More than 100,000 sex offenders are in violation of state and federal laws by not registering their current addresses with local law enforcement.

MY STORY

Thank you for visiting my website.  My name is Tim Fisher and I created this site as a way to deal with a horrible past.  It was a period in my life that changed me forever

 

 

This is why I’m here,because of this  little guy. He’s 7 years old in that picture. He’s in the 2nd grade and had just started going to Sunday School for the first time. 

It was a Baptist church and  it’s where a very young “ME” first learned about God and Heaven and Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Seven is the number of years that a 2nd grade Sunday school teacher spent manipulating my parents and myself.  I was seven years old is when it all began.

 It’s where my parents and I first met this man.  Ernest A.  Schwobeda.  Ernie taught me about all that stuff.  As I said, he was my second grade  Sunday school teacher. I was seven years old when a Man of God took me under his wing and taught me about the wondrous love of Jesus Christ.

I remember the first "Church song" I ever learned..."Jesus Loves me this I know…"
Ernie was the first adult to ever encourage me to sing loud like nobody’s listening.

I remember it was the third or fourth Sunday when he noticed my sister and I were about to start our walk home from Sunday school and he asked us if we wanted a ride.

 For me..it would be the first of HUNDREDS of times that I would be in that car.

 He met my Mom and Dad for the first time that Sunday afternoon and offered to pick us up every Sunday morning on his way to church...he’d make sure we got there and home safe and my folks didn’t have to get up early on a Sunday morning to drive us there.

Now, my parents weren’t religious at all and I have come to believe that they pretty much saw it as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  They got to spend a quiet Sunday morning alone and their kids were getting their first taste of religion.  I can’t think of any parent who would turn that down.

From that Sunday on I heard the little MEEMEEP of that little red Volkswagen's horn damn near every Sunday for the next the 7 years.

Ernie lived up to his part of the bargain by teaching me Bible verses and church songs.  He was the first adult who ever seemed to listen to me.  Not just in Sunday School class but on our rides to and from.  He seemed to take me seriously, like I was more than just a little kid.  He became more to me than a Sunday School teacher...He was the first adult to become my friend.

I remember riding my bike into the yard one day a few weeks later coming home from school and seeing Ernie standing on our front porch talking with my mom.  My mom told me that Mr. Schwobeda needed some help in his yard and around the house and that I would be going to go with him on Saturday mornings to help out for a few hours.

My parents must have thought they’d hit the lottery.  Here was this fine, upstanding man of God who had taken a genuine interest in their young son’s moral growth and development. Not just on Sundays where their son leaned about Jesus and the difference between right and wrong..but on SATURDAYS TOO!?  What more could they have asked for?  In their eyes it was the perfect thing for their seven year old son.  I got a positive role model.  I got something constructive to do on Saturday mornings besides sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons.  Mr. Schwobeda got some help around his house in exchange for mentoring their son.

 It should have been a Win-Win situation.

 I’m here for this little guy.   This is me when I was eight years old. My first little league team...the Padres.

I remember I switched up between third base and center field. My coach told me once that I had a good arm but I couldn’t hit a pitch if it were served up on a silver platter.
On the Saturdays that I had baseball practice or a game to get to, it was Ernie who always 
 volunteered to take me.

He’d been taking me lots of places since we first met.  You see, while my parents thought that I was helping Ernie out with chores, we truly only did yard work for the first month or so.

Ernie liked to take me places.  We went to the movies.  We went to the park. He took me to the beach.   We went to Knott’s Berry Farm where we fed the animals in the petting zoo and I chased the chickens around without someone yelling at me to stop.
We sat in his living room watching Saturday morning cartoons.  That was something I could NEVER do at home.  

We did all the things that you could imagine a parent doing with their child.  Yet my own parents knew nothing about it.

 

 I’m here because At eight years old I found that I could fit into the floorboards of the front seat of a little red Volkswagen’s passenger seat and nobody would know I was there.

Eight is when I learned that a garage door opener will still work even if you’re crouched in that small space meant for someone’s feet.  It still works even if you can’t see the door when you’re pushing the button.  Eight is when I learned that when Ernie’s neighbors waved at US they were really waving at him alone.

Ernie would tell me, “They don’t even see you!  It’s like you’re “INVISIBLE BOY!”

I knew the fun was over once that garage door closed. 

I’m here because at eight years old I was playing a game and my Sunday school teacher was not.

Once that garage door closed it turned into a different game.  For me it became a game of hide and seek.  For Schwobeda it became a frustrating game of Beat the Clock.

I knew that he only had a limited amount of time before his wife would come home from wherever she went on Saturdays.

I’m here because by the time I was eight years old I learned it was impossible for my small hands to push him away.  Somehow I KNEW he’d always find me but that didn’t matter.  The more time I spent hidden meant less time that he had to touch me.

  

 I’m here because by the time I reached nine years old I had learned to steer and shift that little red Volkswagen.  My legs were way too short to reach the gas and the brake let alone trying to work the clutch but Ernie would help me with that but I had to sit in his lap if I REALLY wanted to learn to drive.  I remember feeling how tight  the steering wheel  felt as he sat behind me working the foot pedals.

His huge hand would cover mine on the gear shift. Moving my hand around to find different gears.  I learned to steer with the other hand.  I learned how to concentrate on avoiding  the parking lot light poles.  I learned to ignore everything else that when on inside that car.

I’m here because by age ten I had learned to climb to the tips of the tallest tree in Ernie’s yard.  Most kids climb trees for fun and adventure.  I had learned to climb to it’s highest, thinnest branches to stall for time.  I had gotten pretty good at Saturday Hide and Seek and found I could sneak out the backdoor without making a sound.

I remember seeing him down below after finally finding me up the tree.  He was FURIOUS!  I had almost managed to do it, I thought for sure I had been hiding long enough.

That was the first time that he ever showed his anger towards me and I paid for it dearly that day.  The following week he installed a pull chain too high for me to reach.

   

I’m here today because by the time I had reached my 14th birthday  I had been sexually molested approximately 350 times over the course of seven years.

It took four years for me to become strong enough to come forward.  Shortly after my 18th birthday I lit a fuse that would blow multiple families apart.

I told my older sister first, hoping for moral support or maybe a little advice on how to tell our Mom and Dad.  What I got were all the reasons why I should just live and let live, forgive and forget, let God handle it. 

“Think of what this will do to Mom”, “This will kill her!”  “And for what?”  Who are the police going to believe?  Who’s word do you think they are going to take? An 18 year old without a job or Schwobeda?  An upstanding man in the church?

She had a good point.  Schwobeda had been a Sunday school teacher at that church for 12 years prior to meeting me.  He was well respected in the community. 

It wasn’t that my sister didn’t believe me, she just didn’t want me to tell anyone...especially our parents.  So I did what any good younger sibling does...I told my Mom and Dad.

I wish I could tell you that all went well but sadly it didn’t.  The news of what had happened to me DIDN’T kill my Mom or Dad.  It did, however light a short fuse on a bomb that blew us to bits that day.

There was no way I could convince them that “Mr. Squeaky Clean” as my dad used to call him could EVER do any of the things I was telling them.  And I wasn’t even telling them the worst of it.  It was like, the more I told them, the angrier they got.

Why was I making up all these lies about a man that had given so much of his own time to me?  There was no way I was going to make them believe that my abuse happened.  There was just no way I COULD.

I have to say, in my parent’s defense...I was telling them that they had been lied to for seven years about the time their son spent with this so-called man of God.  Everything they believed was shattered.  Hell, Ernie had become damn near a member of our family.  He was someone that they trusted with their son.  No parent wants to believe that they handed over their child twice a week to a monster.

No parent wants to believe that they somehow let their child down.  There was no WAY they were going to let themselves see my story as anything but a pack of lies aimed at tearing a good man down.

I can’t imagine what they must have been going through at the time.  I left their house that day confused, scared and angry.  How could they NOT believe me?  What if they were right and the police wouldn’t believe me either?  What the HELL had just happened to my family?

At this point I was SO pissed!  I mean, I was scared too, scared that the police wouldn’t believe me.  Scared that Schwobeda might be doing it to another boy.  I was pissed at him for making me put my family through this.  I was pissed at him for putting us in that position.  With or without the support of my family there was no way I could back down.

I Walked in to the Anaheim police department the next day.  God I was SO FREAKING NERVOUS!  I thought I was going to upchuck right then and there.

It was a female detective that took my statement and for some reason that put me at ease.  I started out nervously answering her questions What’s his name?  Where’s he live?  What’s he drive?

The more questions she asked, the more I opened up and the next thing I knew she was telling me to slow down.  I told her EVERYTHING that I had told my parents and EVERYTHING I had left out.  It was the first time I had ever told anyone the full story and it felt  AWESOME!

I remember leaving the interview feeling like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.  Finally SOMEONE believed me!

I had always know in my heart that I wasn’t Schwobeda’s only victim.  Nobody has a routine like that for all those years and then just stops.  In fact, it was that same routine that made it possible to catch him with another young boy.

I KNEW it was possible…that there were other boys.  What I didn’t know is how it would make me feel when I found out.  I seriously don’t have the words to describe it.  I’m not sure how many emotions you can feel all at the same time.  Anger, betrayal, hatred, remorse…all wrapped up with a big old bow of guilt for not coming forward sooner.

As an adult, I’ve come to learn a lot about how a child predator works.  How they work into the family structure.  How they groom not just the child but the parents as well.  He had my parents hook line and sinker.  It was GOOD for me to go to school Monday through Friday.  It was GOOD for me to go with him on Saturdays.  And there’s no arguing that it HAD to be good for me to go to church with him every Sunday.

As a child, that was my life. You go to school, you go with Ernie and you go to church.  None of that was up for debate.

From start to finish it took a year almost to the day for him to be sentenced convicted.  Eventually Schwobeda took a plea of guilty to 49 counts of child molestation, lewd conducts involving a minor and with the use of force. In some states I think we’d call that rape of a child.  He was sentenced to 2 to 12 years and sadly was released after serving just nine months.

My Dad eventually told me that he was proud of me for standing up.  My mom and I got a lot closer over the years and I had the honor of being her caregiver in her final months.

I’m here to remind you that the abuse never stops for the victim.  In my case I was kind of blessed in that my mind let me push it away.  When the judge’s gavel came down for the last time that that day in court, my mind just closed it out.

I’m here because the past stayed in the past for me until one hellish night a few years back.  It came flooding back like nothing I’d ever seen.  I woke up so scared, so confused, shaking, sweating.   I thought I was losing my mind.

All I could hear were his words, all I could see was his face.  I could SMELL the inside of that FREAKING Volkswagen.  Worse yet, I could smell that bastard’s cologne.  After all these years I swear I could even feel his hands on me.

PTSD?  Are you kidding me?  PTSD is what is suffered by our veterans of war, not a mild mannered handyman in Las Vegas.  Post traumatic stress disorder in my case is like having a DVD playing in my head.  Nobody can see it and nobody  can hear it but me.

At the beginning, I didn’t have the remote control to turn it off.  Images of my childhood would run through my head in high-def.  Over and over and over.  Imagine having to relive my seven years of abuse again and again.  It truly was like having a wide awake nightmare.  My therapist explained to me that my mind was trying to tell me that I was strong enough to process the abuse.  Move on. 

What the hell kinda crap was that?

I was doing just fine as a mild mannered handyman in Las Vegas.  I was plenty good and happy with things being like they’d been.  I was definitely o.k. with my past being pushed back behind the wall that my mind had so graciously built for me.  Once the walls started coming down all hell broke loose.  For the first time in my life I grasped the totality of my abuse.

I mourned for that 7 year old me.  I mourned for the 8, 9, 10 thru 14 year old me and I mourned for the other victims.

I realize I’ve just spent the last bit of time reliving my abuse for you but this is on MY TERMS.  This isn’t like the flashbacks...where Schwobeda would once again enter my life unwanted and uninvited.

Hell, in a way, this has BECOME my therapy.  Through my website and speaking out in public I get to take the power away from Schwobeda.  I get to turn it against the animals who choose to sexually abuse our children.  I’m definitely not playing Invisible Boy anymore.  Not by a long shot. 

I encourage anyone who has been sexually abused to make a report even if it happened when you were a child.  The odds of that predator doing it to another kid are astronomically high.  Can you imagine how many children we could save if everyone told their story?  How many lives could be spared the devastation that follows sexual abuse?

 We can not let these bastards slither into the shadows.

  

 Timothy Fisher

 

 

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