul and the other visitors a warm welcome which was customary for visitors on a Sunday. Weeks went by, and Paul continued to attend Sunday services at the church. He began to become more like a member than a visitor. He was known as brother Paul. One day after service the pastor asked a few of the men in the Church to help clean the sanctuary before they left. I volunteered to help even though I was just a 10-year-old boy. Paul also volunteered, and that is when we formally met. While collecting church fans covered with a blond haired, blue eyed Jesus from the seats I hear a man say, "What's up, little man? What's your name?" I looked up and noticed it was Paul. I shook his hand and said, "Corey." As we cleaned the church, we joked and laughed. Paul was a cool guy. He seemed like a person that was looking for a friend or someone to listen. Sundays would come and go, and Paul and I would continue to help clean up the church as we joked and laughed. We eventually created a secret handshake that only him and I would do. He became like a big brother to me.


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