Clark Fredericks overcome childhood trauma to inspire others
Lafayette. Lafayette House to host fundraising event, featuring Fredericks on May 8, from 7-9 p.m.
While he was sitting in prison awaiting trial for the murder of the man who had abused him throughout his childhood, Clark Fredericks had a revelation.
“I’m going to be a motivational speaker,” Fredericks said to himself, despite his lifelong fear of public speaking. Within days, Fredericks was visited by a therapist who encouraged him to write a book about his experiences. He immediately picked up a pen and began recording his story by hand on notepads.
Today, completed manuscript in hand, Fredericks is making his way through the tri-state area as a motivational speaker, author and advocate for victims of sexual assault.
Fredericks spent 4 ½ years in Sussex County jail and New Jersey state prison after pleading guilty to second degree passion/provocation manslaughter in the death of retired corrections officer and scoutmaster Dennis Pegg, who reportedly molested Fredericks repeatedly for years. Fredericks was sentenced to five years in prison, the shortest sentence in New Jersey state history for murder.
Arrested in June 2012, Fredericks was given credit for the 3 ½ years he served in the Sussex County jail prior to his sentencing. He was released in January 2017.
“Before I got arrested, I was a completely broken man. There was not a single day where I woke up happy,” recalls Fredericks, who attempted to bury his anguish with heroin, cocaine and alcohol.
While in prison, Fredericks was visited regularly by fellow inmates and heroin addicts who revealed their own histories of childhood abuse. Fredericks slowly began to understand that he had a calling to help his fellow victims of sexual abuse.
“Something is compelling me to do this," he said. "I used to be deathly afraid of public speaking, and yet when I sat in my prison cell, something came over me. I’m not afraid to talk about any of it now, because talking about it releases the pain. I share my story everywhere I go, and you would not believe the responses I get.”
Fredericks is actively involved in a movement to change the Statute of Limitations in New Jersey which would allow victims of sexual abuse civil recourse. Starting conversations with the public about childhood sexual assault is part of his mission. To date, Fredericks has brought his story to a wide variety of venues, from the Sussex County jail to a Broadway stage.
The Lafayette House will host a fundraising event, “A Night of Hope, Healing & Inspiration with Clark Fredericks,” on Wednesday, May 8th, 7–9:00 p.m. Tickets for the event can be purchased at https://bit.ly/2D013ud. Proceeds will benefit DASI, Ginnie’s House and The Center for Prevention & Counseling.
The Lafayette House is located at 75 Route 15 in Lafayette Township.
“I came from the darkest place imaginable. I was suicidal and I went through life angry with God. Abuse kills your trust in people, and it kills your faith,” explains Fredericks. “Now I am a man of deep faith, belief and trust. I would be lost without prayer and my faith.”
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/clark.fredericks.9 or https://www.instagram.com/clarkfredericks/. Fredericks’ website, www.clarkfredericks.com will be live shortly.