Letter: Amish School Shooting Suspect Dreamed of Molesting Children

11:37 AM, Oct 3, 2006   |    comments
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QUARRYVILLE, Pa. (AP) - Police say the man who shot several children at an Amish school told his wife he had molested young family members 20 years ago. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, Charles Roberts wrote in a suicide note that he was having dreams of molesting again. But police say they've interviewed Roberts' wife and parents, none of whom know of any molestation. Police also say they can't confirm that there ever was such an incident, and can't confirm a police report was ever made. That news comes just hours after two more Amish learned their little girls died. One girl died at a hospital in Delaware. A seven-year-old girl died at a hospital in Hershey, Pennsylvania, after being taken off life support. Five other children remain hospitalized. Roberts wasn't Amish and he had no known connection to the school where three girls were slain. Police say the father of three had a daughter who died as an infant about three years ago. Suicide notes and phone calls reveal that Roberts was "angry at life" and "angry at God." And he says co-workers talked about how Roberts' mood was dark for days, and then switched "as if a weight had been lifted." A statement from the gunman's wife calls Roberts a "loving, supportive and thoughtful" father. Marie Roberts says her family is grieving for "the innocence and lives that were lost." Authorities say Roberts was a milk-truck driver from a nearby town who had just dropped his own children at a bus stop. And they say he picked his target, not because it was Amish, but because it was close, there were girls there, and the schoolhouse had little or no security. Officials say Roberts left several rambling suicide-like notes to his family. And he used his cell phone to tell his wife he was getting even for a long-ago offense -- before he shot his victims and turned a weapon on himself. Police say Roberts sent the male students outside while keeping young girls inside and blocking the doors. Police say that as they arrived and tried to negotiate with the shooter, he opened fire -- killing three girls, and then taking his own life. They say seven other students, some with very serious injuries, were taken to hospitals. The school is located among farmlands outside a tiny village about 60 miles west of Philadelphia.

Associated Press

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