My Story Pt. 1

I’m not going to lie, the first 10 years of my life I couldn’t have asked for much more; I was very privileged and very fortunate. I grew up in a large family, always had brothers or a sister around and money wasn’t an issue for my parents. Things changed though when my dad sold his business and we moved to a new city. Within A few years of living beyond our means, my once fortunate reality had turned into more of a bad nightmare. Parents who didn’t get along, primarily because money had become a major issue. I would wake up to physical altercations and stuff being thrown, something I don’t think I was prepared to handle as a preteen. All this aside, my parents separated once my dad went to jail for a white collar crime and I started living with my struggling mom who worked multiple jobs just to put food on the table.

Throughout all this, the one thing that remained consistent was my love for sports. I played just about anything and everything and with me not being the most outgoing person it was a good way to make friends. Once my dad went to jail it was now in jeopardy whether I could continue doing the one thing I loved to do because sports cost money and that was something that was now very limited. With all this being said, the worst was still yet to come; here is where the real story begins…

 

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My story : A predator lying in wait

I was 12 years old, doing what I did a couple of times a week, playing tennis at the local recreation department. I wasn’t like most tennis kids, my family did not have money, because as I said I was living with my mom who worked multiple jobs to provide for my brother and I. I had however played tennis fairly competitively for many years and was hoping for better instruction and better competition than the recreation department offered. During this day, I had noticed another tennis coach watching the clinic and I had hoped he would be someone who could give me those two things I wanted, better instruction and better competition. It turns out he was. He was employed by the recreation department, and he invited me to join his clinics which consisted of just a couple of other more serious players. I can still remember the excitement I felt that someone noticed me and was giving me the opportunity to play with better players. I happily accepted the invitation and began taking instruction from him. For the first few sessions clinics were normal and it was like any other place I had played at in the past. He was a young guy and maybe spoke inappropriately sometimes but no one else seemed to have a problem with it so why should I?

Things began to change however when my father was sent to prison. My mother could no longer afford to pay for my tennis at all and let my coach know why. He was very understanding and told my mom that he would still let me play and she could pay him what she could. He even offered to help out with giving me rides to and from practice. He took an interest in me and even told me that his father was in prison when he was younger too. Not having a male role model in my life,I feel as though I enjoyed someone finally taking an interest in me and I began to trust him. Months went by of him still saying and maybe even sometimes doing things that I now look back and see as inappropriate, but still he was basically a part of my everyday life now and I depended on him, he bought me food, gave me rides to friends houses, and let me play tennis. All things that seemed important to me at that age.

His actions escalated four to five months into me knowing him. As I recall it was in January and he had registered me to play a tournament out of town that would require an overnight stay. My mom could not take me so he offered to. He even said he had friends in the area that we could stay at so we wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel. When we arrived at the home we were greeted by an older couple who knew him from his days at a summer camp where he was a counselor. They had sent their son to the camp many years earlier and had met him there. I believe we all went out to dinner, to Bonefish as I remember. When it got late and it was time for bed, we took the two rooms upstairs which was there son’s and there daughter’s bedrooms and the couple stayed downstairs and went to bed in their room. After being shown pictures of girls and even parts of the movie “Fear” I was molested that night by my coach. I never told anyone, not a soul. The abuse continued for months. I don’t know why I never came forward, I knew it was wrong, I was just embarrassed and ashamed and afraid to cause a problem for anybody. He was so manipulative that I never had a clue I was just one of almost half a hundred of his victims.

This is just the beginning of a very complex story…

Post Abuse Secrecy

I moved away from the area for unrelated reasons 2 years after the abuse started and about a year after it ended. I still had my secret, never telling a person. Two years after I moved, I got a text from my friend telling me to look my coach up. It was October, and I was now 16 years old, my worst nightmare had come to life. He was arrested for exactly what he had done to me years earlier. My stomach dropped and I knew my secret was out, even more than that, I realized that I wasn’t the only victim and by my secrecy, I had enabled him to victimize more young children. I told my mom that he had been arrested and for what, and she immediately asked me if anything happened with me. I still denied it. I could tell she didn’t really believe that though. I continued to isolate myself, even more than I had the previous few years, for the next week or two, hoping the topic wasn’t brought up. It was November 10th and I received an email from a detective back where this all was occurring telling me to call her. I was scared and I knew he must have named me as one of his victims. I took my mom back into her bathroom, confessed the truth and as she wrapped me in her arms with tears coming down her face, I finally felt a sense of relief as I had finally told someone.

The Fallout and the Facts

Louis (Skip) Reville was only 15 when he first abused children at Mountain Brook Swim and Tennis Club, he was brought in by police as a result of the incident which was known by some in his small Alabama town. Reville went on to go to college where he would graduate from the Citadel in 2002. In 2001, he was hired by the Citadel to work at their summer camp where on his application he even put Mountain Brook Swim and Tennis on his application as a former employer. Reville would go on to work the camp in the summer of 2001, 02, and 03. He had his own alternative name for the camp during his time there, he called it a “paradise for pedophiles.” During the first camp session of 2001 another member on staff, Mike Arpaio, had an “incident” with a 10 year old camper. Arpaio was gone by the second session of the camp and, according to Reville, the Director and Deputy Director of the camp, Bill Bates and Jenni Garrott, said the rules of maintaining boundaries between campers and staff were going to be enforced. Even after this Reville claims he would have campers in his room daily. We know now he went on to abuse four campers two times in the first session and three campers “at least a dozen” times in the second session when there should have been a heightened awareness after Arpaio.

2002 rolls around and Reville says he is now in charge of training the other staffers on policies and boundaries between campers. When asked if he followed the training he gave Reville replied ” I did not. I violated every point.” After continually having campers in his room, Reville was warned by Bates and Garrott that he was putting himself in a compromising position by having minors in his room at night. Nothing changed as a result of this conversation however. Later in the camp session Jenni Garrott walked in on Reville opposite another camper in his room on his couch. She pulled Reville out and warned him that he shouldn’t have a camper in his room with no one else present. She walked off and Reville went back into the room with the minor. Reville says the camper was there with a heat rash on his crotch and he had instructed the camper to pull down his pants and apply cream in front of him. Had Jenni Garrott talked to the camper, she may have found this out. Instead she walked off without even making sure the boy left the room. Reville says now that according to camp policies, after a minor was found in his room, he should have been fired, an incident report should have been written. Law enforcement would have gotten involved and it would have gone on his record.

2003 – Reville is once again assigned the task of training the other staffers about boundaries between campers and staff, the same training he again says he violated. In a separate occurence from 2002 Garrott again walks in on Reville with a camper, this time he is rubbing ointment on the campers leg. Yet again, just another warning when Reville says once again he should have been fired according to camp policies. Staying in 2003, another counselor at the camp goes and tells Colonel Lackey that Reville has campers in and out of his room after hours and specifically one of his campers often. A camper Reville says he went on to abuse. According to Reville, Colonel Lackey told Garrott about the counselors concerns, Garrott then confronted Reville, yet there was still no formal reprimand, just a meeting and a warning. Again according to the counselor handbook, Reville says he should have been fired immediately and law enforcement should have been notified. Reville also claims that after the first session ended, Garrott saw the same camper that was having ointment put on his leg leave with Reville in his car and show back up to the second session with Reville.

2003-06 – Reville works as a school teacher at Pinewood Preparatory School. He tutors children, has them over at his house, gives them rides in his car. One instance he touches a student up his thigh while they are in the car. The student tells his friend who tells their mom who tells the school. Reville is brought in for a formal meeting, but police aren’t called. Reville’s contract is not renewed by Pinewood Preparatory which he says is a result of his personal relationships with students as well a need for a change in direction in regards to his teaching style. Reville abused multiple students during his time as a teacher at Pinewood, never on campus though.

2007 – Skip Reville is now working for The Citadel in the writing center. He is called in for a meeting by The Citadels general counsel, Mark Brandenburg. Also in attendance at the meeting was Colonel Trez, who throughout the course of the meeting made it known that he and Brandenburg were there to protect the interests of The Citadel. They tell him that a camper has come forward with allegations of inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature during the summers in which he was a counselor. Instead of informing law enforcement, they told Reville to lay low and that they would do their own internal investigation. Reville says that, in his opinion, had they contacted police after that allegation, “close to 30” future children would have been spared the sexual abuse. I met Reville months after this meeting took place and Instead Reville went on to work as a coach, a youth group leader, and an assistant principal gaining access to hundreds, if not thousands of kids.

Current Day – There are multiple lawsuits pending against The Citadel that have been dragged out for years. My Mom filed a lawsuit on my behalf before I had the courage to file one on behalf of myself. My mothers lawsuit was thrown out after a last second motion filed by the Citadel was granted by Judge Markley Dennis. The judge concluded that a parent could not sue on behalf of their child. There have been a few others that have been thrown out as well, and still not one has made it to a jury. I now have my own case pending but this has set a precedent for the rest of the victims whose parents were suing on their behalf. Markley Dennis is the judge of multiple cases to be heard against The Citadel in the future. The way the case was thrown out rose a few eyebrows due to the timing and nature of it, the jury was never given a chance to hear the case. I did some checking, If you look on Judge Dennis’s Facebook page you will see that he has 189 friends, one of which happens to be the attorney Dawes Cooke who is the attorney that represents The Citadel. If you check Dawes Cooke’s Facebook acquaintances you will see that Judge Dennis is the only circuit court judge in South Carolina that he is friends with. None of this was ever disclosed as maybe a conflict of interest, as my mothers and I attorney isn’t friends with the judge.

I recently went to a Citadel football game this last year where it just so happened that General Rosa was heralded and celebrated at midfield during halftime for all the money he has been able to raise. I guess that is what we value nowadays. Ultimately I just want to hold people accountable for their actions and lack of taking action and I am finding that very difficult due to the underwhelming amount of attention that The Citadel has gotten as a result of the choices and decisions they have made. So please share this, every single bit of it is true and if the media would do their job or if this had happened in another place other than Charleston, and if you’ve ever been to Charleston you know what I’m talking about, then none of these people would still have a job.

 

Me and the others

I am currently not doing that great but I know many of the other victims are having a tougher time with it than I am. I can only speak for myself but I know many of the things I am dealing with is similar to the others. Some things I deal with on a daily basis are depression, more than likely caused by the guilt I carry. I also don’t have many healthy outlets. I spend many of my nights drinking, doing drugs, and gambling among other things as a way to self medicate. I have a major tendency to self destruct and ruin anything I have going well for me, I push away those who care the most about me. I recently finished my 3rd year of college and things have been especially bad since school got out. I recently woke up face down in the middle of our campus, I was lucky to be found by my ex girlfriend, one of those I have pushed away the most. The next morning I quit my job, and I have since gone back home to be around people I don’t have to pretend to. All of these are my problems and things I have to deal with but I just wish some of the pain and guilt I feel was being felt by those adults, and leaders in the community that should have been protecting the kids that were preyed upon. Again, please share this. What I want most is for change to come about and for people to be held accountable and the people who should be doing this (the judicial system, and the media) are failing miserably.