A Call for the Public Shaming of Former Teacher Christopher James Hooker

Vladamir Nobokov’s Humbert Humbert was a murderous, narcissistic pedophile. Christopher James Hooker is a schmuck.  Humbert Humbert is a fictional character and Hooker is real. Unfortunately, there are more similarities between the two than differences.  Both preyed on the soft flesh of  children to feed their insecurities and their twisted passions. It could be argued they shared a need for control and dominance.  Each had their fill of an adult partner that challenged and befuddled them. Both were handsome and charming.

 

My point is not to start a witch hunt.  There are many thoughtful and mindful teachers and coaches working hard and respecting the role of mentor to young people.  They derive great satisfaction in earning the trust of the young people that look up to them and they even become better people when they know that a child is watching them for an example of the kind of adult that they aspire to be.

 

But the reality is that there are Humbert Humberts and Christopher Hookers working with our youth.  Right now there are men (and possibly women, but I don’t have any experience with female pedophiles, so I won’t address them) working in schools looking at your kids with malicious intentions. They will find the sensitive ones, ones with higher than average intelligence who yearn for someone to understand the turmoil that is the adolescence of a sensitive child. Some of these girls don’t have fathers to rely on and some have outstanding fathers. Some of these girls will be popular or outgoing, some will be bookish or shy.  The one thing these girls all have in common is that they are looking for a mentor worthy of their trust.  Teachers and coaches who are trained and employed to guide our children will become their confidantes and  in that intimacy of trust, the Christopher Hookers of the world will strike time and again.

My high school history teacher is one of these men.  For many years, he sought out this sensitive and clever child.  Again and again he found her.  He looked for the proud and intelligent ones, so that when it was over, they would go quietly in shame and keep their stories to themselves.  Their families would be quiet as well, just grateful that their independent daughters had escaped, young enough to heal the damage and all the wiser in the end. Yet their silence enabled him to repeat his crimes time and again.  I know of several high school students he had sexual relationships with, because I was one of them.

History shows examples of powerful men demanding nubile lovers. But our society and our laws forbid it.  Why?  Because that 15, 16, and 17 year old child is exactly that – a child and she must be protected by both society and by law – especially in school. She needs to learn to manage her sexuality in a way that is healthy for her, for her community and her partners, while she learns personhood, responsibility, and who she is and who she might be. She will make mistakes but they are her mistakes to make and she deserves adult advisors  she can trust.

Great teachers and mentors are pivotal in a young person’s development.  Each of us has been affected by that amazing teacher, a kind neighbor, a fantastic relative or some other adult that we could admire and model our behavior after.  If we are lucky, we have had several of those people in our lives who took an interest in us and pushed us to achieve.  We gave those people our most precious gifts; our admiration and our trust. The importance of that relationship and the value of that trust are immeasurable.  Because of this, a violation of this trust on the part of the adult is not just immoral, it is criminal.

My old teacher must be close to 70 now and I’m a happily married woman in my 40’s.  I’m almost exactly the age now that he was when we were together.  If I picture myself pursuing one of my 17 year old students in a sexual manner, I’m never tempted, only baffled.  I understand that he has now raised some teen girls.  I wonder if he thought how he would feel if his daughters were victimized by the adults that they trusted.

Forgiveness means not letting this bother me anymore. My history teacher did have real feelings for me and that I know now that I was, and am worthy of a man’s love and affection.  With time and thought, I’ve forgiven myself and in some ways, I have forgiven him.  It was far from easy. But if in this writing I can and convince one parent to follow her suspicion and counsel her daughter before it’s too late, one school board member to mindfully investigate a story and bring an abuser to justice, if I can bring peace to one young woman who was drawn in by someone who violated the trust of the student/teacher relationship, if I can affect the thinking of a coach who finds himself falling for a minor student and cause him to pause and  and change his course of action, then this post has been successful.

Teen girls may seem sophisticated and sexual and clever, but they are children and they deserve the chance to learn and explore in a space safe from a trusted adult’s insecurities and neuroses.

The teacher or coach is hired to mentor,  guide and teach the children.  That breach of  a sacred public trust must be punished severely and that man’s shame be made public to protect against the eventuality of future victims. As a society, we must honor childhood and protect it.

A very public shame on you Christopher Hooker.  I actively despise your misuse of  children’s trust.  If you are found guilty, may our justice system see your acts as criminal.  My wish is that your children will find mentors who will inspire them and that those mentors respect your children’s trust in a way that you failed to do.

 

Joell Dunlap

Executive Director, The Square Peg Foundation

Www.everyonefits.org

 

5 thoughts on “A Call for the Public Shaming of Former Teacher Christopher James Hooker

  1. Wow Joell…This was powerful. I have known you for many years and I didn't know this about you. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you, Joell, for sharing your experience. It must be hard to think and write so openly about that past. I find it empowering and moving that you can do that now.
    I think that in almost every girl's life there is this type of man–a much older, wise looking, attractive man who tries to seduce her. It has happened to me and fortunately I was strong enough to say "go to hell". I sympathize for and agree with you: we should prevent this unhealthy behavior from happening again and again, and criminalize it. At the same time,we should try, in our daily life, to provide support, bring knowledge, instill security to teen girls. I know you do. But for "we", I mean everyone not just teachers and parents; I mean the whole community. Instead we often forget about the delicate aspects of puberty and we get judgmental about how the kids look or behave these days. We forget that in many ways we were exactly the same. Be compassionate, love all the wonderful, precious kids around you.

  3. Kudos to you joell for being honest, moving on, and using your story to potentially redirect that first detrimental step in the wrong direction.

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