In the past, I have written many articles about my own childhood sexual abuse and the struggle of recovery from that abuse. I know firsthand how painful and difficult it is to endure sexual abuse and I also understand how much hard work it takes to overcome the effects of that abuse.
I recently happened upon a news story about a young boy who had been sexually abused by a neighbor. This was one of those typical cases of child abuse that was perpetuated because people “knew”, yet they chose not to report their suspicions to the local authorities.
I especially like this news story because it shows the bravery of a young boy as he broke the silence of an entire neighborhood. That long-held silence and secrecy allowed this perpetrator to continue his abusive ways for many years. One child put a stop to the abuse and has shined a light on the evil deeds of pedophiles who choose to abuse and misuse innocent children. This ten- year- old Ohio boy who had been sexually molested by a neighborhood predator, found more courage than an entire neighborhood, as he stepped up and reported his abuser to the police.
As a survivor of incest and childhood sexual abuse, I know how difficult it can be to “tell” on your abuser. This little boy has certainly exhibited great strength and courage by talking to his family and to the local police. Because he found the courage to tell, a pedophile who has reportedly abused at least 20 children over a 15-20 years span, will no longer be on the streets to continue his horrific crimes against innocent children.
As was the case in my own life, no one wanted to believe that my father and uncles were capable of such acts; they seemed like nice men. Even after I told my mother about the abuse, she never seemed to fully believe what I was telling her. She, in essence, made our home a safe place for incest to occur and I learned not to talk about the incestuous actions of my own father. I kept that family secret for decades as my abusers continued to sexually assault other children within the family, all under the veil of secrecy which had been so securely put into place early in my childhood.
Indictment and Prosecution
In this story, the perpetrator, Rodney Delancey, age 54, was initially indicted and held on $200,000 bond in the Washington County (OH) jail. As police officers worked to gather as much information as possible, they discovered actual log books detailing the sexual abuse of many children over a 15-20 year span. In light of their findings, the Washington County Assistant Prosecutor, Kevin Rings, set out some clear goals in this case. According to The Marietta Times , the Assistant Prosecutor stated, “it was important to get convictions on the charges that accurately reflected what he did. Second, I wanted to get enough charges so that when we get to sentencing, this in essence becomes a life sentence. I wanted to make sure he doesn’t get out. And third, I wanted to get this done without having to put those kids on a witness stand,”
I certainly applaud the prosecution in this case for taking such a strong stand against this pedophile, as they actively sought to protect the children who had already been victimized.. The sensitivity and determination to keep these children out of the courtroom was heroic. So many times, victims of such crimes are re-victimized by having to sit in front of the very person who sexually abused them and tell the deeds that were done in darkness. Perhaps if more court systems and prosecutors would follow this example, more victims would have liberty to come forward and seek the justice that belongs to them.
It seems that the prosecution made a good case against Rodney Delancey, who has now pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts of sexual abuse against 6 children. Sentencing will be on February 3, 2011, when he is now facing up to 100 years in prison.
The scales of justice seem to be well balanced in this case, as prosecutors seek justice for all the innocent children involved. This will serve to bring further healing to the child victims of Rodney Delancey and will further serve as an example to other survivors of child sexual abuse. Keeping the secret and remaining silent about the abuse allows the offenders to continue their heinous crimes against innocent children. Breaking the silence brings hope and healing to the abused and allows the laws of our country to effectively punish the offenders.
Adults should take responsibility when sexual abuse is suspected, but so many times they do not; sometimes, a little child must lead.