In this memoir, a physician tells of how he was forced to come to terms with his own childhood trauma when his possession of child pornography was revealed.
In July 2013, Pelloski, a Columbus, Ohio, pediatric radiation oncology specialist, was away at a medical conference when he received the phone call that changed his life. A police detective informed him that his visits to child pornography websites had been discovered. His house was now being searched, and his arrest was imminent. The author writes that he was stunned and horrified about how this revelation would affect his wife and kids. He soon explained—first to his wife and then to police, lawyers, and therapists—that he’d not visited the sites for sexual gratification but to call up his own elusive memories of being sexually abused as a child so that he could try to address his own trauma. His remorse, his firm insistence that he had no sexual attraction to children, and his genuine pain over his past experiences prompted his wife to stand by him through the ordeal of house arrest, public vilification, and incarceration. He writes that he began the hard work of facing his demons. Pelloski’s narrative is compelling as he places himself at the center of a highly charged drama in which he’s the clear villain; his eventual sentence for his crimes included 366 days in federal prison. With apparent honesty and a minimum of self-pity, he dissects the exhausting and agonizing legal processes and therapy sessions that followed his arrest, and overall, his recollections are revealing and seem credible. However, the author’s occasional careless use of terms referring to male genitalia, in such lines as “At what point did we physicians…lose our balls,” is particularly jarring in the context of this upsetting narrative.
A frank remembrance that addresses the devastating long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse.