"We, the jury, having found the defendant guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree," were probably bittersweet words to the victim who was age 7 when the assault to her little body and mind occurred.
Justice to the victim came 10 years later.
The accused tried to twist the facts in the courtroom to gain the sympathy of the jurors, the prosecuting attorney said. He tried to put a spin on the case to make it look like the 7-year-old child was the aggressor.
At age 7 most girls are playing with dolls or having tea parties. Unlike most adults, children rarely have an agenda; an average day doesn't consist of plotting to seduce an adult male.
But justice wasn't swift for this child who suffered in silence for years before she spoke about the horrors she was subjected to.
The defendant's attorney asked the jury to impose a fine on his client. The accused's mother and sister testified on behalf of their son and brother.
But the jury didn't buy it. Jurors returned with the maximum sentence for the crime.
The jurors did their duty. A little girl's innocence was stolen from her. Her childhood was destroyed.
Where was the victim's mother in all of this? She was serving time in prison for drug charges. The accused was the stepfather of the child. He was the caretaker of the little girl that he abused while mom was serving time in the slammer.
My definition of a caretaker doesn't include abusing a child or robbing something so precious from them.
Poor kid. She never had a chance. Drug addict for a mother and child molester for a father. It probably couldn't have gotten much worse for a 7-year-old.
But it's not over yet. The accused plans to appeal the decision. He has charges filed against him in another county, too, that he has yet to stand trial for.
I hope this is not a short-lived victory. I pray the next jury doesn't buy into his story. But most of all I hope the victim can go forward with her life. I hope she beats the odds and can rise above her tragic beginnings.