“I firmly believe to my soul that we, as a culture, need to talk about this more.”
After his parents divorced, Jason’s mother moved her family to Alabama and enlisted the community to help raise her boys. Jason became active in the church, in sports, and in the Boy Scouts. These were reasonable, even smart parental decisions. But a sexual predator had positioned himself in the community as the assistant Scout Master and a church leader, and so began Jason’s six-year nightmare. A nightmare that shaped his adolescence. A nightmare that he conquered only by facing his abuser and taking back the power.
Jason said no more to his abuser as a senior in high school. Then, during his first year in college, came a phone call. Detectives from Alabama asked if he would talk to them about Don Corley, the assistant Scout Master. Within seconds Jason made the decision to talk. It was a profoundly courageous choice. Of the over 40 boys targeted by Corley, only three chose to help with the prosecution. Corley received a 30 sentence for sexually abusing Jason and two other boys. Corley was convicted and sent to prison.
If this was a Hollywood movie, Jason’s battle would triumphantly end there. But this is reality. Corley came up for parole, having served 10 years of his 30-year sentence. Jason mobilized the community and opposed Corley’s parole, in the process founding an organization: “30 is 30.” It’s mission: Corley’s 30-year sentence should be 30-years served – no more, no less.
The power imbalance that Corley used to groom and abuse Jason has now been corrected. And in the process, a staunch advocate for justice and for other survivors of child abuse has been born.