Friday, October 14, 2016



Dear Jessica,

I was like the guy across the aisle that did nothing to help you.  So I may know why the passenger that may have been watching a molester molest you also did nothing to help you.

In 1952 I was a U.S. army soldier on a train somewhere between Paris and Munich with just three in the car.  I was a few seats away from a young (German?) girl who was probably in her late teens.  Another soldier entered as we left the station and sat briefly a short distance from us before getting up and seating himself next to the girl.

It didn’t take him much time to begin trying to engage the girl in conversation which terminated when it was obvious he did not speak German and she did not speak English.  But that didn’t deter him from putting his arm around the girl, much to what seemed to me to be her discomfort.  Very soon he had one of his hands on her, still clothed, breast.

During the process I was becoming more alarmed and considering what to do.  I was considerably bigger than the offensive soldier.  It seemed possible that an altercation might delay my return to my base in Munich beyond the return time of my leave termination.  I didn’t have much confidence in my ability to explain things to the civil authorities.  And then the couple became more congenial and departed together at the next stop.

If her discomfort would have escalated or she would have indicated the need for help I would have tried to help.  I still feel I should have done something because I don’t know the outcome for the young girl.  I don’t think I have told my wife about this episode in my life.

I don’t think I had any fear that the girl would attack me if I tried to defend her.  Such a response in not uncommon when police try to stop a couple’s domestic disturbance.

The guy across the aisle may have been lulled into thinking you and your molester were a pair due to your conversing and eating next to each other.  None of that is an excuse for the slimy behavior of your attacker.  He probably honed his molesting technique by many previous episodes to minimize negative reactions to his behavior.  It seems to have become such a part of his character that he no longer recognizes nor remembers his shortcomings and may not even realize he is lying about them.  His frequent legal and other threats show he has not learned much to advance beyond petulant childlike behavior.

 Thank you for coming forward.  It is good to know that the attack did not deter you from becoming a delightful senior citizen as attested by your friends and what I have seen on CNN.

[some editing and deletions 11/13/16]

Joe Engemann      Kalamazoo, Michigan    October 14, 2016

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