Minnesota elementary school teacher Aric Babbitt and his husband Matt Deyo explained in the suicide note that they sent to their families briefly before their bodies were found that they didn't think they had done any harm.
But the eight boys whom the pair “groomed” and sexually abused might say differently.
Babbitt, a teacher at Lincoln Elementary School in South St. Paul, and Deyo, an alleged “computer genius,” committed a murder-suicide earlier this year after an investigation brought forward eight boys who claimed that the two had molested them.
According to police, they committed elaborate schemes of manipulation, molestation, and secret recordings of the underage boys—and it had been going on for a long time.
Police launched an investigation on August 16th after the first victim went to the police, telling them he'd been abused at a hotel in Minneapolis and at Babbitt’s family cabin.
Soon enough, more victims came forward with similar stories of receiving expensive gifts or being taken on trips on which they were plied with alcohol and marijuana and then touched or asked to strip nude.
Speaking to ABC-5, nationally recognized child sex abuse prevention expert Cordelia Anderson said that the details of the victims' accounts show a systematic attempt to “groom” the boys for sexual abuse:
"It’s all very seductive... [alcohol and drugs are] a very common part of grooming. It sounds like (Babbitt and Deyo) were deep into it and very bold, and had developed strategies over the years that they were doing this.
I think a very important piece of that is that there is so much grooming now done via technology."
The technology she's referring to includes messaging apps like Tumblr and Snapchat and double encrypted networks made to protect pornographic videos and photographs, often of underage boys, from discovery.
Police say Deyo even managed to hack into one boy's cell phone and engage their “Find my Friends” app so that they could track his location.
What's more, a search of the couple’s home revealed a hidden camera disguised as an alarm clock which had been used to secretly record victims as they showered.
But one of the most disturbing parts of the horrific affair is what Babbitt and Deyo wrote in their suicide note.
In the note, Babbitt and Deyo wrote that details from the investigation would be made public and that they'd be portrayed as monsters, but that they “did not believe they did any harm, nor did they intend any hurt.”
Authorities say that the note goes on to claim “that anyone involved with (Babbitt and Deyo) ‘was a willing participant…and actively pursuing access to us and our belongings.”
But Anderson says sex abusers usually try to justify what they've done:
"It helps to have that kind of thinking that 'Hey, this is your choice, this is what you wanted, we didn’t do any harm.'
I think we have to step back and say 'how does somebody keep doing this? How do they live with themselves?' They have to develop a lot of faulty thinking and a lot of excuses."
And while Babbitt and Deyo won't be able to hurt any more children, it's likely a cold comfort to the families of the victims, who may have wished for a different kind of justice for the pair.