(3) Father Byers at 8 years old: Taking *The* Mafia Kiddie-Porn Godfather for a ride

cadillac limousine

This is one of those stories which requires one to say before beginning that no one else is ever to try this at home. What I did was stupid, though it seemed really smart to me at the time. The purpose of repeating this bit of the autobiography here is send a message to some people who pride themselves a bit in their lust for power in all their evil doing. They have a need to understand that there are certain people who will uncontrollably do stupid things, putting themselves into grave danger, truly having no fear because of having, at any rate, the idea that they can get their way out of any difficulty precisely because they have no fear that burdens them. They will do what they need to do. And they do it. I must say that what happened in this story was very formative of my own character, and terribly instructive to me as a little kid about the way politics work regarding abuse. Seeing the powerful become fearful (they are always fearful) was spectacular. Very important, this. Those for whom I am especially writing these articles should take note: No fear. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Give it up and convert. Go to Confession! For the other articles so far, see:

north junior high school

When I was just eight years old, I had made a habit of going swimming at the local Junior High School. The pool was opened up to younger kids like myself, at night. It was a pretty good hike to get there, three miles, at night. Bikes were impossible in Minnesota in February ice and snow, at night. I know. I tried many times when it was way below zero, at night. It’s a good extreme sport, but it really was faster just walking. No one from my neighborhood wanted to brave the hike. I was alone for that part. But there were plenty of kids to meet there. The trip was worth it for someone who could swim like a fish, and I was just such a one. I think I once did five lengths of the pool underwater without once coming up for breath. I was a bit of a show-off, looking for some competition in this way. Competition, if it’s just for the sheer idiocy of it, is always hilarious to those involved, and is its own reward. I found out that half-crippled legs didn’t matter so much in the water.

Also, I was used to the cold enough to know that when it’s below zero and one’s hair is still wet, the walk home will be cold only at the beginning. Wet hair freezes into a helmet as hard as rock, keeping one’s body heat insulated. I would let my hair freeze for a minute or so, and then put my hat on over that. Only I would do that, of course. But one has to know how to survive.

On my way home from a great swim, but on a particularly cold night, way below zero on the Fahrenheit scale, and with eyes seeing chlorine halos around every distant light, I noted that a very expensive looking black Cadillac Limousine started following me at my walking pace, about forty yards out. He had followed me a couple of other times, but from about 100 yards out. This narrowing of the range was creepy. I was on the road since the sidewalk had about a foot of snow cover. But now, to escape, I ran up the mountain of snow separating the road from the sidewalk, which was set back from the road about twenty feet. I walked along the sidewalk, to no avail. The car stayed exactly forty yards back. He knew what he was doing. I was just at a point where the sidewalk ended in front of a deep, culverted ditch that was being filled in with building demolition, parts of brick walls and great slabs of cement floors, with jagged metal I-beams that poked through the snow and ice with dark menace. I stared at this, imagining myself escaping along this impassable route, but being put off at the thought of freezing to death with a broken leg a half mile from the road, not to be found until the following Summer, if ever.

plowed snowI jumped back out on the road, right where my stalker would be able to grab me. Back in the day, there were no houses in any direction for about a half a mile along that stretch of road. The field next to me, blanketed with about three feet of snow, up to my chest at that time, stretched all the way to a forest about three miles away. It was pitch dark. I thought I was dead for sure.

And yet, if you can’t run, you can fight, even if you are only eight years old, as I had learned some months previously. I was braver than I was smart. I turned and walked straight to the car and, when offered a ride – just as I thought – I took it. This seemed stupid even to me, but it also seemed like the only option, and so, therefore, smart. I thought I was going to end up in the car one way or the other, but if I took the initiative, the psychological dynamics were such that I could have the upper hand, at least for a while, until I figured out a definitive escape. What a stupid eight-year old! But I was filled with adrenaline once again. And I had not forgotten the bit [mentioned in an earlier part of the autobiography] about letting people hang themselves if that’s what they wanted to do. I learned later on what our Lord did with Judas.

This fellow in the Cadillac Limousine was perhaps in his thirties, and may have been merely the driver for someone else somewhere else. His job for the evening was just to collect kids. At any rate, he knew his business; it was clear he had done this before. Today I would conjecture that his boss was the kiddie-porno king of the world, with no one equaling his volume of kiddie-porn even today. But, maybe he was the godfather. Those were different times. But I’ll get to that in the following article of this series. At any rate, this fellow interrogated me about exactly where I lived in town and then what my name was. When he heard the name, he asked me to repeat it, again and again. I told him, and said that my dad had been the mayor of the city (of 48,000 people at the time) and was now an attorney at law, and also worked at the State Legislature, and headed up the biggest law firm in central Minnesota. He asked me repeatedly if I was sure that was my father. Sure? I almost broke out laughing. But instead I also mentioned my uncle by name, since he was the chief emergency responder in the city. At that point, he stopped the car abruptly, right there on the icy street, far from anywhere, at night, way below freezing, commanding me to get out. I mocked him with a sing-song voice, saying he could meet my dad if he wanted to drive me the rest of the way. That wasn’t very intelligent on my part, but he sped away, thank God. I tried to get the license plate number, but it was too dark. I was dumb enough to be a bit too happy with myself, having gotten 1-1/2 miles closer to home in a nice car. I had no idea that I had been in most grave danger, out of which few come out alive.

I wonder how many youngsters’ lives he had destroyed and is still destroying. I wonder if my ever so troubled friend had been a victim of his. I told my parents right away, and my dad got on the phone immediately. I can only think that this fellow was run out of town for a while, but, in those days, I suppose, only that. The kiddie-porn operation was so massive that very many people had to have been paid off to look the other way.

Just when you think you’ve run into the ultimate evil, you find out there is something even worse. It would be a grave error to think that the politics of abuse, the string pulling behind the scenes, is simple. It’s not that it’s all so much more complex than money and the lust for power along with a perverted, inverted lust for lust. Instead, the difficulty comes in being put off by thinking that there can’t be anything more evil than what one has already found. But that judgment of the state of affairs does not then take into account the passion and death of the Son of God Incarnate. If He suffered like that, things really can be very, very evil. But that’s when we see Jesus’ mercy shining most brightly. O.K., so, my participation as a kid in kiddie-porn up next. Stay tuned.

3 Comments

Filed under Abuse, Father Byers Autobiography, Mafia

3 responses to “(3) Father Byers at 8 years old: Taking *The* Mafia Kiddie-Porn Godfather for a ride

  1. elizdelphi

    Did you tell your dad about your friend attacking you and about the knife behind the fridge?

  2. Father George David Byers

    @ elizdelphi – Good point for the other article! Yes, I think I did. I simply don’t know the rest of his saga. It all went hush hush.

  3. Nan

    The things were meant to bring compassion to your priesthood. Having been in life threatening positions, you understand that there’s great evil preying on innocents.

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