“I don’t think it’s explicit enough,” the prosecutor told me.
I stared back blankly as another federal agent read the undercover text transcript aloud stating – verbatim – the sexually explicit things this 40-something year old man wanted to do to a 13 year old girl. The suspect knew the girl’s age and clearly wasn’t going to travel across town at 10 pm on a Saturday night to play pattycake with her. I didn’t want to approve the arrest until our lawyer was comfortable, so I pulled out the legal statute and started reading line-by-line.
Me: “ ‘Suspect is over the age of 18.’ Does this suspect meet the legal criteria?”
Me: “ ‘Suspect is talking to someone under the age of 16.’ Does this meet the legal criteria?”
Lawyer: “Yes.” [NOTE: the police officer chatting with the suspect had disclosed the fact that they were 13 years old MULTIPLE times.]
I’m not going to spell out what this guy wanted to do to the 13 year old, but it was disgusting (and I’ve seen a lot). The prosecutor's deep sigh masked his frustration with me reading him the legal statute he was intimately familiar with. I was praying that I wasn’t coming off as condescending, but we had minutes to get legal approval before this suspect blew us off and went after another real live victim.
Lawyer: “He doesn’t talk about penetration.”
Me: “But he talks about bringing condoms – isn’t that enough of an implication that penetration is intended?”
Lawyer: “I guess.”
He finally, very reluctantly agreed it was a very viable legal case, and I ordered the undercover chatter to let the suspect know where they could meet for their rendezvous…with the cops *heh heh heh*
After we wrapped for the day, another agent and I were processing the event. The prosecutor ended up throwing – what can only be described as – a hissy fit after our exchange, got his stuff, and went home early.
What. The. Hell?
Looking back, I see what happened. It was an exaggerated version of what I see every day: the prosecutor knew exactly what he was supposed to do. We had successfully done this process 22 other times. The methods we used had resulted in an astounding 100% conviction or plea deal rate, AND HE KNEW IT. I was handing him a win on a silver platter, but some deep rooted fear had gotten a hold of him so much so that it caused a grown man probably 10 years my senior to go running for the hills.
I see high-performing women do the same thing all the time. God has called them to more. He has equipped them for more (and they know it!). They understand exactly what that impact is supposed to be. But some deep-rooted fear is holding them back from taking that one tiny step of obedience towards that massive impact on the world they know they were built to make.
So as we prepare to enter into the advent season, let me ask you: have you accomplished everything this year God called you to accomplish? Did you seize the incredible opportunities God put in front of you?
God promised that:
You have been fully equipped (law school, 20+ years experience in trials)
You are already victorious (silver platter case IN YO’ FACE!)
He has already made a way for you (did it 22 other times, bud)
We ended up arresting the guy that night, and we got the most apologetic email ever the next day from our prosecutor friend. He had been overwhelmed feeling like our method was too-good-to-be-true…
…just like we Christians sometimes feel like we cannot connect the truth that God is who He says He really is with our fickle emotions and doubt. Because if we did believe the truth, we’d act like it.
Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or DM me if you want to talk through it. Because time is a precious commodity that you cannot get back. I can coach and encourage the hell out of whatever your facing, but you’ve got to be the one that says “yes” to yourself and God first. And I promise -- all it takes is as having a mustard seed-sized faith and taking one tiny step of obedience. God will bring the resources to push you along.
Are you ready to take the first step?
Photo credit: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” - 1989, Paramount Pictures