As long as I live, there will never be an excuse "good enough" for raping a child. But the reason former megachurch janitor Chris Denman gave to a judge for the rape of a 13-year-old girl in a church stairwell and the abuse of two other young girls is especially chilling. Before being sentenced to 55 years in prison, Denman announced, "No one is perfect."
I want to be shocked by Denman's hubris. Sadly, I'm not. Infuriated, but not shocked.
In addition to violating this one girl, Denman also propositioned a 12-year-old and molested a 15-year-old. We are not talking about a man who has a grasp on right and wrong here. He's accepted that he's headed for prison, even welcomes it, but still, Denman threw out the Bible verse, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."
That's a misuse of the quote if there ever was one!
Denman sounds like a classic psychopath (hence that 55-year prison sentence). His refusal to truly accept blame, acting as if he's just a regular ol' person who got caught only hammers home why he needs to go away for a very, very long time.
Sexual violence, in particular, is carried out by a perpetrator trying to exert power or control over a victim. The "yeah, so what, everyone screws up" attitude fits right in with the psyche of a man who would take advantage of someone else, someone weaker and unable to defend themselves.
Maybe we'd all be more comforted if Denman put up a real excuse, something along the lines of "I was abused as a child." But I doubt it. A "better" excuse wouldn't change anything. Three innocent kids were hurt here. And the man who did it belongs in prison.
What do you make of Chris Denman's words?
Image via Tulsa County Sheriff's Office