Ariel Castro wrecked a lot of lives. First and foremost, there were the three women he kidnapped and held captive in his Cleveland, Ohio house for a decade. Then there is Jocelyn, the little girl who was born in the house, and who had no real childhood, and now no father. But there are also Castro's family. Especially his children. They will have to live forever not understanding their father, how he got the way he was, and having his name associated with them. His son, Ariel Anthony Castro, has spoken out in a touching essay written for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. What he says makes your heart break all over again for the destruction that Castro wrought.
Ariel Castro, Jr. explains how when the story broke, he had no time to gather his bearings and adjust to the shock that his father was a horrific criminal, because he was suddenly deluged by the media -- and by haters, who somehow associated him with his father's crimes.
His house was even broken into and someone scrawled "Bitch" on the walls. And how a documentary plastered his face on the TV, thinking he was his father. He writes:
I am not my father, and I can't explain his actions or be held accountable for something I never knew he was doing ... I was horrified and disgusted and angered when I got the news of the unthinkable crimes my father committed. I still am. He deserved to pay for his actions, every day of those 1,000 years he could possibly serve. My anger with him kept me from visiting him in prison, even when he was moved to a facility just 20 minutes away from my doorstep.
Castro Jr. barely had time to remotely think about adjusting to his new position as son of one of the country's most hated men when word of his father's suicide reached him. But he got some good advice from his uncle, before he even knew about the kidnappings. He writes:
An uncle told me at my mother's funeral, barely a year before we found out with the world what my father had done, that I shouldn't hate my father for everything he had already put us through. God would take care of him, he said.
This poor man has a lot to live with. It's hard enough just having a parent who isn't there for you and never will be. I can't imagine what this son -- and the rest of Castro's family -- is going through. I sincerely hope they find peace. No, you are not your parents. You are no one but you.
What do you think about what Castro's son is saying?
Image via FBI