At least eight boys were lured into Jason Ehlers’ basement so he could gratify his proclivities. Eight boys, that we know of, will live as sexual molestation victims.
The list of victims is so much longer than those eight names. Had it not been for one of the boys having some trouble at school and then bravely confiding in a counselor what Ehlers did to him, the list could have grown much longer.
Count Ehlers’ family members among his victims, with the shame of a blood connection to a child molestor. Include the parents of his victims, guilty and angry that they did not catch the abuse and better protect their children. Add two different school districts where Ehlers taught, Triad and Bethalto, which needed counselors to help teachers cope.
And we can only hope that those eight boys get the needed help and have the strength or the luck to keep them from becoming pedophiles, as too often happens to child sexual abuse victims.
Ehlers described himself as an “insane monster” and his attorney portrayed it as a Jekyll and Hyde situation. Don’t buy those characterizations, because they are intended to distance Ehlers from his actions. He brought these boys along slowly, grooming and desensitizing them before he molested them.
The monster was always watching and plotting.
The 35-year sentence rendered last week will not end it. Ehlers will serve 85 percent of his sentence and be released when he is about 65 years old.
Plus, the ripples he started will spread for a very long time.