Leah’s Victim Impact Statment

They only thing I am changing is my children’s names. Girl 1 who is 4yrs old will be Beth, Girl 2 who is 11 will be called Mary and Boy 1 who is 7 will be called Douglas. The abuser age 14 who is also my child (step son) will have his name changed to Sam.

My Statement to the courts

It is so hard to put on paper the impact this has had on my family. Mary, Douglas, and Beth may never fully heal from this. I am afraid that the rest of our family won’t either. We are a big family and we were a close family. I am a stay at home mom because I love it. I love making my kids cookies for when they get off the bus and making them dinners every night. I love tucking them in and doing homework with them. I guess I should say loved. Now I barely get through each day telling myself tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow hasn’t come yet. I cannot find the joy in motherhood now. I can’t cook for the kids or tuck them in. When I tuck Beth in, who is four, I can only imagine how she must have felt when Sam would tuck her in and make her touch his penis. She is so sweet and beautiful. She was innocent and he took something so precious from her. I have to tuck her in quickly and go to my room to sob. Sometimes I hate myself for not knowing what Sam was doing. I am the mother of seven children who now are sad and depressed everyday. I wake up sometimes and bargain with myself. I’ll say today I will only cry three times instead of five. I too see a counselor like my children. I know it will get better but its hard to see that at times.

I watch the three victims in constant turmoil. They are afraid all the time, they are sad, they feel guilt, they are ashamed, they feel different and ugly. When I see this I feel angry at Sam for what he has done to our family. I then feel guilty for being angry because Sam is my child too. I am scared for Sam and what he has become. I pray he can get better. I am even more scared for my little ones who are so damaged. I think it would be easier if it was some jerk down the street who hurt them so we could all hate him and move on but we can’t. They love their brother and miss him, which confuses them because they also fear him. Sam will always be in our lives. There are constant reminders of him all through our house. Sam has destroyed our family and no matter how much we heal, it will never be the same again. He has taken so much from us that we can never get back. He has divided a family. There is so much tension with the kids and in my marriage. I don’t know how this is going to turn out or how we are going to make it through this. I just have to trust that it will get better. At least I hope it will.

I will probably never know the full extent of the sexual abuse Mary, Douglas and Beth endured. No matter how awful the things were that Sam did to them, they still love him. They feel so sad for him. They are the victims and they are concerned for the abuser. What I do know is how it has affected them. They have so many emotional problems from being abused. My biggest fear is that they will never fully heal from this and will always feel ashamed as they do now.

Douglas is showing the most turmoil from the abuse at this time. Douglas really looked up to Sam. We always called Douglas, “Sam’s mini me”. We can’t do that anymore. Douglas started having night terrors in January of 2009. These night terrors are so much worse than a nightmare. Douglas looks awake but is not. He runs from room to room screaming with tears rolling down his face. We try and hold him but he is afraid. While we are holding him he is begging for mom or dad to protect him and hold him. We are holding him but he doesn’t’ know it is us. He pushes away and runs. Usually we get him calmed down after about 15 minutes of this. We try everything to wake him up but it is so hard to wake him. His body trembles. When we finally wake him up, one of us rocks him as tears stream down his face. It is so heart breaking. He has had these night terrors about once a week for the last two years.

After Sam left our home in November the night terrors got further and further apart. Then one day Sam’s mother and brother was dropping off and had Sam in the car. We did not know that. That night he had three night terrors and several more that week. It wasn’t until Wednesday night that Douglas had the courage to tell me he saw Sam on Monday. The terror and fear he felt caused him to have those night terrors and to wet his pants that week. Douglas is in first grade so it is hard on him when he wets his pants. His friends notice. Douglas deals with guilt for telling, he feels that Sam is gone because he told. He feels guilt because Beth was hurt by Sam and if he would have told sooner, she wouldn’t have got hurt. He also feels so scared that Sam will come back but at the same time misses him.

Douglas struggles with all these competing emotions which greatly affects his ability to be a six year old boy and have fun with the other little kids at school. Douglas’ teacher had to make a cool down area in her class room for Douglas’. She told the kids it was for anyone to use so Douglas wasn’t singled out. When the other kids would play with Douglas and they would touch him, even just brush up against him, he would freak out. Any touch scares him and he screams. His teacher said he got really good at not screaming and holding his hands together and shaking from the stress of the situation and walking to a place where there were no kids to calm down. That gave her the idea to make a “cool down” area. Douglas is also struggling with his temper. He gets so stressed and freaks out when something doesn’t go right. If his lego tower breaks or lincoln logs don’t fit together he screams and cries. It is obvious that it isn’t really about the toys. He has so much going on inside.

 Douglas started wetting his pants the summer before Kindergarten. He would wet several times a day and also at night. I hoped when he started school it would stop but it didn’t. He would come home from school smelling so strong of pee. He continued to wet his pants until Sam left our home. He now only wets when there is a stressful encounter with Sam or the thought of it. Douglas went on a field trip to the Bret Memorial ice scatting rink. The ice rink is in the WMS parking lot where Sam attends school. Douglas thought he saw Sam at the ice rink and was so scared that he didn’t get on the ice. He said when that person left he realized it wasn’t Sam and so he went on the ice. He got to skate for five minutes and the field trip was over. Douglas lives in constant fear.

Sam threatened to kill Douglas if he ever told about the abuse. He also told Douglas he would throw him off the back deck if he told. Douglas still lives in fear of that. He believes Sam will do that. I try to protect Douglas from any encounters with Sam. One thing I cannot do, is protect him from all the things that trigger horrible memories.Douglas was taking a bath one day and he seemed really sad. When I asked him if he was okay he told me what happened to him during one of his baths. He showed me a red and blue plastic shovel that the kids use for a bath toy. He told me that Sam tried to put the handle in his butt and when he wouldn’t let Sam do that, Sam used the shovel part to hit Douglas’ penis really hard. I threw the shovel away but I can’t express how many times this sort of thing happens with all three kids.

Sam tortured Douglas on so many levels, sexually, physically and mentally tortured him. Douglas had a favorite Hot Wheels car and Douglas was going to the bathroom. When Douglas was wiping, Sam picked up Douglas’ poop and mashed his car into the poop and made Douglas dig it out. Other times Douglas would be going pee and Sam would cup his hands and fill up his hands with Douglas’ pee and then wash his hands and leave. I can’t even understand why Sam would do these sorts of thing, how do I explain it to a six year old? Douglas is having a hard time all around. School is hard because he doesn’t like anyone in his personal space and flies off the handle easily. Therapy is helping so much. I see Douglas’ light shining through here and there. It is going to be a long road.

Beth is four years old. She started wetting her pants last summer. She wet her pants a lot. She would wet about 8-9 times a day. She also started pooping her pants. She is little so she has not talked as much about the abuse. I can see the emotional stress it caused her. The other day she was sitting on the piano and looking up at a picture of Sam and wet on the piano bench. Beth also pretty much quit wetting her pants when Sam left. My husbands step dad died and we were sitting in the living room telling them that they would have to see Sam at the memorial and Beth wet her pants. We could see it would be too hard on her to see Sam so we had the little ones stay home. Beth is young and she can’t express fears or emotions as much as the other kids. I don’t know what that means for her. The other kids can talk about it and work through it. I am really worried about Beth. She dreams about it a lot.

Last summer I came home and Beth was crying and told me that Sam flipped her over and “put a stick in her bum”. She said Sam took her in the woods and did it. When she said “flipped her over”, she did the motion of bending over. I took her in the bathroom and her anus was bleeding. I called a friend who said to get her to the hospital. I could not believe Sam would do something like that so I put Beth in the bath tub, cleaned her up and put cream on her butt. After I bathed her I went to talk to Sam. He was grounded to his room. He said he went out his window and took Beth in the woods and got the sand out of her pants and changed her panties. When I asked where her dirty panties were he told me in the bathroom. When I couldn’t find them, he said they were downstairs and then he did not know where he put them. I knew something was not right. Sam never helps anyone but himself. At that time I still couldn’t believe he had sexually assaulted Beth.

Beth continued to cry for weeks saying that Sam hurt her and put a stick in her bum and it was bleeding. She would cry and say she thinks part of the stick is still in there. After a couple of months of not being believed she started to dream it and think it was just in her dream. She would wake up sweaty and crying because she dreamed that Sam put a stick in her bum. Then she started to dream the same dream but about her friends at preschool. She has had to stay home from preschool a lot because she is to shaken up in the morning after these dreams.

Mary started showing symptoms that concerned me. She would only take a bath with her underwear on. This went on for about five or six months before I asked her about it. Mary is also fighting so many different emotions. She is constantly scared. She has to sleep with her back touching the wall and facing the door. I never understood that until now. She was so scared. She was scared of Sam coming in her room. When she takes a bath she has to open the drawer in the bathroom vanity for extra protection from the door being opened. The other morning she said she was able to sleep lying regular in her bed. She was so happy and said it was so comfy. Sam has been out of our house for four months now. Mary is slowly trusting that he won’t hurt her anymore and is starting to relax and trust.

Sam also threatened Mary with her life not to tell. He knew her week spots and said what he needed to, to get her not to tell. Now she is feeling it is her fault Douglas and Beth were hurt. She feels she should have told sooner. Someday through therapy I hope she will come to understand that Sam hurt them and it was not any of their faults. Mary is very tender and worries so much. She worries about the little ones and she even worries about Sam. Mary is super skinny and we found out that she has been throwing her food away. She thinks she is fat. She throws away cloths that make her look fat. She hates everything about her body. We have been told to watch her for a eating disorder. Mary is 10. I know things might get worse before they get better. We have a long road ahead of us.

I am afraid that the kids will not ever fully heal form this. What will happen when they become teenagers? What about when they get married, will they be able to have a healthy relationship with their spouses? There is so much to deal with it is so overwhelming. When the kids are all having a bad day at once, I get discouraged and so sad that I can’t take this pain from them. They explode and have a hard time dealing with regular daily things. They are sad a lot. They get angry. They are afraid of things little kids shouldn’t be afraid of.

Mary, Douglas and Beth are not the only ones affected by this. I can’t even begin to describe what this has done to my husband and the sadness he feels. During this past Christmas season, I cried the whole time. I was grieving for my little ones but also grieving for Sam. No matter what, I love Sam. When I picture Sam in my mind, I picture Sam as a little boy. I took Sam into my home and have devoted so much of my time and love to him. The idea that my family will never be whole again kills me. It can’t be whole with one member missing. I am so sad for what Sam did to the little ones but just as sad for what Sam has done to himself. He is one of my children too. I cried everyday several times a day for a long time after we found out what happened.

My little ones started feeling that it was their fault for telling. So, I decided to hold it together until I dropped them off at school. Our whole family is grieving on so many different levels. We go through times of severe sadness, anger, fear, and also guilt for not knowing. Our family is all at different stages in this grieving process which makes it even harder. I am grateful that we have a excellent family therapist who helps us through this. Sometimes it seems like there is not a light at the end of the tunnel. We have seven therapy appointments a week. Individual and family appointments take up a lot of time. Time that takes away from the kids doing activities they would like to do. The weeks that we take Sam and the other brother to their counseling appointments, we have nine counseling appointments to go to. It is exhausting and expensive.

Sam has not only hurt everyone in the ways described above, but financially too. As of the date of this letter our out of pocket portion for counseling is $4,575.00, which is a lot of money for us with a big family and only one income. I am a stay at home mom and am grateful that I can take them to all these appointments. It is exhausting though. I spend many hours a week sitting in the car waiting for appointments to get over. I am going to turn the receipts for the three victims appointments with the hopes of getting help with at least their appointments. Our portion, after insurance paid, for Beth, Douglas, and Mary is $2363 so far. Their counselor, when asked how long she thinks they will need therapy responded, a MINIMUM of four more months (she used capitols when she wrote MINIMUM). She also said they will need to return to therapy when they hit puberty and when they get married and possibly when their children are at the ages that they were when they were abused. Sam stated in his neuro physc evaluation that everyone is fine and has put it behind them.

That couldn’t be further from the truth!

I hope and pray that all the children involved in this tragedy, including Sam will be able to heal from this sad and horrible event, and have normal lives.

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