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Book tells of boy’s trauma in sex trade

When Kevin Kline started writing a journal to help him deal with some traumatic memories that had troubled him since childhood, he never expected those memories to become the basis of a book.

1633796+4-5-Faraway-book-cover.jpg
‘Faraway’ by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer was released on April 3 by Two Harbors Press.
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When Kevin Kline started writing a journal to help him deal with some traumatic memories that had troubled him since childhood, he never expected those memories to become the basis of a book. But this past week, “Faraway: A Suburban Boy’s Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking,” was released by Minneapolis-based Two Harbors Press. It will soon be available for sale at most area book outlets, including Book World in Detroit Lakes - where he will be doing a book signing on Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m. The publication of “Faraway” was the culmination of a difficult journey for Kline, who published the book under the pen name “R. K. Kline” along with co-author Daniel D. Maurer. “About three or so years ago, I was seeing a psychologist, dealing with what turned out to be the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome,” said Kline in a recent telephone interview from his home outside the Twin Cities. “I wasn’t sleeping well, having nightmares, drinking more than I should… when I went to see the doctor for a checkup he asked me why I was so sleep deprived,” Kline continued. “To get myself healthier, I started seeing a psychologist, and he diagnosed me with PTSD. I never really associated that (PTSD) with me, but it turned but he (the psychologist) was right on.” One of the things that psychologist asked Kline to do to help him get past those troubling memories was to write them down in a journal.
Eventually, Kline - who is now an ordained Lutheran pastor - decided to share that journal with Maurer, who was a good friend and former seminary classmate, and with Kline’s permission, Maurer showed it to one of their former seminary professors, Dr. Gwen Sayler. Sayler, in turn, invited Kline to speak to her students at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. After that experience, both she and Maurer encouraged Kline to make his story into a book. “At first I had no intention of ever publishing this,” Kline said. “It was just part of my therapy. I was fine talking about it at the seminary, but the idea of putting it into a book really made me uneasy. “The more I thought about it, however, I realized that the common narrative of underage prostitution is always about girls, never about boys. There have been studies done - there’s one by Dr. Ric Curtis and Dr. Anthony Marcus (who together wrote an afterword that is included as part of ‘Faraway’) that showed in Manhattan, Atlantic City and other cities in the east, nearly half of all underage prostitutes are boys - yet you never hear about them. “By telling my story, I was telling their story, and also the story of two good friends of mine I lost during that summer, Stevie and Squirrel. I wanted to get this story out and publish it so it would add to the narrative of boys who are being victimized - so their story would be out there too. That’s the main reason I did it.” In fact, Kline admitted, he still hates talking about that time in his life, though fortunately for him, it was relatively short in duration. “When I was 14, I had a friend whose name was Tim,” Kline said. “One day Tim introduced me to this guy named Ray, and to my eyes, a 14-year-old kid, Ray was a really cool guy. He seemed nice. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1633792","attributes":{"alt":"Daniel D. Maurer","class":"media-image","height":"250","title":"Daniel D. Maurer","width":"171"}}]] “I was just becoming aware of my same sex attraction, and he (Ray) was very attractive to me. He seemed to have a lot of interest in me, so I developed a relationship with this man.” Or so he thought. Unfortunately, Ray turned out to be not very nice at all. “I was being manipulated, I was being used,” Kline said. It wasn’t too long before Ray began introducing the naïve 14-year-old to other men -in effect, Ray became his pimp. And so this boy from the suburbs of St. Louis, Mo., was introduced to the world of sex trafficking. “He (Ray) would drop me off at a friend’s house, or at Tower Grove Park, where I would meet these two other boys, Stevie, who was 16, and Squirrel, who was about my age,” Kline said. “Stevie would look out for us and kept us out of trouble. Squirrel and I became really close during that summer. “I spent a lot of time going down to Tower Grove Park that summer, hanging out with those two whenever I could. They were two boys like me. They were gay. That’s how I expressed that side of me.” Being a teenager can be difficult for anyone, but for a gay teen, it’s even more so. “When you’re a straight kid growing up you have all kinds of role models - characters on TV and in books - and the dances at church and school are geared for straight kids,” he explained. The guidelines and boundaries for straight kids are clearly laid out, Kline said, but when you’re attracted to the same sex, “you don’t know how you’re supposed to act.” “If I wasn’t introduced to this man (Ray), then my life totally would have taken a different track,” Kline said. “The same with Stevie and Squirrel. I don’t believe any of us were there of our own volition… “If we’d had good role models, people who weren’t manipulating us, there’s no way we would have been down there doing that (soliciting sex). It’s something you have to be introduced to and manipulated into doing.” Part of that manipulation was a fear of being discovered. “Back in 1975, if you believed you were gay your assumption was that people wanted to hurt you - and many times, they did. If you were out, you could get beat up, hurt or even killed. It was not a safe world for people who were gay, and in many ways, it still isn’t.” Toward the end of that summer, Kevin and his friend Squirrel were coming back from an outdoor theater event at the park when Squirrel stepped out in front of a van and was hit. “That was the last time I saw him,” Kevin said. He later learned that Stevie, who was a heavy drinker, had died from exposure after passing out in the park one night in early September. About a week or so after Squirrel was hit by the car and died, Ray took Kevin out on a “date” with himself and another man, and told Kevin that they wanted to film him and this other boy having sex. “That was pretty much the last straw for me,” said Kline, so when Ray dropped him off at his house that night, “I told him if he ever tried to contact me again I’d tell on him.” Kline knew that he could be prosecuted as a minor and sent away to “juvie” (juvenile detention), but he no longer cared. “Squirrel was gone, which was pretty traumatic. Stevie, the last time I saw him, was passed out drunk and incoherent. He was the one who protected us,” Kline said. “If Stevie wasn’t with me, there was no way I was going down there (to the park). I’d be eaten alive. I was kind of small for my age.” Kline also noted that by this time, “I was getting terrified of Ray. He was really scary. I told him if he contacted me again, I’d rat him out, and a week later he had three older boys basically assault me in a park near where I lived.” And then, something unusual happened. “Guys like that don’t usually give up so easily, but I never heard from him (Ray) again. Which is puzzling to me, but at the same time, I’m grateful.” After that, Kline said, “I was able to hide in suburbia and pretend to be a normal kid. I had a pretty stable home there in St. Louis County. I was able to hide this from my folks and my family.” Unfortunately, however, that summer had left its mark on him. “In my teen years I drank a lot. I once tried to commit suicide, when I was 16, but luckily I was too drunk to do it right. That kind of shocked me, and I haven’t tried anything like that since.” Over time, Kline was largely able to convince himself that summer had never happened. “The nightmares became less and less, and I got on with my life. I seemed to be pretty happy. I ended up in seminary and became a pastor.” He even adopted a son, named Scott, when he was 16 years old.  But after being assigned to a parish in Hawaii, “for some reason, all this stuff started coming back to me,” Kline said. “At that point I was old enough, and mature enough, to know I had to do something about it. I was lucky enough to find a good psychologist.” In September, Kline left his position in Honolulu - where his son Scott still lives and is a successful business owner - and is currently “on leave from call” and concentrating on promoting the new book. “I’m a pretty private, introverted person,” Kline said. “I don’t mind talking about (the past) from time to time, but it’s never easy. Nobody wants these things in their heads, but I know it needs to be done. “There are kids out there now who are dealing with this crap and they’re being overlooked by social services, law enforcement, everyone,” he continued. “Their story needs to be told; they need to be told that doesn’t have to define who they are, and things can actually get better for them. “What people are doing to them doesn’t define who they are, just as what happened to me back in 1975 doesn’t define who I am. It’s something that was done to me.” For more information on Kevin Kline, Daniel Maurer and the book “Faraway,” please visit the author’s website at www.farawaybook.com, where signed copies of the book may also be requested. Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes. Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhen Kevin Kline started writing a journal to help him deal with some traumatic memories that had troubled him since childhood, he never expected those memories to become the basis of a book. But this past week, “Faraway: A Suburban Boy’s Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking,” was released by Minneapolis-based Two Harbors Press. It will soon be available for sale at most area book outlets, including Book World in Detroit Lakes - where he will be doing a book signing on Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m. The publication of “Faraway” was the culmination of a difficult journey for Kline, who published the book under the pen name “R. K. Kline” along with co-author Daniel D. Maurer. “About three or so years ago, I was seeing a psychologist, dealing with what turned out to be the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome,” said Kline in a recent telephone interview from his home outside the Twin Cities. “I wasn’t sleeping well, having nightmares, drinking more than I should… when I went to see the doctor for a checkup he asked me why I was so sleep deprived,” Kline continued. “To get myself healthier, I started seeing a psychologist, and he diagnosed me with PTSD. I never really associated that (PTSD) with me, but it turned but he (the psychologist) was right on.” One of the things that psychologist asked Kline to do to help him get past those troubling memories was to write them down in a journal. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1633791","attributes":{"alt":"Kevin Kline","class":"media-image","height":"300","title":"Kevin Kline","width":"205"}}]] Eventually, Kline - who is now an ordained Lutheran pastor - decided to share that journal with Maurer, who was a good friend and former seminary classmate, and with Kline’s permission, Maurer showed it to one of their former seminary professors, Dr. Gwen Sayler. Sayler, in turn, invited Kline to speak to her students at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. After that experience, both she and Maurer encouraged Kline to make his story into a book. “At first I had no intention of ever publishing this,” Kline said. “It was just part of my therapy. I was fine talking about it at the seminary, but the idea of putting it into a book really made me uneasy. “The more I thought about it, however, I realized that the common narrative of underage prostitution is always about girls, never about boys. There have been studies done - there’s one by Dr. Ric Curtis and Dr. Anthony Marcus (who together wrote an afterword that is included as part of ‘Faraway’) that showed in Manhattan, Atlantic City and other cities in the east, nearly half of all underage prostitutes are boys - yet you never hear about them. “By telling my story, I was telling their story, and also the story of two good friends of mine I lost during that summer, Stevie and Squirrel. I wanted to get this story out and publish it so it would add to the narrative of boys who are being victimized - so their story would be out there too. That’s the main reason I did it.” In fact, Kline admitted, he still hates talking about that time in his life, though fortunately for him, it was relatively short in duration. “When I was 14, I had a friend whose name was Tim,” Kline said. “One day Tim introduced me to this guy named Ray, and to my eyes, a 14-year-old kid, Ray was a really cool guy. He seemed nice.
“I was just becoming aware of my same sex attraction, and he (Ray) was very attractive to me. He seemed to have a lot of interest in me, so I developed a relationship with this man.” Or so he thought. Unfortunately, Ray turned out to be not very nice at all. “I was being manipulated, I was being used,” Kline said. It wasn’t too long before Ray began introducing the naïve 14-year-old to other men -in effect, Ray became his pimp. And so this boy from the suburbs of St. Louis, Mo., was introduced to the world of sex trafficking. “He (Ray) would drop me off at a friend’s house, or at Tower Grove Park, where I would meet these two other boys, Stevie, who was 16, and Squirrel, who was about my age,” Kline said. “Stevie would look out for us and kept us out of trouble. Squirrel and I became really close during that summer. “I spent a lot of time going down to Tower Grove Park that summer, hanging out with those two whenever I could. They were two boys like me. They were gay. That’s how I expressed that side of me.” Being a teenager can be difficult for anyone, but for a gay teen, it’s even more so. “When you’re a straight kid growing up you have all kinds of role models - characters on TV and in books - and the dances at church and school are geared for straight kids,” he explained. The guidelines and boundaries for straight kids are clearly laid out, Kline said, but when you’re attracted to the same sex, “you don’t know how you’re supposed to act.” “If I wasn’t introduced to this man (Ray), then my life totally would have taken a different track,” Kline said. “The same with Stevie and Squirrel. I don’t believe any of us were there of our own volition… “If we’d had good role models, people who weren’t manipulating us, there’s no way we would have been down there doing that (soliciting sex). It’s something you have to be introduced to and manipulated into doing.” Part of that manipulation was a fear of being discovered. “Back in 1975, if you believed you were gay your assumption was that people wanted to hurt you - and many times, they did. If you were out, you could get beat up, hurt or even killed. It was not a safe world for people who were gay, and in many ways, it still isn’t.” Toward the end of that summer, Kevin and his friend Squirrel were coming back from an outdoor theater event at the park when Squirrel stepped out in front of a van and was hit. “That was the last time I saw him,” Kevin said. He later learned that Stevie, who was a heavy drinker, had died from exposure after passing out in the park one night in early September. About a week or so after Squirrel was hit by the car and died, Ray took Kevin out on a “date” with himself and another man, and told Kevin that they wanted to film him and this other boy having sex. “That was pretty much the last straw for me,” said Kline, so when Ray dropped him off at his house that night, “I told him if he ever tried to contact me again I’d tell on him.” Kline knew that he could be prosecuted as a minor and sent away to “juvie” (juvenile detention), but he no longer cared. “Squirrel was gone, which was pretty traumatic. Stevie, the last time I saw him, was passed out drunk and incoherent. He was the one who protected us,” Kline said. “If Stevie wasn’t with me, there was no way I was going down there (to the park). I’d be eaten alive. I was kind of small for my age.” Kline also noted that by this time, “I was getting terrified of Ray. He was really scary. I told him if he contacted me again, I’d rat him out, and a week later he had three older boys basically assault me in a park near where I lived.” And then, something unusual happened. “Guys like that don’t usually give up so easily, but I never heard from him (Ray) again. Which is puzzling to me, but at the same time, I’m grateful.” After that, Kline said, “I was able to hide in suburbia and pretend to be a normal kid. I had a pretty stable home there in St. Louis County. I was able to hide this from my folks and my family.” Unfortunately, however, that summer had left its mark on him. “In my teen years I drank a lot. I once tried to commit suicide, when I was 16, but luckily I was too drunk to do it right. That kind of shocked me, and I haven’t tried anything like that since.” Over time, Kline was largely able to convince himself that summer had never happened. “The nightmares became less and less, and I got on with my life. I seemed to be pretty happy. I ended up in seminary and became a pastor.” He even adopted a son, named Scott, when he was 16 years old.  But after being assigned to a parish in Hawaii, “for some reason, all this stuff started coming back to me,” Kline said. “At that point I was old enough, and mature enough, to know I had to do something about it. I was lucky enough to find a good psychologist.” In September, Kline left his position in Honolulu - where his son Scott still lives and is a successful business owner - and is currently “on leave from call” and concentrating on promoting the new book. “I’m a pretty private, introverted person,” Kline said. “I don’t mind talking about (the past) from time to time, but it’s never easy. Nobody wants these things in their heads, but I know it needs to be done. “There are kids out there now who are dealing with this crap and they’re being overlooked by social services, law enforcement, everyone,” he continued. “Their story needs to be told; they need to be told that doesn’t have to define who they are, and things can actually get better for them. “What people are doing to them doesn’t define who they are, just as what happened to me back in 1975 doesn’t define who I am. It’s something that was done to me.” For more information on Kevin Kline, Daniel Maurer and the book “Faraway,” please visit the author’s website at www.farawaybook.com, where signed copies of the book may also be requested. Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes. Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhen Kevin Kline started writing a journal to help him deal with some traumatic memories that had troubled him since childhood, he never expected those memories to become the basis of a book.But this past week, “Faraway: A Suburban Boy’s Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking,” was released by Minneapolis-based Two Harbors Press. It will soon be available for sale at most area book outlets, including Book World in Detroit Lakes - where he will be doing a book signing on Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m.The publication of “Faraway” was the culmination of a difficult journey for Kline, who published the book under the pen name “R. K. Kline” along with co-author Daniel D. Maurer.“About three or so years ago, I was seeing a psychologist, dealing with what turned out to be the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome,” said Kline in a recent telephone interview from his home outside the Twin Cities.“I wasn’t sleeping well, having nightmares, drinking more than I should… when I went to see the doctor for a checkup he asked me why I was so sleep deprived,” Kline continued.“To get myself healthier, I started seeing a psychologist, and he diagnosed me with PTSD. I never really associated that (PTSD) with me, but it turned but he (the psychologist) was right on.”One of the things that psychologist asked Kline to do to help him get past those troubling memories was to write them down in a journal.
Eventually, Kline - who is now an ordained Lutheran pastor - decided to share that journal with Maurer, who was a good friend and former seminary classmate, and with Kline’s permission, Maurer showed it to one of their former seminary professors, Dr. Gwen Sayler.Sayler, in turn, invited Kline to speak to her students at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. After that experience, both she and Maurer encouraged Kline to make his story into a book.“At first I had no intention of ever publishing this,” Kline said. “It was just part of my therapy. I was fine talking about it at the seminary, but the idea of putting it into a book really made me uneasy.“The more I thought about it, however, I realized that the common narrative of underage prostitution is always about girls, never about boys. There have been studies done - there’s one by Dr. Ric Curtis and Dr. Anthony Marcus (who together wrote an afterword that is included as part of ‘Faraway’) that showed in Manhattan, Atlantic City and other cities in the east, nearly half of all underage prostitutes are boys - yet you never hear about them.“By telling my story, I was telling their story, and also the story of two good friends of mine I lost during that summer, Stevie and Squirrel. I wanted to get this story out and publish it so it would add to the narrative of boys who are being victimized - so their story would be out there too. That’s the main reason I did it.”In fact, Kline admitted, he still hates talking about that time in his life, though fortunately for him, it was relatively short in duration.“When I was 14, I had a friend whose name was Tim,” Kline said. “One day Tim introduced me to this guy named Ray, and to my eyes, a 14-year-old kid, Ray was a really cool guy. He seemed nice.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1633792","attributes":{"alt":"Daniel D. Maurer","class":"media-image","height":"250","title":"Daniel D. Maurer","width":"171"}}]]“I was just becoming aware of my same sex attraction, and he (Ray) was very attractive to me. He seemed to have a lot of interest in me, so I developed a relationship with this man.”Or so he thought. Unfortunately, Ray turned out to be not very nice at all. “I was being manipulated, I was being used,” Kline said.It wasn’t too long before Ray began introducing the naïve 14-year-old to other men -in effect, Ray became his pimp.And so this boy from the suburbs of St. Louis, Mo., was introduced to the world of sex trafficking.“He (Ray) would drop me off at a friend’s house, or at Tower Grove Park, where I would meet these two other boys, Stevie, who was 16, and Squirrel, who was about my age,” Kline said. “Stevie would look out for us and kept us out of trouble. Squirrel and I became really close during that summer.“I spent a lot of time going down to Tower Grove Park that summer, hanging out with those two whenever I could. They were two boys like me. They were gay. That’s how I expressed that side of me.”Being a teenager can be difficult for anyone, but for a gay teen, it’s even more so.“When you’re a straight kid growing up you have all kinds of role models - characters on TV and in books - and the dances at church and school are geared for straight kids,” he explained.The guidelines and boundaries for straight kids are clearly laid out, Kline said, but when you’re attracted to the same sex, “you don’t know how you’re supposed to act.”“If I wasn’t introduced to this man (Ray), then my life totally would have taken a different track,” Kline said. “The same with Stevie and Squirrel. I don’t believe any of us were there of our own volition…“If we’d had good role models, people who weren’t manipulating us, there’s no way we would have been down there doing that (soliciting sex). It’s something you have to be introduced to and manipulated into doing.”Part of that manipulation was a fear of being discovered. “Back in 1975, if you believed you were gay your assumption was that people wanted to hurt you - and many times, they did. If you were out, you could get beat up, hurt or even killed. It was not a safe world for people who were gay, and in many ways, it still isn’t.”Toward the end of that summer, Kevin and his friend Squirrel were coming back from an outdoor theater event at the park when Squirrel stepped out in front of a van and was hit.“That was the last time I saw him,” Kevin said. He later learned that Stevie, who was a heavy drinker, had died from exposure after passing out in the park one night in early September.About a week or so after Squirrel was hit by the car and died, Ray took Kevin out on a “date” with himself and another man, and told Kevin that they wanted to film him and this other boy having sex.“That was pretty much the last straw for me,” said Kline, so when Ray dropped him off at his house that night, “I told him if he ever tried to contact me again I’d tell on him.”Kline knew that he could be prosecuted as a minor and sent away to “juvie” (juvenile detention), but he no longer cared.“Squirrel was gone, which was pretty traumatic. Stevie, the last time I saw him, was passed out drunk and incoherent. He was the one who protected us,” Kline said. “If Stevie wasn’t with me, there was no way I was going down there (to the park). I’d be eaten alive. I was kind of small for my age.”Kline also noted that by this time, “I was getting terrified of Ray. He was really scary. I told him if he contacted me again, I’d rat him out, and a week later he had three older boys basically assault me in a park near where I lived.”And then, something unusual happened. “Guys like that don’t usually give up so easily, but I never heard from him (Ray) again. Which is puzzling to me, but at the same time, I’m grateful.”After that, Kline said, “I was able to hide in suburbia and pretend to be a normal kid. I had a pretty stable home there in St. Louis County. I was able to hide this from my folks and my family.”Unfortunately, however, that summer had left its mark on him. “In my teen years I drank a lot. I once tried to commit suicide, when I was 16, but luckily I was too drunk to do it right. That kind of shocked me, and I haven’t tried anything like that since.”Over time, Kline was largely able to convince himself that summer had never happened. “The nightmares became less and less, and I got on with my life. I seemed to be pretty happy. I ended up in seminary and became a pastor.”He even adopted a son, named Scott, when he was 16 years old.  But after being assigned to a parish in Hawaii, “for some reason, all this stuff started coming back to me,” Kline said.“At that point I was old enough, and mature enough, to know I had to do something about it. I was lucky enough to find a good psychologist.”In September, Kline left his position in Honolulu - where his son Scott still lives and is a successful business owner - and is currently “on leave from call” and concentrating on promoting the new book.“I’m a pretty private, introverted person,” Kline said. “I don’t mind talking about (the past) from time to time, but it’s never easy. Nobody wants these things in their heads, but I know it needs to be done.“There are kids out there now who are dealing with this crap and they’re being overlooked by social services, law enforcement, everyone,” he continued. “Their story needs to be told; they need to be told that doesn’t have to define who they are, and things can actually get better for them.“What people are doing to them doesn’t define who they are, just as what happened to me back in 1975 doesn’t define who I am. It’s something that was done to me.”For more information on Kevin Kline, Daniel Maurer and the book “Faraway,” please visit the author’s website at www.farawaybook.com, where signed copies of the book may also be requested.Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Tweets by @DLNewspapersWhen Kevin Kline started writing a journal to help him deal with some traumatic memories that had troubled him since childhood, he never expected those memories to become the basis of a book.But this past week, “Faraway: A Suburban Boy’s Story as a Victim of Sex Trafficking,” was released by Minneapolis-based Two Harbors Press. It will soon be available for sale at most area book outlets, including Book World in Detroit Lakes - where he will be doing a book signing on Saturday, April 25 at 1 p.m.The publication of “Faraway” was the culmination of a difficult journey for Kline, who published the book under the pen name “R. K. Kline” along with co-author Daniel D. Maurer.“About three or so years ago, I was seeing a psychologist, dealing with what turned out to be the symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome,” said Kline in a recent telephone interview from his home outside the Twin Cities.“I wasn’t sleeping well, having nightmares, drinking more than I should… when I went to see the doctor for a checkup he asked me why I was so sleep deprived,” Kline continued.“To get myself healthier, I started seeing a psychologist, and he diagnosed me with PTSD. I never really associated that (PTSD) with me, but it turned but he (the psychologist) was right on.”One of the things that psychologist asked Kline to do to help him get past those troubling memories was to write them down in a journal.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"1633791","attributes":{"alt":"Kevin Kline","class":"media-image","height":"300","title":"Kevin Kline","width":"205"}}]]Eventually, Kline - who is now an ordained Lutheran pastor - decided to share that journal with Maurer, who was a good friend and former seminary classmate, and with Kline’s permission, Maurer showed it to one of their former seminary professors, Dr. Gwen Sayler.Sayler, in turn, invited Kline to speak to her students at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. After that experience, both she and Maurer encouraged Kline to make his story into a book.“At first I had no intention of ever publishing this,” Kline said. “It was just part of my therapy. I was fine talking about it at the seminary, but the idea of putting it into a book really made me uneasy.“The more I thought about it, however, I realized that the common narrative of underage prostitution is always about girls, never about boys. There have been studies done - there’s one by Dr. Ric Curtis and Dr. Anthony Marcus (who together wrote an afterword that is included as part of ‘Faraway’) that showed in Manhattan, Atlantic City and other cities in the east, nearly half of all underage prostitutes are boys - yet you never hear about them.“By telling my story, I was telling their story, and also the story of two good friends of mine I lost during that summer, Stevie and Squirrel. I wanted to get this story out and publish it so it would add to the narrative of boys who are being victimized - so their story would be out there too. That’s the main reason I did it.”In fact, Kline admitted, he still hates talking about that time in his life, though fortunately for him, it was relatively short in duration.“When I was 14, I had a friend whose name was Tim,” Kline said. “One day Tim introduced me to this guy named Ray, and to my eyes, a 14-year-old kid, Ray was a really cool guy. He seemed nice.
“I was just becoming aware of my same sex attraction, and he (Ray) was very attractive to me. He seemed to have a lot of interest in me, so I developed a relationship with this man.”Or so he thought. Unfortunately, Ray turned out to be not very nice at all. “I was being manipulated, I was being used,” Kline said.It wasn’t too long before Ray began introducing the naïve 14-year-old to other men -in effect, Ray became his pimp.And so this boy from the suburbs of St. Louis, Mo., was introduced to the world of sex trafficking.“He (Ray) would drop me off at a friend’s house, or at Tower Grove Park, where I would meet these two other boys, Stevie, who was 16, and Squirrel, who was about my age,” Kline said. “Stevie would look out for us and kept us out of trouble. Squirrel and I became really close during that summer.“I spent a lot of time going down to Tower Grove Park that summer, hanging out with those two whenever I could. They were two boys like me. They were gay. That’s how I expressed that side of me.”Being a teenager can be difficult for anyone, but for a gay teen, it’s even more so.“When you’re a straight kid growing up you have all kinds of role models - characters on TV and in books - and the dances at church and school are geared for straight kids,” he explained.The guidelines and boundaries for straight kids are clearly laid out, Kline said, but when you’re attracted to the same sex, “you don’t know how you’re supposed to act.”“If I wasn’t introduced to this man (Ray), then my life totally would have taken a different track,” Kline said. “The same with Stevie and Squirrel. I don’t believe any of us were there of our own volition…“If we’d had good role models, people who weren’t manipulating us, there’s no way we would have been down there doing that (soliciting sex). It’s something you have to be introduced to and manipulated into doing.”Part of that manipulation was a fear of being discovered. “Back in 1975, if you believed you were gay your assumption was that people wanted to hurt you - and many times, they did. If you were out, you could get beat up, hurt or even killed. It was not a safe world for people who were gay, and in many ways, it still isn’t.”Toward the end of that summer, Kevin and his friend Squirrel were coming back from an outdoor theater event at the park when Squirrel stepped out in front of a van and was hit.“That was the last time I saw him,” Kevin said. He later learned that Stevie, who was a heavy drinker, had died from exposure after passing out in the park one night in early September.About a week or so after Squirrel was hit by the car and died, Ray took Kevin out on a “date” with himself and another man, and told Kevin that they wanted to film him and this other boy having sex.“That was pretty much the last straw for me,” said Kline, so when Ray dropped him off at his house that night, “I told him if he ever tried to contact me again I’d tell on him.”Kline knew that he could be prosecuted as a minor and sent away to “juvie” (juvenile detention), but he no longer cared.“Squirrel was gone, which was pretty traumatic. Stevie, the last time I saw him, was passed out drunk and incoherent. He was the one who protected us,” Kline said. “If Stevie wasn’t with me, there was no way I was going down there (to the park). I’d be eaten alive. I was kind of small for my age.”Kline also noted that by this time, “I was getting terrified of Ray. He was really scary. I told him if he contacted me again, I’d rat him out, and a week later he had three older boys basically assault me in a park near where I lived.”And then, something unusual happened. “Guys like that don’t usually give up so easily, but I never heard from him (Ray) again. Which is puzzling to me, but at the same time, I’m grateful.”After that, Kline said, “I was able to hide in suburbia and pretend to be a normal kid. I had a pretty stable home there in St. Louis County. I was able to hide this from my folks and my family.”Unfortunately, however, that summer had left its mark on him. “In my teen years I drank a lot. I once tried to commit suicide, when I was 16, but luckily I was too drunk to do it right. That kind of shocked me, and I haven’t tried anything like that since.”Over time, Kline was largely able to convince himself that summer had never happened. “The nightmares became less and less, and I got on with my life. I seemed to be pretty happy. I ended up in seminary and became a pastor.”He even adopted a son, named Scott, when he was 16 years old.  But after being assigned to a parish in Hawaii, “for some reason, all this stuff started coming back to me,” Kline said.“At that point I was old enough, and mature enough, to know I had to do something about it. I was lucky enough to find a good psychologist.”In September, Kline left his position in Honolulu - where his son Scott still lives and is a successful business owner - and is currently “on leave from call” and concentrating on promoting the new book.“I’m a pretty private, introverted person,” Kline said. “I don’t mind talking about (the past) from time to time, but it’s never easy. Nobody wants these things in their heads, but I know it needs to be done.“There are kids out there now who are dealing with this crap and they’re being overlooked by social services, law enforcement, everyone,” he continued. “Their story needs to be told; they need to be told that doesn’t have to define who they are, and things can actually get better for them.“What people are doing to them doesn’t define who they are, just as what happened to me back in 1975 doesn’t define who I am. It’s something that was done to me.”For more information on Kevin Kline, Daniel Maurer and the book “Faraway,” please visit the author’s website at www.farawaybook.com, where signed copies of the book may also be requested.Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.Tweets by @DLNewspapers

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A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com.
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