Reporter Once Plotted to Murder Man Who Raped Him at 7

PHOTO: David Holthouse
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David Holthouse said he had the murder meticulously planned. He bought a Beretta 9 mm with a silencer and had the serial number removed, then tested it in the Arizona desert. He said he stalked the intended victim's Colorado home and came within a hair's breadth of killing the man who brutally raped him as a 7-year-old.

"This wasn't just a revenge fantasy, though it's tempting to lie about it now," said Holthouse, now 41 and working as a documentary filmmaker and investigative reporter in Alaska. "If I had gone through with it, I most certainly would have been caught."

Instead, Holthouse said, he confronted his childhood assailant face-to face and found not the "bogeyman" who had haunted his psyche for 25 years but a "frightened, damaged man" begging for his forgiveness.

And were it not for a serendipitous discovery of that awful truth by his mother, Holthouse swears he, too, would have been a dead man.

Holthouse first went public with a story in 2004 in the weekly Denver Westword. Later, in 2011, he told about his ordeal on National Public Radio's "This American Life."

Now, the story of his sexual assault and the shame and venomous anger that followed has been adapted for the stage in "Stalking the Bogeyman," which is in production for a February 2014 opening Off Broadway.

"I just happened to be listening to a 'This American Life' podcast and I stopped in my tracks, kind of paralyzed," said writer and director Markus Potter ("A Perfect Future"), artistic director of NewYorkRep. "Immediately, I thought this story needs to be told. It needs to reach a wider audience."

Holthouse's story is a powerful one, as he describes in detail about "coming to grips with the killer inside of me."

He was in the second grade in Alaska when the attack occurred. The alleged rapist was 10 years older and a star high school football player, the son of his parents' close friends.

One night in 1978, Holthouse said, when the grownups were "drinking wine and playing board games," the 17-year-old whisked young David away to his room under the guise of teaching him some karate moves and closed the door.

"I didn't know what was going on, but I knew it was bad, so I started crying, and he told me to shut up and then started chasing me around the room, waving the sword," he wrote. "He put the blade to my throat and backed me into a corner, where I dropped into a crouch and cowered. Then, he told me to take off my pants.

"It wasn't Michael Jackson gently introducing my hand to his magical giraffe, and it wasn't anything like a Catholic priest masturbating an altar boy. I was seven, and it was violent, sick, pedophiliac rape. ... I no longer believed in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, but from that night on, I had no such doubts about the Bogeyman."

Out of fear and shame, Holthouse never spoke about it, though he claimed there were other attempts to abuse him.

"Part of it was I didn't really have a firm concept of what had happened," he told ABCNews.com. "Nobody ever talked to me about sex or rape. I don't think it was a function of the era. Most 7-year-olds don't know what rape is. I didn't have the words to apply to it. ... It was easier to keep quiet."

He wrote that he didn't want to upset his parents: "I didn't want their memories of my childhood tarnished with this scum."

Nearly half of all victims of sexual assault are under the age of 18, according to statistics from the Department of Justice. Of those, 10 percent are boys. Other studies have shown rates as high as one in six boys. An alarming 93 percent of them have been abused by someone they know -- a friend or family member.

"There is no standard reaction or response to sexual abuse," said Jennifer Marsh, vice president of victim services at the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. "It can range from anger to denial to a sense of hopelessness. Some of the time we see that anger projected inward.

"We hear folks every day who are angry and talk about hurting their perpetrators," she said. "Usually, it's more a figure of speech than a plan."

As a teen, Holthouse researched rape, learned about the "vicious cycle" of abuse and feared that he, too, might turn into pedophile.

"I felt like a werewolf had bitten me and it was only a matter of time before the full moon rose," he wrote.

He said that if those desires surfaced, he would kill himself and make it look like a mountaineering accident.

After college, Holthouse moved to Colorado, but the memory of the rape "festered." When his mother mentioned that the alleged rapist was also living in Denver with his wife and children, he imagined the man was continuing to assault children, perhaps even his own.

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