Scott Williams is a doting dad to a 10-year-old boy.
Scott Williams is also a man who went from being a respected white-collar worker to a man imprisoned for stealing several hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer.
And Scott Williams is also a man who wants to talk about what his imprisonment did to his family.
He isn’t looking for sympathy. He isn’t looking for forgiveness. He admits he did the crime and he deserved to do the time. He just wants to share his story about what it’s like to have to sit down and tell your son, “Daddy’s done something wrong. He’s going to jail.”
He wants to let everyone know that it’s pretty brutal. That his crime cost him his marriage, and the family unit.
But it didn’t cost him his relationship with his son. That survived, because Scott was 100 per cent determined that it must.
You can hear Scott’s story on the latest episode of This Glorious Mess, here:
Scott and his wife worked together at the company that Scott defrauded. When his crime was uncovered, she – blindsided and horrified – immediately ended the marriage, and Scott moved out of the family home to await his sentencing.
“My son was just over eight years old. The first thing that Josh knew was that Dad had moved out and gone to stay at grandpa’s for a while.
“I told him, one day you’ll be ready to know what happened, so when you are ready, ask me and I will tell you.”
That day came while Scott was about to go to trial.
“We were having dinner one night at my place and he said, ‘Dad, I would like to know’.
“So I said: ‘Dad’s done something wrong. Dad’s stolen some money from work’.”
“He asked me, ‘Is it a lot of money?’
“And I said, ‘Yes, son, it is.”
“And Josh said, ‘Oh well then Dad, you should go to jail.”
And that’s what happened. Scott went to jail – three different jails in fact- for nine months.
He says that a lot of the men in the low-security prison he was sent to talked openly about missing their kids, and they could all tell when they were going through tough days.
“The hardest day I had was not Christmas, wasn’t his birthday, it was the day he got a puppy. Josh called me, and he was so excited about this puppy. And I just felt, I should be there to see my boy play with his puppy.”
Scott spoke to his son on the phone once a week for 12 minutes, and every two weeks, there was a family visit. Of course, because Josh is 10, sometimes Scott’s timed phone calls coincided with a particularly engrossing game of MineCraft and Josh wouldn’t want to talk.
“He didn’t come to the first two prisons I went to. Not Port Phillip, the maximum security prison which is absolutely terrifying.
“In those prisons you get put in a jumpsuit that gets zipped up and cable-tied. And every child gets searched… because there have been some disgusting scenarios where people have smuggled drugs inside a baby’s nappy… So, until I went to a lower security prison, he didn’t visit me.”
You might be surprised to hear that once visits started, it didn’t take long for Josh to get accustomed to the prison, and actually enjoy coming. “Because was coming every fortnight, he made friends. Two of kids he met in there he still talks to.”
Now out, and building a new life, Scott has a lot to say about what lessons he thinks Josh took from the whole messy experience.
“I think resilience is a very important lesson he learned. And he learned that doing a bad thing doesn’t stop you loving somebody or being loved by somebody.
“I wanted him to learn that you’ve got to take your lumps. If you did wrong, you’ve got to take your punishment and get on with your life.
“I think it’s been a cautionary tale in terms of making the right decisions in life.”
Listen to the full podcast – including the full interview with Scott, where he discusses who he encouraged his son to tell about his dad’s prison time – to hear a discussion about everything from how to deal with teenage heartbreak to how to fake a home-made birthday cake, here:
What’s the most difficult conversation you have ever had to have with your child?