An open letter to our family and friends:
By now, you’ve probably seen the news circulating. You’ve probably gasped in shock and double checked to see if you read it right. I had a similar reaction when I found out.
I found out in May of 2015 that Zane had an addiction. Like 85% of men, he had struggled with pornography. Only for him, he had gotten addicted at age 13. Occasionally, the addiction cycle would pull him into downloading the same underage material he’d viewed at 13. Luckily nothing was considered “hard core”, but enough that the authorities tracked the download and showed up at our house one Thursday night in May.
Just as you are probably shocked to read this, I was devastated, confused, hurt, and angry. Zane has always been one of the most strong, Godly men I’ve ever known… it’s a big part of why I married him. His faith has been well known in our community, especially after the tragic accident that burned 58% of his body in 2010. But, he is also human, and is capable of being attacked with addiction just as much as any of us.
I’ll be honest, I struggled with the fact that it was underage content. It took me many months of researching the psychology behind these things and studying addiction to understand. Through my own personal pain, I began to see things as they really were: He was still the same man I married; the same man I fell in love with. He had been fighting this battle by himself for 16 years. He so badly wanted to be free of it, but the shame and stigma that is attached to pornography was so great that he didn’t feel he could reach out. It breaks my heart to know that so many people fight addictions silently and on their own for fear of judgement when they ask for help.
Although that was a terrible day, it marked the date that Zane was set free. He met with our pastor and started seeing a counselor right away. I am incredibly proud to say that he has been completely clean ever since. Let me be clear on a few points, as I know there will be gossip: In no way, shape, or form has Zane ever been attracted to underage girls in his real adult life. He was caught and charged with possession of the material only- he never shared it or had contact with anyone either online or in person. And yes, he 100% sees how terrible and wrong this was, and he will face the consequences of his actions.
We didn’t hear from the authorities for almost a year. Last March (2016) we got a letter stating that they intended to prosecute and Zane should get an attorney. After hiring who we believe is one of the best in the state, we found out that the penalty is typically 3-5 years in prison. We are praying for a miracle when it comes to that sentence. The sentencing hearing is likely to take place within a few months. Zane was taken into custody today after pleading guilty. He had previously entered a not guilty plea in order to keep him with family through the holidays. Although the ramifications are extremely painful for our family, we take solace in the fact that he is free of this addiction and can look forward to truly living without that enormous weight on his shoulders.
I don’t want to undermine his crime or make light of the situation- believe me, I of all people, am fully aware of the pain it caused. And although I didn’t talk to a single soul about this for almost a year, I won’t pretend that it wasn’t the hardest year of my life. Many of you know about my health challenge with pregnancy, my business expansion, and the struggle of being a new mom. I’ve most definitely gone through my moments of anger that I have to deal with this, and I understand if your response is one of frustration or confusion. I was there. But I do want to ask for your grace.
My husband is human, and is susceptible to sin and struggle as much as anyone. He accepts full responsibility for his actions, and has worked incredibly hard since that day in May to completely change his life. And he has. I have witnessed the most remarkable transformation and healing.
I pray that you see that humanity. I hope that you can find grace inside of you. Please know that Zane is sorry. He wants so badly to speak for himself, but I’m speaking on his behalf for the moment, as we fear the public isn’t going to be in a place where they will even hear his voice.
We need your prayers, as we face a difficult road ahead. There will be days that will be incredibly hard. Although we have both experienced much healing, your words still have the power to break us. And as much as I appreciate any support I personally receive, what tears down my husband will tear me down too. We have a sweet little boy who is counting on us, so we need all the strength we can get. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for allowing me to state the facts and speak from a very personal level. This is not the first great challenge we’ve faced, and although this is very different, I will say the same thing I did through Zane’s accident in 2010: God is faithful, and He will take care of us.