If you don't fit the victim stereotype, it is hard to get people to take you seriously, especially when you are a male military veteran. After all, how can a strong male Marine be a victim of sexual assault? Even while sexual assault is being exposed and the #MeToo movement is taking down powerful sexual predators, how does this culturally-renewed intolerance toward sexual abuse treat male victims?
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr">Joy! <a href="https://t.co/BE4z1OZQwD">pic.twitter.com/BE4z1OZQwD</a></p>— Jim Cochrun (@jimcochrun) <a href="https://twitter.com/jimcochrun/status/986334474798534656?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 17, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Meet disabled US Marine Corps Veteran Jim Cochrun of Austin, Texas. He is a man with an excellent resume and is spoken very highly of by those he has worked with but his story is not without hardships. Several years ago Jim's 3-year-old daughter passed away in her sleep leaving Jim to struggle with his PTSD in the aftermath. Since coming back to the civilian life he has worked with numerous charities aimed at acclimating veterans back to everyday life as a civilian. He even recently achieved his dream of starting his very own organization with a mission of helping veterans called Code VI Veteran Integration Center.
Here is a look at Jim's biography from his company Code VI Veteran Integration Center's website:
<i>"As a Marine Corps Veteran and Certified Veteran Peer Specialist, Jim Cochrun has a true passion and immeasurable experience in Veteran outreach. In 2014 he had a glimpse of the greater vision that would eventually become Code VI Veteran Integration Center.</i>
<i>Ideas began to take seed and by late-summer of 2015, Jim had a much broader view of what he wanted to create for fellow Veterans, but at this point, the timing felt “off”. Through much prayer and brainstorming, he and his wife, Kate, agreed to wait and trust that the right time would present itself. Three weeks later, Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. They both knew then why they were nudged to wait and for the next 9 months, they battled the disease together…and WON!</i>
<i>When Kate was officially declared cancer free, they took off with their daughters for a much needed celebratory trip to Costa Rica, where they fell in love with the best coffee they’d ever tasted! They brought home as much as they could pack and savored it over the next weeks and months. Not only was it smooth and delicious, but it held a very special connection to the hope, perseverance and resilience they’d found through their journey. They didn’t know it yet, but that very same coffee bean from Costa Rica that would later become the base for their own private label: Code VI Coffee.</i>
<i>In early 2017, the time was right. Jim applied for and received his 501c3 and founded his dream: Code VI Veteran Integration Center!"</i>
Throughout his whole life, Jim has had to deal with the reality that he was sexually assaulted on numerous occasions as a boy by his Christian youth pastor. But when he came forward with the details of how Christian author Robert D Smith repeatedly sexually molested him he was slapped with a lawsuit by his abuser and silenced. Let's start with exactly what happened to Jim, in his own words taken from his statement to the Tulsa Police Department. Be warned, the details are graphic:
<i>"In 1978 I was 12 years old and I lived with my family in the 1400 block of E.52nd Street in a row of homes owned by Osborn Ministries Intl. My father was the music minister at a church housed on the OMI campus. Robert D. Smith, 22, was my youth pastor. One Saturday night at Robert's house, he poked his head around the wall of his bedroom, and called out “Hey – Fred,” come in here a minute”. Entering his room, I saw him laying in bed. “Close the door – I want to show you something”. I tentatively obeyed – he was my youth pastor. I climbed into the bed and he pushed the sheet to his waist to reveal that he was naked and had an erection. He admonished me and said “Don’t go – stay here”. I obeyed. Robert placed my hand on his erect penis, instructing me to grasp it and begin stroking him. I pulled my hand back and so “No! I don’t want to do this”. “It’s OK - you’ll like it – I promise. I did as I was instructed and Robert told me to continue – I was doing fine. This continued for several minutes until Robert’s body went tense as he ejaculated – it went everywhere – on his chest, stomach and coated my hand. Robert produced a towel from next to the bed and began cleaning up the mess. He turned toward me and said “now it’s my turn” and pushed me back on the bed. Robert pulled the sheet back, removed clothing and began to stroke my penis. My body responded and I got an erection…Robert smiled and said “I knew you would like it” I was dizzy and confused…what was happening? Robert continued then stopped and slid down on the bed. He lowered his head and took my penis into his mouth.I was confused and angry. I got up from the bed, retrieved my clothing from the bed and got dressed and told Robert I was going to watch SNL. He asked “Are you OK Fred? This is going to be our little secret. You can never tell ANYONE about this.”This scene was repeated several more times over that Summer of 1978. In 2008/2017 I confronted and I have a recorded admission I can provide to TPD."</i>
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/ba80aa426dd83f2e5a146962f84f29bfc8046bb3feeff539cb5e91fc344d9c97.png" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Image From Robert D. Smith's Website</span>
Related coverage: <a href="https://thegoldwater.com/news/24083-Cosby-Grins-As-Prosecutors-Call-Him-A-Serial-Predator">Cosby Grins As Prosecutors Call Him A Serial Predator</a>
After living with the knowledge that he was sexually abused his whole adult life and becoming a father himself, Jim decided to report the crime the police so that it would not happen to any more children. Jim remembers small details from the times he was molested such as how Smith folded his sheets, where he put the towels and the location of the bed in the room. He has had to live with the dark secret that he and his brother, who was also molested by Smith, have suffered greatly.
Smith responded by suing him for $750,000 and denying the allegations against him. This is a statement from Smith's attorney:
<i>"The lawsuit that is now pending in the Federal Court for the Middle District of Tennessee is the result of Mr. Smith filing an action for defamation and tortuous interference with business relations against Jim Cochrun as a result of Mr. Cochrun publishing outrageous and defamatory comments involving Mr. Smith; allegations which Mr. Cochrun state occurred 40 years ago. It is important to note that Jim Cochrun did not and has not sued Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith filed his lawsuit in Williamson County Tennessee where he obtained a restraining order against Mr. Cochrun to restrain him from his continued dissemination of his false slanderous and outrageous allegations. Mr. Smith filed his lawsuit for the sole purpose of clearing his name of any wrong doing involving Mr. Cochrun’s allegations. Mr. Smith’s lawsuit was filed in February 2018 and up to this point, Mr. Cochrun has not provided a shred of evidence that any of the allegations are in fact true."</i>
Forced to hire an attorney to defend himself from the outrageous lawsuit, Cochrun's lawyer was quick to respond on Jim's behalf. Warning, the letter contains more sexually explicit details documenting the abuse:
<i>Christian Author Robert D. Smith Seeks to Silence Alleged Child Sexual Abuse Survivor with Defamation Lawsuit</i>
<i>HOUSTON (DATE) – Christian author and personal branding expert Robert D. Smith sexually assaulted Jim Cochrun when he was only 12 years old. At the time of the assault, Robert Smith told Jim to never tell anyone. Jim was bullied into keeping the child sexual assault secret. Forty years later, Robert D. Smith is attempting to use the legal system to continue to silence this victim of child sexual assault by filing a defamation suit against Jim Cochrun.</i>
<i>For over 30 years, Robert D. Smith has managed the career of New York Times best-selling author and speaker Andy Andrews and has provided personal branding consultation to numerous other well-known figures in the Christian community.</i>
<i>After unsuccessfully attempting to "make this go away" in direct conversations with his alleged victim, Smith filed a lawsuit against Cochrun in the Chancery Court of Williamson County, TN at Franklin as Case No. 46996. In the suit, Smith seeks over $750,000 from his victim. The suit was removed to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee on February 21, 2018. That case is styled as Case No. 3:18-cv-00225. Recently, Jim Cochrun filed his answer in court challenging the complaint.</i>
<i>Cochrun made the difficult decision to share his story with the general public in the hope that any other victims will be emboldened to step forward and seek justice. An excerpt of Cochrun’s story is below:</i>
<i>In 1978 I was 12 years old and I lived in a simple frame house in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My father was the music minister at a local church, and Robert D. Smith, then aged 22, was my youth pastor.</i>
<i>One Saturday night at Robert’s house, he poked his head around the wall of his bedroom, and called out "Hey, Fred. Come in here for a minute." It was commonplace for Robert to call me by the name Fred in reference to the character Bassett Hound in Smokey and the Bandit. Entering his room, I saw him lying in bed. "Close the door. I want to show you something." I tentatively obeyed. He was my youth pastor. I climbed into bed and he pushed the sheet to his waist to reveal that he was naked and had an erection. He admonished me and said, "Don’t go, stay here." I obeyed. Robert placed my hand on his erect penis, instructing me to grasp it and begin stroking him. I pulled my hand back and said, "No! I don’t want to do this." "It's OK. You’ll like it. I promise," said Robert. I did as instructed. Robert told me to continue, that I was doing fine. This continued for several minutes until Robert’s body went tense as he ejaculated. It went everywhere—on his chest, stomach, and coated my hand. Robert produced a towel from next to the bed and began cleaning up the mess.</i>
<i>He turned to me and said "now it’s my turn" and pushed me back on the bed. Robert pulled my pajamas down and began stroke my penis. My body responded and I got an erection. Robert smiled and said, "I knew you would like it." I was dizzy and confused. What was happening? Robert continued, then stopped and slid down on the bed. He lowered his head and took my penis into his mouth. I was confused and angry.</i>
<i>After he finished, I got up from the bed, retrieved my clothing and got dressed and told Robert I was going to watch Saturday Night Live. He asked, "Are you OK, Fred? This is going to be our little secret. You can never tell ANYONE about this." This scene was repeated several more times over the summer of 1978.</i>
<i>Being sued by your abuser is understandably shocking. Jim has never sought money from his abuser. His motivation is that justice is done and that any other victims who may exist are empowered to come forward. The good news for Jim and other victims like him is that they will defend these allegations with the truth. Proving defamation is difficult. The statements must be false, which means Smith would have to prove that the sexual assault did not happen. Our client has no reason to lie.</i>
<i>Jim's willingness to come forward with the truth is the only way to keep perpetrators like this out of positions of influence.</i>
<i>-George Edwards, III, Murtaza Sutarwalla, and Brent Webster of Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC and John D. Kitch, of Counsel for Cornelius & Collins LLP, represent Jim Cochrun.</i>
<i>About Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC</i>
<i>Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC (www.eslawpartners.com) is a full-service business law firm based in Houston and Austin, Texas practicing in the areas of civil litigation, commercial transactions and corporate law. Edwards Sutarwalla PLLC also represents survivors of child sexual assault and abuse throughout the country.</i>
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It is just devastating to imagine the emotional trauma this man who served his country and now helps others who do the same was put through for all these years. I would hope that a judge rules in Cochrun's favor in the defamation lawsuit, and even if there is not enough evidence for criminal charges against Smith then at least the public has been made aware of the allegations against him. Hopefully, no one will let Smith get too close to children so that no one else is victimized.
The sad part of this story is there is no closure for the victims. The abuser is still free to continue abusing more children and even while media highlights #MeToo cases of sexual abuse, no one is talking about the disabled Marine veteran who quietly bore his own burden for decades. It's important to realize that not all victim's are women, some are men, and some are children. It may not be a sexy story for the mainstream media, but maybe there is a chance President Trump hear's Jim's story and reach out to him. If you are interested in learning more about Jim's organization for helping veterans you can visit his website at integratedveteran.org.
<img src="https://media.8ch.net/file_store/thumb/ecceae3492b440cdce89646de9cc155e71d7debebcf55dbe23d95d8fe35e6e78.jpg" style="max-height:640px;max-width:360px;">
<span style="margin-top:15px;rgba(42,51,6,0.7);font-size:12px;">Jim Cochrun | LinkedIn</span>
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IF this happened then obviously there are like;y several other victims.
Then they need to come forward.