Written by Sydney Jensen and Rachel Sande
Anna Kretchman sat silently on the couch, a blanket tucked around her knees.
She had been dreading this interview all day.
“I don’t want to be in the spotlight,” Kretchman said. “I’d be perfectly happy just kind of going under the radar.”
But, something had pushed her to reach out, to get all her thoughts in one place, besides what she posted on social media.
“I need people to know our side of the story,” Kretchman said.
With her former fiance, Devan MacCabe, now in jail and charged with felony video voyeurism — capturing video without knowledge of the filmed party for the purpose of gratifying sexual desires — Kretchman has been trying to balance her own version of justice and mercy. She refuses to condone his actions, but also reminds people that Devan MacCabe’s future is not entirely tainted by what he did.
Devan MacCabe’s father, Bret MacCabe, said he also struggles to find that balance.
“As a parent…I need to figure out where that line is between holding my son accountable for his actions and yet still being supportive to my son — to help him through this,” Bret MacCabe said.
“A Perfect LDS Resume”
Both Kretchman’s and Bret MacCabe’s worlds were rocked on Jan. 20, when Rexburg Police reported Devan MacCabe, a BYU-Idaho student, was arrested for placing a hidden camera in the bathroom of his fiance, Kretchman, and her roommates.
“We’ve all been shocked,” said Kretchman, referring to her and her roommates. “We’ve all been — I think mostly we’ve just been really confused,” Kretchman said.
Bret MacCabe said his son had, “a perfect LDS resume,” including being an Eagle scout, a four-year LDS seminary graduate and a returned missionary. He was two months away from his marriage to Kretchman in an LDS temple.
Kretchman described Devan MacCabe as cheerful, always smiling and silly. Perhaps most of all, she smiled as recounted his love for her and how happy they were together.
When police arrived to tell her the news, Kretchman said, they first started by expressing how much Devan MacCabe loves her.
“It would be so much easier if I could just think of him as this like pervy, horrible person, but I can’t,” Kretchman said. “I know that he loves me a lot, and it makes it so much worse.”
Following the news of Devan MacCabe’s arrest, Kretchman said her days have been filled with tears, difficulty completing basic tasks and trying to inform friends and family of the canceled wedding.
“I’ve been really sad,” Kretchman said. “There definitely is this sense of betrayal…it’s like ‘OK, well, what else have you been lying about and what else is involved in this?'”
But, almost immediately, Kretchman added, “I just, I don’t feel anger.”
Kretchman took to social media following the public announcement of Devan MacCabe’s arrest. She and her roommates described the more positive parts of his character and offered their immediate forgiveness.
But, the victim’s quick and public forgiveness of Devan MacCabe, particularly Kretchman’s outspoken offering of healing, have prompted intense criticism from many on social media.
“A lot of people think that I’m sick and that there’s something wrong with me and — you know, ‘Oh he did a really good job brainwashing you guys,'” Kretchman said.
But, Kretchman and Bret MacCabe deny defending the 23-year-old Utah native. Both continue to affirm that Devan MacCabe must face the consequences of his actions, which include potentially five years in prison and $50,000 in fines, according to Idaho Criminal Code Ann. § 18-112.
“In no way shape or form do I condone nor excuse Devan’s behavior,” Bret MacCabe said. “I will not be removing the consequences of his actions from him (. . .) With that said, I think Devan has it within himself…the capability to overcome this challenge and to right the wrongs that he has committed.”
Looking Toward the Future
That has been the sentiment from both sides of the case, the victims and the family of MacCabe. While most that know Devan MacCabe are shocked that he now sits in jail and faces felony charges for sex crimes, a general feeling of looking towards a future version, a better version of Devan MacCabe, always swiftly follows condemnation for his actions.
Both Kretchman and Bret MacCabe believe Devan MacCabe, who is described by both as intensely service minded, bubbly and always wearing a smile bigger than his ears, can eventually return to bettering the world around him.
“My hope is that he will face the situation, recognize the wrongs that he’s done, do what he can to fix those wrongs that he has committed and step forward — live up to his potential for good and make that happen in his life,” Bret MacCabe said.
Kretchman said she will no longer pursue her relationship with Devan MacCabe but she also firmly believes in his ability to overcome his actions. She referred to examples of transformation, like Paul of the New Testament and Alma the Younger in the Book of Mormon.
Kretchman said she’s asking others to give MacCabe a chance to rise above his present situation.
“Even if he had all of the fight in the world in him and all of the desire to improve, if nobody gives him the chance, what is he supposed to do?” Kretchman asked. “I can’t be there to help him, but I know that he can do it (. . .) I know he can come out of this.
As for Bret MacCabe, who still juggles how to best support his son without softening the reality of Devan MacCabe’s actions, he plans to attend court proceedings and “stand shoulder to shoulder with my son.”
“I will take every rock, dart and bullet with him,” Bret MacCabe said. “I won’t take them for him, but I will take them with him.”
Devan MacCabe is set to attend a preliminary hearing on Jan. 31.
Jim Archibald, Devan MacCabe’s appointed attorney, said Devan MacCabe is unavailable for comment.