Every once in a while, a story comes along that is so appalling, it seems like it must be false. Last week, a set of parents wanted to ride a ride so badly at SeaWorld that they left their 2-year-old daughter in the care of a predator. And in that time, the man raped their toddler and took photos. It's hard to decide which portion of the preceding statement is the most egregious.
It isn't even clear from the stories how well they knew Michael Grzybowicz to whom they entrusted their child so that they could ride a ride. What is clear is what police say they later found in his possession: four photographs in his phone's memory chip showed him violating the little girl who was wearing a diaper and a yellow sundress while she rode in a dark blue stroller.
I feel for the mother. Kind of, anyway. It's hard to know who to trust and it isn't clear from the story how well she knew this man. Maybe he was a lifelong friend and she had no idea. But I still can't get over the fact that their child was violated so they could go on a ride.
We have to be careful as parents and constantly vigilant. Maybe I'm a bit on the paranoid side, but I would never leave my 2-year-old alone with anyone other than a highly trusted person. Now maybe this guy was that for this mom. But why was that ride so important?
Maybe this could have happened to anyone. Or maybe this mother should have been paying more attention, trusting her instinct, and prioritizing her daughter over amusement park rides.
As the parent of a 2-year-old, maybe it's just easier to blame the parents for something like this happening. Maybe it's a way of making myself believe this couldn't happen to us because the alternative is too hideous to contemplate.
But the only people I trust with my children are my own parents, my in-laws, close, lifelong friends (a very short list), and my sister. Anyone else needs a CORI check. And this story only makes me more resolved to that.
Do you think the parents are partially at fault?
Image via ireanatzi007/Flickr