Tom O’Sullivan would likely count himself among them.
His soul has died a thousand times over the past 38 years. His body, has kept going, reluctantly, agonizingly.
On a warm spring day 38 years ago, the British Columbia man’s life as he knew it was obliterated.
O’Sullivan and his buddy were playing at one of the innumerable housing projects being slammed up in Mississauga. Before electronics, that’s what we did.
On May 15, 1982, O’Sullivan met Gary McCorkell on the site.
McCorkell had been slated to swing from the end of the hangman’s rope on Feb. 6, 1963, but that didn’t happen. He did 17 years in the joint and then he was sprung.
Who thought this was a good idea?
The sex killer didn’t lose it on a buddy at a dive bar. No, he raped and murdered two toddlers in Toronto.
And he raped O’Sullivan. Just a kid. And then he raped another kid and another.
McCorkell was later busted for raping a boy from Chicago at a Tennessee park. He got 60 years in prison and left in a wooden box.
“He was never going to be extradited back to Canada, the U.S. knew we’d let him out,” O’Sullivan told the Toronto Sun.
Two of the markers on pedophiles is that they can’t be cured and their victims spend the rest of their lives valiantly trying to recover.
Meet Tom O’Sullivan. Survivor.
“McCorkell’s death was a trigger for me,” he said, adding at one time, his weight plunged to just 90 pounds.
PTSD and a catalogue of ailments, mental and physical, have haunted his life.
“He was never forced to take any responsibility. How do you go from Cell #1 on death row at the Don jail to being allowed out and raping children again?”
After his horrific encounter with McCorkell, O’Sullivan was never the same.
Suicidal thoughts plagued his every waking moment.
Six suicide attempts in total, the first at 12. He choked down 54 pills, falling asleep into what he hoped would be eternal slumber.
Graves’ Disease — a disorder that causes an overactive thyroid — followed. A ripple effect exploded beyond his own young, troubled life.
And from the government that sprung condemned killer Gary McCorkell who had a date with the hangman? Nothing.
“McCorkell raped and tried to kill us but even worse is the fight with the government to try and prove you’re sick. Where is their responsibility?” O’Sullivan said.
“There was never an apology. I was a normal little kid when it happened.”
Decades of shame and silence followed to the point he was eaten half alive and partially paralyzed.
Making matters worse are governments more concerned about pedophiles and killers than an innocent boy.
“They’ve robbed all these victims … he raped and tried to kill us. It was so traumatizing, all these years later I remember every minute of it,” O’Sullivan said.
“I have fought tooth and nail to get justice … where’s the responsibility? Where’s the apology? Almost everything is a trigger. Child molesters out in 18 months … how do they get released? They’ve fooled doctors and parole boards.”
He added: “They KNOW these guys are going to reoffend.”
Most parents — mine included — want their kids to come clean. To take responsibility.
To do what’s right.
In the circus known as the justice system, sorry does indeed seem to be hardest word.