Occasionally I read a news item that makes me question my illusions, my optimism, my aspirations, and the rationality of hope. The saga of Jonathan and Sarah Adleta, a couple whose match was made in Hell and whose crimes sound like the rejected plot submission of a Law and Order SVU script writer whose mind has snapped, is just such a story, perhaps the most disturbing I have ever encountered.
If you continue reading, consider yourself warned.
After college student Sarah Adleta became pregnant with Jonathan Adleta’s child and tests showed that the fetus was female, Jonathan told her of his long-held fantasy about having incestuous sexual intercourse with a daughter. A deal was struck: he would marry Sarah, if she agreed to allow him to have sex with their daughter as soon as it was possible.
Well, we all make compromises. Love! Who can explain it? A codicil to the deal was that when and if the couple had a son, Sarah Adleta was expected to have sex with him. Their daughter was born in March 2009, and Sarah became pregnant with their son shortly after, so this domestic dream was coming to fruition just as it was planned. Sarah, testifying in the trial of the two last week, said she was initially dubious about Jonathan’s ideas about family life, but she loved him—and who wouldn’t?—wanted the financial security that came with marriage to the rugged Marine,and would do whatever it took to to keep her man, “whatever it took” in this case meaning letting him begin raping their daughter while she was a toddler, and being prepared to do the same herself to their son.
Thus, as the prosecutor put it, was having sex with their children “part of their parenting plan”?
They married in 2010. Jonathan was deployed to Afghanistan, and when he returned, the family moved to California, where he was stationed. There, his ex-wife said, he began having sexual contact with both children. In late 2011, he filed for divorce—after all, he had been a good provider, was caring, had regular sexual activity with their two -year old daughter and even broke in their infant son for her later attentions, and she was still always complaining!— so Sarah Adleta returned, with the kids, to Central Florida. But the spark was still there, obviously. She helped her former husband to continue to molest his daughter through the videoconference program Skype, with her aid and, well, you know, assistance.
The way technology brings families together these days is really a miracle.
There is no substitute for the real touch and feel of a child rape victim, though, so by the spring of 2012, Jonathan Adleta had found a new girlfriend in Texas (through a dating website—I wonder how many women are in that “Lets men have sex with their small daughters” category?), a 23-year old named Samantha Bryant, who also was fine with the idea of allowing Adleta to rape her daughter. She was about the same age as Sarah’s girl. Bryant also testified in the Orlando trial this week, and said she looked on as Jonathan Adleta molested her daughter, and even took photos—you know, as a keepsake. They grow up so fast! She told jurors that Jonathan expressed fantasies about having a threesome—him, her daughter, and his daughter, and asked her to write the stories down. Kinky! A healthy fantasy life can really help a relationship. She also was a good sport when he asked her to perform sex acts on her own daughter.
In December of last year, Jonathan’s dream came true! Bryant and her two children spent Christmas in Oklahoma with Jonathan and Sarah Adleta and their two children. Christmas is magical for kids. Sarah Adleta told jurors that part of the festivities included her watching as her former husband sexually abused their daughter in his bedroom. The little girl was obviously out of practice, and was frightened and upset, crying for help. Sarah just watched, but she was upset too. Concerned, Jonathan helpfully suggested that his former wife should find another man to abuse their daughter in Florida so she would stay comfortable with the sex acts, and wouldn’t “freak out” when Daddy was home. OK, everybody into the car! We’re going to the mall to see Santa!
At least Sarah was keeping in shape: she was communicating with a North Carolina man named Aaron Dixon ( he was later arrested on child-sex charges in an unrelated case), and she performed sex acts on her children while Dixon watched via Skype. The last time the estranged Adletas spoke together, they discussed Sarah taking their daughter to Dixon so he could finally rape the little girl for real. It’s really nice that they remained friends after the divorce, don’t you think? For the sake of the children.
These creatures from a pervert’s nightmares were arrested in March. Sarah Adleta pleaded guilty in May to two charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. She faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison and will be sentenced next month. On Thursday of last week, jurors found Jonathan Adleta guilty of two child-sex charges. He faces 10 years to life in prison. Personally, I think they should both be ripped to pieces by a rabid dog pack on pay-per-view, but I’m not thinking clearly right now.
I’m back from my shower and want to know:
1. How many people like this are there in this country? If they can find each other as easily as the story suggests, it must be a lot. How can this be?
2. Is our culture so weak that it cannot convey the minimum level of ethics and decency that would minimize the existence of such diseased monsters? Apparently so.
3. Have there always been people like this living among us? Are there more of them than there once were? If so, what are we doing wrong?
4. Despite all the advances in feminism and woman’s rights, so many women are still so desperate for a husband or lover that they will permit their own children to be sexually abused. What messages aren’t getting through, and why?
5. Is it possible that nobody knew about how deranged and dangerous the Adletas were? Family members? Dates? Teachers? Acquaintances? And if they did, what avenues does our society provide to stop such predators before they subject children to pure evil like this?
What is the matter with the United States, that this, any of this, could happen?
Facts and Graphic: Orlando Sentinel