Well done Ms. Sullivan.
Kloman would likely still be teaching today but for the fact that one of his victims, Anne Sullivan, saw him in 2011 at the Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda, Maryland, where he was a substitute teacher at the time. “Imagine my surprise, walking down the hallway of my son’s school a couple years ago, and seeing Mr. Kloman, the seventh grade teacher who assaulted me in a swimming pool 40 years earlier,” she said in a press conference after Kloman’s sentencing in a Fairfax County Court. “Kloman still had access to kids? My son’s classmates could be his victims? Enough.”
Can you imagine? 40 years later. And that’s when Christopher Kloman’s tenure as an elite prep school child molester ended. How he managed to stay out of prison all these years is a damning mystery, but these nightmares were once protected as cultural conspiracies. Back then the victims were akin to a societal bargain, like the furniture in a rented apartment. The crimes just happened and everybody kept their mouths shut. At one point the Potomac School administrators were made aware of his pedophilia, so they sent Kloman to counseling. For that yawn of accountability the beloved academy will be parting with millions of dollars, courtesy Gloria Allred.
Beauregard made an agreement with Kloman that she would clean his apartment in exchange for skiing and driving lessons. Everything was “normal” the first time, but she says that when he asked her to come back one day to clean again, he answered the door in a short, blue terrycloth bathrobe and led her to front of the house. “He spun me around so fast, sat down in a chair and pulled me on top of his naked lap. When she asked what he was doing, she says he calmly replied, “Don’t worry, I do this all the time with your best friend.” He asked her to go upstairs. “And believe it or not, I did. From that moment, I just completely shut down emotionally.”
Over the next five months, Beauregard says Kloman raped her eight times. “He always used protection, though I had no idea what it was at the time. My only sexual experience up until then was kissing a classmate.”
So Christopher Kloman was sentenced to 43 years in prison. And this is notable on my little blog because Judge Jan L. Brodie threw McRapey deep in the hole despite the pleadings of some of the country’s Most Trusted Men. The prep school daddies of Virginia took a sizable liking to their child-intercoursing pal and they weren’t about to let him go to prison without a fight. Kenneth Starr, for example. He was the Republican special prosecutor who for years pursued the scandal-phantom of Whitewater until he learned that the President was having oral sex. That was a shocking enough discovery for Ken that he had to feed the country into a constitutional meat grinder.
Ken and Alice Starr:
. . My husband Ken always found him to be a gentleman and sincerely interested in our children’s education and well-being during parent-teacher conferences each year. We would occasionally see Mr. and Mrs. Kloman on social occasions, and again, there was no evidence whatsoever of inappropriate behavior.
In short, all of us in the Starr family have admired Mr. and Mrs. Kloman for many years. We do not know of any occasion when he was abusive to women or children. Thus it is possible that once Mr. Kloman had children of his own in the 1970s and once he was promoted to head the intermediate division, he made a concerted effort to correct his behavior of the past.
We used to all pile in the station wagon and go to Red Lobster. And I never saw him rape any of the women or children there, so, okay?
Mr. Kloman is currently repenting for his past sins and will continue to do so if given a chance to serve his community and neighbors. Community service would be a far better punishment than having him languish in jail.
Mrs. Fellatio Witch Trial.
If that doesn’t giggle your belly, or ache your head, try this one.
By way of introduction, my name is Charlie Gibson.
He’s not just the former ABC nightly news anchor, he’s Charlie Gibson by-way-of-introduction. And he apparently has enough time in retirement to grace the judge with a combination of phrase and cliche so sincere it’d make your sex-fiend buddy weep.
I tried throughout the 12 hours or so after I read the Washington Post account to reconcile the Chris Kloman I read about and the Chris Kloman I know.
And I could not.
And I was left with an ineffable sadness. I grapple with the thought that good men can do bad things, that, as Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Poor anchorman, having to google Thoreau. Maybe now even Charlie feels quiet and desperate. Staring out the window, perhaps he’s nipping at a tumbler of fine scotch and just allowing the pain to come. Or maybe, like his friend, he’s trapping a fourteen year-old in his apartment, then putting on a condom and raping her.
In my experience as a reporter and in my personal life, this is not the first instance I have observed of such a phenomenon, but to me this is the most difficult to try and understand.
Because I’m not reading it on a teleprompter. I got the guy into the Shriners, incidentally.
For I have known Chris as a wonderful husband, great Dad, and, yes, a truly fine teacher.
Oh, a truly fine teacher. In all this rush to hear the stories of students, now grown, and to recognize them as horrors, and ram them right down the gullets of the justice system, Charlie’d like to remind everybody how hard all of this has been on someone else.
It is a case almost Dostoyevskian (if I can coin a word) in that Chris must have carried this guilt with him for years and I can’t imagine how the knowledge that it would some day come out, as it inevitably would, must have eaten at his soul.
Admit it, judge: You still feel bad for Raskolnikov. And if Anne Sullivan hadn’t walked into her kid’s school that day, would we even be here? But then just imagine how much worse Chris would feel, with his tatty soul, so teh sadz in every direction. Now like a good little talking head, who if nothing else knows his audience, Charlie works to bring it home:
I have tried since learning of Chris’s actions to put myself in your shoes. You have the most difficult of jobs. For I don’t know how one can determine what is fair or right after all these years – fair and right for the young women who were involved;
The women who were involved. Or the eighth-graders who were groped, dry-humped, and raped. It wasn’t really much of an office romance, was it?
. . fair and right for Chris. I do know that I believe in redemption. When I was hosting Good Morning America we frequently broadcast . .
Yes, he underlined it. I bet Chuck would be less prone to flog his résumé if he’d hosted, say, Good Morning Joe Buttafuoco.
. . we frequently broadcast stories and I was amazed that some people who were victimized had reserves of forgiveness far greater than mine. Any punishment for Chris now strikes me as punitive not rehabilitative, but at the same time I realize there is a need for accountability.
Any punishment would be punitive, good point. But any punishment? One day in prison, a little fifty dollar fine? It’s all too grotesque a fate to contemplate for our sidekick, Chris. Yes you may have heard about the unspeakable things he’s done, and you might think you have a right to judge him, but there’s something more important here: We knew him. We trafficked in the same Fairfax social circles! Know ye this so justice may prevail. You can be grateful that Judge Brodie wasn’t buying any of the bullshit the Virginia Brahmin And Butthurt were peddling and that Kloman will ‘languish in jail,’ exactly as Alice Starr bemoaned. If we were any luckier, we’d have Charlie Gibson keep him a week’s company for being an asshole.