BY: Julie Rogers
Most people have seen the meth project commercials on television. For one family, some of those commercials look similar to the reality they lived.
Former Police Officer and author, Rom Clem, tells the News Channel, "In L.A. It was a huge problem. I remember handling a case where a young 16-year-old girl was picked up at the bus depot, given drugs and they used her for three days until they killed her."
We found Ron Clem talking on a panel about human trafficking, prostitution, and drug use. He has experience from his years of work as an L.A. cop. But, 12 years ago he never thought it would directly impact his family, especially after they moved to Montana.
Ron says, "When I came here I really was naive and I really just believed this was just such a perfect place to raise kids that it would never happen and I dropped my guard just like a lot of people do and troubled consequences for our family."
The Clems moved to Whitefish in 1984 to raise their growing family. At 14, Ron's daughter Carren started school at Whitefish High.
Ron says, "Her first two weeks at Whitefish she met a girl on the bus that was a drug addict, a recruiter for a drug dealer in the Whitefish area. She allowed herself to join friends with this girl, cut school and go with her friend to this drug dealer's house. She was slipped a date rape drug called Rohypnol we found out later, and he raped her."
Carren says, "After that I just chose continually to make poor choices and use drugs and alcohol and it led me to meth and attempted suicide."
Most people don't picture Whitefish as a place with meth and prostitution, but this is where Carren says she left her home, spent her life's savings, and began to work as a prostitute to support her habit. It took years to come out on the other side of a drug addiction and prostitution. That's when Karen and Ron decided to tell their story in "Loss of Innocence."
Ron tells us, "We started writing our story, how it impacted each of us back and forth to each other. It was painful. I thought I knew everything about her and she thought she knew everything about me and we realized we knew very little."
Three books later, it still hurts to talk about what happened, but now as the mother of a young girl herself, Carren realizes how important her story is.
Carren says, "I think as a parent of a little girl and knowing what the statistics are and the chances are for her future, it is extremely terrifying and I guess in a way that helps to inspire me to continue the work that I do."