A Pekin man left behind six victims when he went to prison last April – the two daughters he sexually assaulted, their two brothers, another sister and their mother.
The crimes John (not his real name) committed left scars the family is trying to heal through counseling.
He also left them with no family income. By next Monday, they may be evicted from their home.
Their landlord has told Delores (her name is also changed to protect the family’s identity) they must leave that day if he doesn’t receive three months of back rent she owes, said Delores on Monday. He wants $2,700.
“I talked to him,” Delores said. “He said, ‘We’ll have to ask you to leave. You’ve left us no choice.’ As of now, I have until the Monday after Thanksgiving to pay it all.”
Two friends have set up an account with GoFundMe, an online donation service, that they hope will attract enough funds to keep Delores, 33, and her kids, ages 3 to 13, in their home. A link to the website appears below.
By January, she should have enough income flow to cover her $900 monthly rent. Until then, “Anything will help,” Delores said.
Her story would be similar to that of other families who unexpectedly lost their sole income provider. “I feel sorry for anyone who has to go through this,” she said.
John, however, left his family with a tragic stigma as well as financial woes when he was sentenced to 19 years in prison. The latter began when he was removed from them by court order in September 2016, to be charged several months later.
Since then, “I’ve sold so much of my stuff” and used other scant funds to cover the family’s bills. She receives public aid but not enough to make her rent.
“I haven’t been able to pay it for six months,” she said. Her landlord, who lives elsewhere in Illinois, “has been real lenient with me this whole time,” but he has his own family and bills to pay, Delores said.
She sits seventh on the Pekin Housing Authority’s waiting list for a four-room apartment – required for her five children by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Delores said – “but I’ve been there for a year.
“I’ve come to many forks in the road, that’s for sure,” she said with a chuckle.
Delores was a stay-at-home mom through most of her nine-year marriage to John. With five kids, that was a full-time job.
Last month, after finding friends who could provide day care and drive her children to their counseling sessions, she finally found a job with part-time hours at a local fast-food restaurant. She’s hoping to add night hours somewhere else. “I’m not picky” she said.
She expects to go full-time at the restaurant in January. That would take her off state financial assistance but also would free up the full $735 in child support from the father of her oldest child, from which the state deducts while she’s on aid.
She’ll then be able to make the rent if everything goes as she hopes, Delores said.
This week, however, she’s taking boxes home from her job so she can pack and store belongings, and she’s calling friends that she hopes will take her family in.
“No one wants to say ‘yes,’ no one wants to say ‘no,’” Delores said. “It’s a lot of people to take into your house.”
On Thanksgiving, “We’ll have dinner with my dad, then we’ll go home to pack.”
Donations to help Delores can be made by visiting www.gofundme.com/help-family-about-to-loose-house.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin.