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Readers Write: In Defense of Bob Dolin

February 10, 2018 Readers Write 23 Comments

This comment was provided as a response to discussion about whether former Kaiser physician and HL7 chair Bob Dolin, MD should be allowed to return to industry work after serving a prison sentence for possession of child pornography.

I appreciate Mr. HIStalk’s comment that Bob should be able to work. Not only is should he be allowed to work, he is obligated to return to being a useful, productive member of society. Not just from my perspective, but from the government perspective.

I know more intimately than any of you what the real situation is and was. I am his wife. So much for anonymity.

Many of you know me. I am a strong, independent woman, dependent on no one. Someone who not only hates child pornography and the implications of what that means for these children, but one who also despises “regular” pornography and the industry’s encouragement for participants to descend into child pornography (think “barely legal”). I also recognize that most men have participated in viewing pornography, especially men in unhappy marriages. But I don’t hate them or think they are sick — they are just unhappy.

Why have I stayed with Bob? Why do I encourage him to do the work he loves and to which he has made such great contributions? Let me tell you the reasons.

Bob is not a depraved, sick person. He never inappropriately touched any child. He is as far away from being a misogynist as any man I know. Likely, he has been far more monogamous and faithful than most of you.

While you might surmise that children were harmed because he downloaded a few zip files in one period in his life over 10 years ago, it is highly unlikely. There is no empirical evidence for that. Again, I am not asserting in any way that this was OK.

I have been with Bob nearly 24/7 since shortly after this was discovered. In fact, I believe, our relationship and strong marriage has been a primary healer. Bob simply only has the desire for the intimacy that only a special love such as ours provides.

I am firmly asserting is that he is not sick or depraved. I am stating that back 10 years ago, as his previous marriage was ending, he was in a bad spot. Did he go out and rape anyone or touch any child? Did he even have affairs? No. He withdrew into himself and escaped by viewing “regular” pornography, and unfortunately purposefully downloaded some child porn. The was no money exchanged.

In regards to “infants and toddlers being sadistically abused,” I challenge you to find an ICE arrest announcement (that’s the branch of government that deals with child pornography cases) that does not say, “XXX number of child pornography pictures were found, including infants and toddlers being sadistically abused.” Simply, that is what is in those zip files. How do I know? I was told that by lawyers who specialize in this area. The media (and ICE) love to emphasize this aspect. Whether or not the offender actually spent any time looking at these images is unknown in most cases.

I wish ICE would spend more time on finding and prosecuting the abusers and creators of child porn (usually family members) than on the easy targets of introverted adult males. For that matter, how is it possible that such pictures can even be uploaded? Surely we have the technology to recognize them and prevent it.

After extensive testing, examination, and interviews, Bob was not deemed a danger to society. Exam after exam has revealed him to have made a single mistake in an otherwise exemplary life. Not only that, it was about five years from when the forensics were done on his laptop to when the feds decided to prosecute. We assumed during this time there was nothing worth prosecuting for – they must have had far more pressing cases to deal with.

Bob’s friends, family, and many colleagues are happy to see Bob back contributing his brilliant mind to the industry. They recognize the price he has paid. For those of you who are appalled that he dare be a contributing member of society and HL7, and will quit if Bob continues to go to HL7 meetings after downloading child pornography 10 years ago, spending 2.5 years in federal prison, and losing his career, I encourage you to grow up, act like a mature adult, and think about the logic of that.

To quote a famous Rabbi, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Are you perfect? Even if your sins are not as severe as you have judged Bob’s to be, as they may not be, and you have taken it upon yourselves to so severely damn him, I ask, you to examine yourselves, your motives, and your personal issues.

Lastly, think of who you are hurting besides Bob. You are hurting me to the core. You are damaging my ability and desire to participate as a useful member of society. You are making me question nearly everyone at HL7 as to whether they have been two-faced to me these few past years, where I have remained a successfully contributing HL7 member by myself.

I won’t abandon Bob because of this. He is a good man, the best man I know, who made a bad mistake over 10 years ago.

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Currently there are "23 comments" on this Article:

  1. I don’t know the man, or the facts of the case, other than what I have seen on this board. I don’t know why I am compelled to react, except there are many physicians, and maybe even a few IT professionals, in recovery from serious personal flaws, myself included, and that this man has at least one thoughtful and brave person who has forgiven him makes me feel hopeful for the human race.

    • His wife has no standing to forgive him; she is not the person he harmed.

      The children, whose molestation and rape he elected to view, are the ones who get to make that call.

  2. This is the apotheosis of moral relativism. I’m a pretty mouthy person so it really takes something for me to require time enough to gather myself to respond, but boy a defense of “well he’s an introvert and was in a bad marriage” as a defense of deliberately seeking out and consuming child pornography required a few hours just about does it.

    I am simply floored at your assertion that because Bob was not the one actually abusing children, that children were not abused. I’ll say with reasonable confidence that the children in the photos he downloaded were abused; that’s what child pornography is — sexual abuse of children for sexual gratification of adults. Your doe-eyed concern for their welfare is touching though, two whole sentences’ worth out of a 15-paragraph defense of an adult who purposefully sought out their pictures. No money changed hands? YES money changed hands. Money changed hands somewhere in the abuse of those children; that is why people do it — they make money off of it.

    While you’re busy declaring that you are the real victim here (along with your husband who is also apparently a victim of mid-life ennui or something? I bought a guitar and joined political campaigns to deal with mine, but to each their own I guess), here is a description of some of the ongoing, lifelong psychological impact suffered by the actual victims of child pornography (the children, for those who might be a little fuzzy on it):

    “The three women, who all live outside Georgia, allege they suffer from “extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations” and that the continued distribution of the images have caused a loss of past and future wages, a decreased lifelong income earning capacity, past and future expenses for medical and psychological treatment and other losses, according to the suit.

    Hepburn said Vicky and Alice both have gone into “full blown panic attacks” on the job.

    “You don’t know who out there is around you, looking at the pictures of your rape as a child,” she said. “It could be anybody. It could be your boss, your co-workers … it could be anybody who comes in.”

    Marsh said child pornography is a crime that’s unlike an accident because “it’s an ongoing assault. It’s an ongoing trauma. It’s an ongoing sense of insecurity and embarrassment.””

    http://www.macon.com/news/local/crime/article83092057.html

    • I can tell you as a victim of child pornography myself, that children were harmed. His wife is absolutely wrong. Child pornography only exists because there is a market demand, usually depraved men who get off on seeing young children being forced to perform sexual acts, or being raped.

      If people like him weren’t viewing the content, there would be less need to create and display it.

      Yes, he did his time and should become a viable member of society and earn a living. He doesn’t get a pass for his very damaging and hurtful actions. He was not a passive depressed victim here, if he was depressed and unhappy, he should have gone for a run or something positive.

  3. As a Kaiser patient at the time, I do remember this and I’d encourage anyone that feels sympathy after this post to read what he was actually accused of, which was not downloading “a few” pieces of child pornography. I honestly don’t know how to feel about giving him a second chance professionally. I can see both sides. But I certainly wouldn’t let him near my kid.

    https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/former-orange-county-doctor-sentenced-more-3-years-child-pornography-charge

  4. When I heard the news about Bob in 2014 I was shocked and disgusted. I’ve known Bob for many years and this caused me to question many things about myself and those around me. I’ve been around long enough to have a few situations occur among friends that have shaken my belief in what I think I understand about people, to recognize pain, and to know a person. I certainly know now that people do bad things and we, as friends don’t recognize it. I also know that we need to learn to see all that makes up the person, and the situation, in order to grow and love. There is no question that Bob made some unbelievably bad decisions. And I’m happy to see him back among friends.

  5. As a person who had a front row seat to the destruction sexual abuse can take on a person I’m very sensitive to institutions protecting people who committed heinous acts out of a completely warped sense of sensibilities. That said I think we have gone to far as a society as far as banning and firing anybody and that seems to be the case here. By all accounts Bob is a brilliant scientist and valuable addition as a working professional. It’s not like he will be director of the HL7 daycare here. Let the man work and contribute. If he breaks the law again send him to jail for a longer time.

    • What if he had murdered someone? What if one (or more) of the victims whose abuse he elected to view killed themselves as a result of the trauma of knowing that people were seeking out images of their rape for sexual gratification? What is your limit? Do you have one?

      I have to say, I am *reeling* at the number people chiming in with spirited defenses of people who trade in child pornography. Some things I really did think were more or less absolute, and abusing children was one of them but I guess not. I’m not exaggerating when I say seeing so many people ready to “forgive” someone who hasn’t harmed them, and never once mention the victims, is making my skin crawl

      • I don’t see a lot of people “forgiving” the perp here. I see a lot of people who are willing to attempt to let perps reintegrate into society after they’ve paid their debt. Abstract away from the specific crime here for a moment. If someone is convicted of a crime, serves their sentence, and is released, then we should be attempting to reintegrate them successfully, right? If we’re not willing to do that, then in what sense is our justice system rehabilitating criminals? If we’re not willing to do that, then aren’t we just continuing to punish people beyond what the law has called for? If we’re not willing to do that, then why not just make every crime punishable by death, ’cause we’re certainly not going to let people earn a living . . .

        • What do you suppose the children in those photographs think of his debt to “society” (but notably — not to them) and whether or not its been paid?

          • HIT Girl, while I agree with most of your sentiments here, his debt to society was paid with the jail time. The victims are part of the society that lives under the same laws that convicted him, for better or worse.

          • His legal obligation was discharged after three years in prison; individual human beings are under no obligation to act as if he has been baptized anew and washed of sin.

            What is the limit? If he had murdered a child would everyone here still be so sanguine about welcoming him back and giving him another chance?

      • HIT Girl,

        I am not sure where I gave a spirited defense of the man. Can you elaborate? I thought I made my understanding of the sensitives of the situation pretty clear at the onset of my posting. I’m assuming your questions were meant to be rhetorical but the seem more so to be an ad hominem attack. My childhood was destroyed at an early age by the loss of a father whose demons resulting from systematic abuse were too much to bear before he succumb to a heart attack at age 48. I know full well the damage child predators can do. But that doesn’t prevent me from trying to live in a society that handles each case with care and affords a better path forward for people who actually commit these heinous crimes a path back in to something that adds to society as a whole. I don’t think destroying a person will do anything to prevent these crimes by others (or them) in the future. Just the opposite actually. By no means was my intent to absolve him of his sins or pretend they weren’t something less than they were. If you think they should be locked up and throw away the key that is understandable but that isn’t how our current system is constituted. I don’t think then that removing him whole cloth from his vocation serves any protective end going forward and to me that is the most important end to work towards.

        • “I don’t think destroying a person will do anything to prevent these crimes by others (or them) in the future.”

          Sometimes the penalty for our bad behavior is that we have to live with the consequences. There are a lot of smart people in this world; most of them aren’t child molesters. Hire one of them instead.

          I hope every person shrugging off his crimes and “happy” to see him back among them — again, without so much as a word for what may have become of his victims — immediately donates to RAINN.

  6. “I also recognize that most men have participated in viewing pornography, especially men in unhappy marriages.”

    I’m pretty sure most men in happy marriages enjoy pornography from time to time. The happiness of the marriage has nothing to do with it.

    “I am stating that back 10 years ago, as his previous marriage was ending, he was in a bad spot. ”

    Who gets a hankering for child pornography when their marriage ends (unless it’s ending because he has that kind of hankering)?? You don’t just wander in that neighborhood of the internet at random.

  7. One of the disingenuous points is the reference to “child pornography.” The current term is “photographic or video evidence of child sex abuse.” The children who are abused in such a fashion have no ability to consent to their abuse, and the photos or videos made of the abuse are evidence of criminal conduct. The distribution of the photos and videos is continued victimization of the subjects of the abuse.

    Conflating the viewing of these materials with the viewing of pornography made of consenting adults indicates a complete lack of understanding of what he was convicted of.

  8. Let me start by saying I don’t know what forgiveness looks like in this case, I’m still trying to work that all out. He paid his debt to society with jail time – does he get to back to life before conviction without any consequences? I just don’t know.

    I was somewhat angry reading this ‘in defense of’ letter – it is tone deaf and reads of an unwillingness to consider what ‘viewing/owning evidence of child sexual abuse’ even means. He didn’t harm anyone, he didn’t touch anyone, money didn’t change hands. Um……..what? How else was that material made available for him? Someone puts these violent, horrific files of CHILDREN out for men in unhappy marriages because of the love in their hearts?

    Putting this man back into a high paying, high profile position because has a good scientific mind is problematic. While I do agree he should be able to work to make a living, does he really deserve a high profile, high paying job when he can’t tell right from wrong? Worse, if he did know right from wrong and proceeded anyway, that’s an even deeper issue. Ask yourself: if he were of another race or a woman, would we even be contemplating what forgiveness will look like?

    I’m not here to judge Mr. Dolan but I can’t help but wonder how low our standards will sink just to keep the status quo going, aside from his wife’s unfortunate change in lifestyle.

  9. From ages 15-30, I was what some would call a religious zealout, others, a Jesus Freak. Eventually I found myself to be a “hopeful agnostic” and there I’ve stayed. But I missed the sense of community found in having a faith home and over time made my way to a Unitarian Universalist congregation. A pillar of that small community was found to be a stockpiler of child pornography and he was taken away. I don’t think he’s been released.

    It shook us as we had been to his farmhouse for many gatherings with our then very young son. Kym is a hoverer, so we know he was never unaccompanied, but it shook us nonetheless. We wandered away from that congregation. We grew up in a time of less parental awareness but no fewer dangers for unprotected youths. So our defenses have always been on full alert. Let’s just say that I consider myself part of the #metoo crew.

    Last year, I joined another, more established UU congregation where I’ve found a dynamic community of thoughtful folks of diverse genders, orientations, persuasions and perspectives. Just yesterday, the service was on human sexuality and how the congregation has worked hard to develop lifelong learning around our bodies and our understanding of the awesomeness of our selves as sexual beings. It has been a wonderful place to be.

    So when this post appeared in my inbox, I turned to that community for their thoughts. Below is the post I made to our private Facebook group. The feedback has been thoughtful and mostly aligned with the sentiments expressed below. A tenant of Unitarianism is the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. That includes victims of abuse as well as abusers. How that manifests, however, is often difficult to discern at best and pea-soup foggy at worst. Within moments of posting, one congregant politely asked if I would consider adding a “content note” or “trigger warning” for those for whom reading such a post might pose challenges. So I took her recommendation for a specific disclosure and added it.

    Reading the comments above, I get why some have been critical of Bob’s wife (whom I know). It is not a particularly victim-sensitive post. I will say that victims can be less than sensitive in conveying their anger against perpetrators of this perpetual form of abuse, their fears for themselves and others, and their absolute frustration with those who seem deaf to the depths of the harm that has been inflicted on them and on our society as a whole. When emotions are raw and fear is at its peak, it is easier to leave civility behind. I am as guilty as anyone of letting my own temper flare and my hurtful or thoughtless words explode. This is messy stuff.

    Messy, but so important. I’m grateful for the dialogue that is happening here and elsewhere. This is important shit to sift through. If you make it to the bottom of this post, you’ll find an approximation of my current perspective, which is open to new insights from you and others. I may change my tune, but I think I’ll stick with a foundational principle of the inherent dignity and worth of all. Whatever approach we ultimately collectively or individually pursue, I will hold it up to the light of this principle and consider how close we came to that ideal.

    Thanks…

    Content Note: child pornography, justice system

    Apologies for the longish and weighty post. I don’t know how to be brief on such a topic…

    In 2014, my profession (healthcare informatics) was rocked when Bob Dolin, a respected physician leader in technology standards for healthcare, was convicted of possessing child pornography. He was sentenced to serve 2.5 years in federal prison. He was recently released.

    His wife is also in the profession and has largely been silent on the matter. I know them both, but have only recently worked with his wife peripherally on a project.

    Over the weekend, a widely read news and blog site for my profession posted an open letter from his wife on why he should be able to resume his work in our profession and be back in the good graces of the professional community he was so instrumental in building. The commentary from readers has been mixed to say the least.

    For me, the “what do you do with these people” question is one of the most challenging aspects of dealing with issues like abuse, domestic violence, sexual assault, and the like. How does one navigate these challenging waters with integrity and respect for the victims of these crimes while also providing some path for redemption and restoration for those who have committed those crimes?

    Maybe the answer is, “Do nothing. They are unredeemable and should spend the remainder of their days behind bars or living in the outposts of society. Let them rot and let their families go down with them. Their victims will never fully recover from what has been done to them because it never ends.” Maybe it’s, “They served their time. It’s over. Make sure they are kept away from contexts where they could harm again, but otherwise pretend it never happened.” Maybe it’s something in between or even more extreme than either of these.

    I don’t know the answer and I don’t know that I’ll find it in a Facebook post — even one to a private group of relatively enlightened souls. I do know that any answer will be unsatisfactory to some as views on this subject are subject to intense emotions from every angle. This is about as messy as our humanity gets.

    But one example of at least as equally tragic human brokenness is the genocide campaigns that occurred in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis. A few years ago, Kym and I had dinner with a young DC filmmaker whose first (and award-winning) documentary, As We Forgive (www.asweforgivemovie.com) looked at the reconciliation that occurred among the victims and perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes.

    That example is as difficult to fathom as it is abstract from my Western reality. Right now, I’m trying to thread a very specific needle. I will certainly see Bob’s wife if not Bob himself at a conference next month. I can tell you my inclination is to welcome him back with respect because our profession is one that is very far from children or the opportunity to act again. He will never regain his medical license and agree that he shouldn’t. I would not vote to reinstate his Fellowship in ACMI, our professional honorific society (had they let me in), as that College should uphold the highest professional standards, which include personal integrity standards maintained over a long career. But I think he should be able to return to making a living at something where he can meaningfully and safely contribute. And I want to treat him with the same understanding I would give to any other broken human, which in my experience, is everyone. And I want to respect the many who have been and will continue to be harmed by this most troubling part of our brokenness.

    Your thoughtful comments and guidance are welcome and sought.

    https://histalk2.com/…/readers-write-in-defense-of-bob-dol…/

    • The piece I’m struggling with in your thoughtful post is that you’ll accept him back because his position is “far from children”. He downloaded over 1000 files on his work laptop in the privacy of his office, very removed from children, yet there are still victims in this case.

      This is complicated and I don’t have a strong opinion about what should happen from here (I’m still working that out) but how low does the moral bar have to go before someone says ‘No, thank you. You’re not what we’re looking for.’ rather than, ‘So happy you’re back!’?

      • It’s a great question, LMNOP, and, as with all of these questions, part of it fits with a personal decision, part with an organizational decision, and part with a societal decision. At the societal level (in this country anyway), we have made some choices that we won’t execute convicted offenders and, should they outlive their sentences, will come back into circulation. It’s easy to take the “not in my backyard” approach and say that we just won’t have anything to do with this person or any similarly convicted offender.

        But then what? I don’t doubt that it would be possible for Bob or you or me to do such crimes in the context of our work or in the secrecy of our homes or through some other dark web channels. Unless we are saying that convicts should never work again, I can’t see the justification of restricting someone’s access to a profession that is not inherently connected to the offense. That’s why I can see the reasonableness of barring a felon from medical practice — even if it is not a child-facing specialty like geriatrics because of the high standards related to licensure.

        I know whatever choices I make about this difficult path will be wrong in some way, but I want to steer my wrong approach toward redemption, reconciliation and wholeness as much as I can. In my own life, both from the side of the victim and the offender, I have found it to be the more difficult but ultimately healthier path. It’s not always possible and I understand why some disagree. I think that’s where the personal choices have to come in. We need to fully deal with who we are and what suits where we are on this journey.

        I’ll take your suggested edit, that I should not have inferred that informatics is free from risk or that this would would be insulated from any opportunity for future damage. But compared with many other occupations, it is certainly not a high-risk field.

        Thanks and I’ll continue to listen and ponder.

        r

  10. That’s a very thoughtful and well written post, Ross. I appreciate that you posted it. I’m not sure what I can add to all that you have said, but my understanding and inclinations, as well as my current and future interactions with Bob, are in the same direction.

    • A lot of the embarrassment caused by this episode could have been avoided if Mr. Dolin was less self-centered and arrogant dealing with his criminal case.

      – It took about decade for the guilty plea. It all started when Mr. Dolin was fired by Kaiser Permanente because he was misusing his work computer. As an IT guru, Mr. Dolin did not realize that using his work computer to download pornography (of any kind) would raise flags in the… IT department. Hubris or incompetence? You decide! Mr. Dolin was fired for misusing a work computer and when the IT department found child pornography on a Kaiser computer the case to the authorities. This could have just another sickening but secret episode but for his use of a work computer it became a Federal case…. literally. Lucky for Mr. Dolin, Kaiser kept quiet and he was allowed to lie about “his reasons for leaving” KP to became indispensable at HL7.

      – So after being fired by Kaiser and while under investigation for a Federal crime, Mr. Dolin proceeds to seek great new opportunities in the world of HL7 as if nothing happened.
      —He entered in partnership with another organization becoming president of the partnership and the face of the company!! I don’t know if he duped his partners but I doubt they were as willing to stay behind him as his devoted wife. I suspect he deceived them in the same way he deceived everyone else.
      — He served on the board of HL7, ran for chair!!! Yes, someone under investigation for a Federal crime decides the best idea is to seek a high-profile position. Amazing!

      Mr, Dolin could have done a lot to minimize harm to himself and others – including business partners, HL7 colleagues, HL7 as an organization that elected that convicted felon? He could have kept a low profile, getting paid well to consult on CDA while the case moved along. Yes, he should have kept a low profile and waited… pretty much what he has to do now. Except he has already harmed and embarrassed a lot of innocent people

      Instead, he engaged in a series for self-promoting/aggrandizing activities that made so much more public and embarrassing when the details of his plea came out like a bolt from the blue . Frankly, I probably wouldn’t have never known about Mr. Dolin criminal record if he did not run for HL7 chair at the same time he was pleading guilty!!

      In my opinion, this is a story of crime, hubris, selfishness, and arrogance.
      Mr. Dolin’s behavior made things worse for everyone in his path.

  11. I appreciate the thoughtful postings on this topic, particularly those by Ross Martin and LMNOP. I’ve never participated in HL7 and I don’t know Bob or his wife. In fact, I’d never heard of either of them until the recent mention by Mr. HISTalk. Furthermore, I’m not easily shocked at the things that people do. In my professional career, I’ve delivered medical care to individuals who’ve been convicted of egregious crimes, including serious sex offenses. I’ve always treated these individuals respectfully and professionally, even when my gut was churning at the thought of what they had done to others. However, quite a few engendered my sympathy, either because of the horrors of their early lives or other challenges they had faced along the way. Despite all of this, I found myself to be uncharacteristically unsettled by this whole conversation.

    As already noted by others, this is NOT a victimless crime. Child sex abuse is an anathema to the vast majority of people. I certainly know that physicians are human and, by no means, angels. But when a physician engages in such behaviors, the violation of public trust worsens the harms of the act itself. Thus, I did not find it surprising that people might be uncomfortable working with Bob at HL7 as if nothing had ever happened.

    What I did find surprising was that Bob would not have realized this and, given his prior leadership role, considered what it might do to the organization (on top of the negative publicity that he had already generated for Kaiser and HL7). I also don’t understand why lack of HL7 involvement would be tantamount to unemployment as several commentators seemed to imply. And I’m not convinced that “doing your time” should wipe the slate clean in every respect.

    Paradoxically though, I think I’ve been most unsettled by the comments by Bob’s wife.

    Before reading her posting, I felt a combination of disgust at what he’d done as well as amazement that someone so educated and intelligent would download photographic evidence of child sexual abuse at all, never mind on their work computer. But I thought it perfectly appropriate for him to work in informatics as long as he didn’t have access to actual clinical records. I also felt sorry for him knowing that prison life is particularly difficult for those convicted of sex offenses involving children. And I surmised that few physicians or HIT experts would fare well in prison to begin with.

    After reading his wife’s defense, I actually feel much less sympathetic and I’m flabbergasted by many of her assertions. In particular:

    1. “he is obligated to return to being a useful productive member of society ….from the government perspective”

    He certainly should return to gainful employment, but it’s probably unrealistic to expect the same degree of respect, esteem and compensation that he previously received. Also, if this means that his work is a condition of parole, then he hasn’t fully “done his time”.

    2. “the industry’s encouragement for participants to descend into child pornography (think “barely legal”)”

    I’m not sure what “barely legal” means here but when an competent adult chooses to view photographic evidence of child sex abuse, it’s not simply because they unwittingly careened down a slippery slope. In addition, news articles suggest that he also participated in on-line chats related to child sexual abuse.

    3. “He never inappropriately touched any child.”

    That would have been worse but it still doesn’t obviate the behavior that he did engage in.

    4. “He is … far away from being a misogynist .. Likely, he has been far more monogamous and faithful than most of you.”

    These “crimes” seem totally incomparable to what he was convicted of doing. Others’ behavior isn’t the point here.

    5. “I have been with Bob nearly 24/7 since shortly after this was discovered.”

    I thought he was in prison for part of that time. It’s also not clear why this is even relevant.

    6. “as his previous marriage was ending, he was in a bad spot …and unfortunately purposefully downloaded some child porn”

    Plenty of people are introverted, have bad marriages, or experience unhappiness. Some do have affairs, which as noted, doesn’t even come close to this. Many find more productive ways of coping. Few turn to downloading photographic evidence of child sex abuse. Even fewer turn to that without prior interest in or fantasies about such materials. “Special love” or not, these kinds of interests rarely evaporate.

    7. “I challenge you to find an ICE arrest announcement that does not say, “……infants and toddlers being sadistically abused.””

    I’m always up for a challenge and this one took all of 15 seconds to achieve — https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/cbp-officer-indicted-arrested-child-pornography. Though there was trauma and exploitation of prepubescent individuals, there is no mention of sadism, infants or toddlers.

    8. “it was about five years from when the forensics were done on his laptop to when the feds decided to prosecute”

    So you thought there weren’t going to be consequences and then found out otherwise? I’m sure that was a shock but a crime was still committed.

    9. I won’t replicate the last 4 paragraphs but am struck by the emphasis on Bob’s brilliance (as though this should be a mitigating factor), what he has suffered in doing prison time and losing his career (as though this wasn’t of his own making), and the attacks on the maturity, motives, personal issues, and sins of anyone who questions his participation in HL7. If he expected to be welcomed back with open arms, then that doesn’t say much for his sensitivity to others’ feelings and suggests a certain degree of hubris. It also sounds as if people treated Bob’s wife respectfully and appropriately valued her contributions to HL7. I imagine they also felt sorry for her that she’d been caught up in all this, but I don’t know how that makes the other HL7 participants “two-faced.” The idea that any questions about Bob’s participation are “damaging [his wife’s] ability and desire to participate as a useful member of society” seems disproportionately dramatic.

    Overall, I’m distressed that any one would download images that “depicted the abuse of prepubescent children — often sadistically — in addition to images of infants, toddlers and pre-school aged children being sexually abused.” However, I am equally distressed that people seem to be acting as if this is a “nothing burger” and by the way that Bob and, secondarily, his wife are being painted as the victims here, when the true victims are the individuals in the photographs and/or videos that he downloaded.







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