In December, 2010 the initial criminal trial was also held here, and the Daily Tribune was present at the trial to report on it, but only during the time the alleged offender (the birth father of all three young victims) and other Defense witnesses were testifying. As we recall, two articles were written about this case that week, but neither of them presented the victims' experience nor the Prosecution's case. Therefore readers were not surprised that the defendant was not convicted.
Because that 2010 trial ended with a hung jury, the District Attorney's Office was allowed to retry it, and the case was brought before the Court again last month. This time a jury of his peers unanimously found this man guilty on every one of the 20 counts: child molestation, rape, incest, and cruelty to children. He has since been sentenced to life in prison, and will not be eligible for release for at least 25 years. Thank goodness they were able to tell again what he had done. Last year the failure to convict was well-reported, but this year when the outcome was as it should have been all along for the girls, their two younger siblings and their mother, there was no report. Perhaps no one informed the media that the verdict was likely to be very different.
As a community member privileged to work with many dedicated child advocates, I was disappointed to see that the case went unreported in this paper or any other media that we noticed this year. There was not a word other than the mention that a trial was on the court calendar. Once again this time, there was no account told of how these children had repeatedly suffered at their father's hands. There were no words about how brave the child victims and their mother were to take the stand again, despite having done so a year earlier. No reporters were there to record and inform the Bartow County community how these sisters found the words to share horrific, detailed accounts of how they had been abused and the upheaval caused in their young lives because of the abuse their father made them endure.
Simply put, Survivors are Heroes. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to tell our community about their bravery, and to let them know that another child molester in Bartow County has been brought to justice. The father is unnamed not to protect him, but to protect the identity and avoid further trauma of his children, because that is What We Do. Thanks go to the efforts of our local law enforcement, the District Attorney's office, A Better Way Children's Advocacy Center, Court Appointed Special Advocates and others in the community who so passionately care about victims of child sexual abuse. This is a safer community when such advocates step up and show that such treatment of children will not be tolerated.
Advocates for Children