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Human trafficking: An ex-john from Suamico speaks out

Posted at 4:00 AM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 23:48:38-05

This story will air Thursday night on NBC26 at 10:00.

From the outside, Josh Parise looked like the all-American guy. A successful business man, father to four young children, and a loving husband who went to church every Sunday.

But on the inside, Parise said he was hiding a dark secret for nearly 13 years.

"I was living a double life, and I didn't realize how that selfishness just crept into every single part of my life," said Parise.

Parise said he was raised in a Christian household and knew right from wrong. In high school, he said he began feeling lust enter his life and tried to fight his temptations.

"It wasn't about a pure relationship with God, so you know, I would test those boundaries," said Parise.

After a break up in college, he said he began using pornography, thinking it would fill the emptiness he was feeling. Then, he met his wife Christy and was hopeful a life with her would give him what he was missing.

"I thought, you know what, when I get married, you know, never had sex before, this is all going to go away," said Parise.

But he said it didn't, so he took his desire for more to a massage parlor.

"It was probably a year after, roughly a year after we had been married. We were newly married, and it was, it was just that continuation of that lust that was there, and I walked into a place I knew I had no place being," said Parise.

He said temptations mixed with guilt and shame as Parise continued seeking out women on Craigslist and paying them for sex.

"Sometimes it'd be once every couple months, you know. It could've been, you know, once a week over a month time," said Parise.

In October of 2014, Parise was arrested for soliciting a prostitute during a sting in Green Bay. He said even those closest to him didn't believe he was capable of such a crime, adding, his wife thought it was a joke.

"I had a choice at that point to make, and to come and tell everything, come clean about everything. And I didn't," explained Parise.

Parise, lying to his wife, said it had only happened one or two times. He said after the arrest, he turned to prostitution a few more times.

Then, his wife read his arrest report and saw the truth Parise was trying to hide.

"I had been wrestling with God for a long time, and I knew that it was time to stop," said Parise.

The couple separate during that time. Parise said he lived in an RV, then moved in with his parents.

Eventually, forgiveness filled their marriage, and he moved back home, still needing to sit down with his children.

"I asked for their forgiveness. That was one of the hardest things that I had to do, and I told them that I had lied to mom, and that she had forgiven me, but I needed to ask them for forgiveness, as well," explained Parise.

Now, more than a year later, Parise has the pure relationship with God he always yearned for, as well as a truthful relationship with his wife and children, while still fighting the temptation that lurks in his life every day.

"I pray that someday the temptation, you know, won't come, and it might be when I pass on from this earth that I will be freed from it," added Parise.

Parise is now using his own journey as an ex-John to help others fight their own temptations and find light in their darkest times.

"There is hope, and there is freedom, and there is victory in that, and there is joy at the end," said Parise.

Part of that joy for Parise is starting a new ministry to help other local men overcome their addiction, and not feed into the issue of sex trafficking in Northeast Wisconsin.