Lynn Payne Bryan PayneAn Oregon neighborhood has been rocked by the arrest of a father and son on charges of sexually abusing young girls. Can you just imagine how you'd feel if that was your neighbor? Well, it gets worse. Cops say 46-year-old Bryan Payne regularly offered to babysit his neighbors' kids, and he's been doing it for years.

If the charges are true, it seems Payne, who lives with his father, 72-year-old Lynn Payne, played himself off as Mr. Nice Neighbor, but when kids got inside his house, they met Mr. Hyde and his pops.

The Paynes allegedly abused at least two girls under the age of 10 years old in the last two to three years. That would be bad enough. Is bad enough.

But the police in Washington County, Oregon, now find themselves having to track down countless other families who trusted Bryan and his father with their kids. They need to know: were these girls the only victims? Because, unfortunately, the police don't think they are.

The whole story makes me want to grab a trash can and throw up this morning. No little girl deserves that.

No parent should be put in a position where they have to go ask their child, "Hey, is the nice man down the street not so nice after all?"

We have to trust our gut when it comes to people we encounter in our neighborhoods, but sometimes your gut turns out to be wrong. And no feeling can be worse than knowing you got it wrong with something so vital: the safety and well-being of your child.

But the truth is, monsters live among us, and they are doing their darndest not to show us their true colors. That's what makes them dangerous -- how kind and neighborly they seem to be on the outside.

I can't help but think what it must have been like for those little girls. Their parents trusted this man! They thought he was just a nice neighbor who liked kids. They didn't think they were sending their kids into a house of horrors. As for the girls -- they had no control. Their parents left them there (again, not blaming the parents here, they didn't know), and they were trapped with not one but two monsters.

If these allegations about Bryan and Lynn Payne turn out to be true, I can only hope that the parents now stuck asking their kids if something happened at the Payne house strike out.

Would you be suspicious of two guys in the neighborhood offering to babysit kids, or would you have done what these parents did, trusted that they were just good guys who liked kids?

 

Image via Washington County Sheriff's Office