Charles Dudrey: Addicted to Crime
By Audra Smith
The 700 Club
As children, Charles Dudrey and his siblings endured every form of abuse at the hands of their own father. One violent episode sent Charles to the Mayo Clinic. His father slammed Charles’s head against a wall, sending him into a seizure.
“The diagnosis for me was grim, and the doctors wanted to do a frontal lobotomy on me to scrape the scar tissue off my brain from the physical abuse," Charles tells The 700 Club. "But my mother said no.”
At the age of 11, Charles witnessed the unthinkable, his mother’s murder. He later discovered that his father contracted the killing to continue his affair with the family babysitter.
“One evening, as the babysitter and her brother came home from being out with their friends, one of the friends picked up a loaded pistol that was on a counter in our home.He pulled the trigger, struck my mother and the bullet lodged in her heart. She died six hours later.”
In the end, no one was convicted of the crime. Immediately after the murder, Charles’s father immediately moved the family from Minnestoa to Illinois.
The family babysitter became Charles’s new stepmother.
“When we arrived in Illinois, the abuse seemed to intensify. We were treated very cruelly. All of the food was locked in cabinets.You’re continuously in fear of being beat or having urine thrown in your food or being pushed down the stairs. Any kind of abuse you can imagine, we experienced.”
In the spring of 1970, Charles graduated high school and ran away. He channeled his pent up anger into a life of crime. He says, “I had no respect for authority whatsoever. I wasn’t going to be told what to do. I wasn’t going to have anybody put their hands on me.
I knew I had the power to defend myself and to do what it would take to never be abused or hit again. Anything I could to make money, to live fast, to be on the go, to rent cars, buy new clothes, to have some dope… anything to stay away from that authority, I did it. If I needed anything, I got it."
Charles was arrested for robbery and spent six years in prison. Yet he exited the prison doors even more addicted to crime.
“I liked the drama. I like prying safes open with a big pry bar or running a check scam or doing a burglary.”
After 30 years of crime, Charles was in Washington State running from the law. The stress of his lifestyle was beginning to take a toll. He began to unravel after an incident with his new dog.
“I happened to be giving the puppy a bath. He nipped my hand, and I slapped him. He nipped me again, I slapped him again, he started to whine and I started feeling guilty. It was just crazy. Of all the things I’d done, the assaults and the meaness in me, I’m feeling bad for hurting a dog?
“I found myself on a pier down along the river in our community, and I was down there bawling. I said, 'God, if You are available, if You really exist, I need You in my life right now. Jesus, if You are really true like they say on the television, then I need you now.
“All of the sudden, I just started to weep, and everything that was ugly in me started to come out. All of the abuse, all of the neglect, the pain that I had suffered in my life was just coming out. It was like within a matter of moments, all of the ugliness and pain was gone in my life and I just felt new! My life changed from that moment forward."
Charles completely gave up his life of crime and immediately started reading the Bible and going to church.
"I was sitting in front of the TV watching the Christian Broadcasting Network. I had my Bible in my hand. I was just jacked up on Jesus!
"I stood before the altar one evening before church. There was a guest speaker there, and he said, 'I have a prophesy for you. The Lord is going to restore to you what the worm and the cankerworm has devoured. He is going to restore to you the mean things your father did to you. God is going to erase that in your life.' The Lord has been faithful to the 'T' in every aspect. “
Today, Charles has the chance to be the loving father he never had. Charles and his wife Diana have three children and eight grandchildren.
“The things that are dearest to me in my life only came because Christ brought them into my life," he says. “I would say that no matter how deep the pain, no matter how strong the hurt, no matter how ugly it is, no matter what you have done, the Lord is standing now waiting to touch your heart and give you a new life and a relationship with Him.”
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