Two sisters were molested by their own uncle, and it took several law enforcement agencies to dig through the digital evidence to arrest him.
“My uncle Rich decided to take us on a camping trip. My sister went first, I went second, and he ended up sexually assaulting both of us,” says one of the sisters.
These girls were in the 8th grade at the time. Scared and confused, neither one discussed the incidents with the other, but there were signs something was wrong.
“We just came home, kept living our lives, started going to school, and I started feeling kind of depressed, a little anxious all the time. I started cutting and was suicidal,” says one of the women.
Eventually, the girls confided in each other and friends about what happened. Their friends encouraged them to report the crime.
“I said that isn`t going to happen. This is my mother`s brother, it will tear the whole family apart. I don`t want to say anything,” says one of the women.
“I had thought more, if I pretended it didn`t happen, it would go away and of course, which is never true,” says one of the women.
After ten years of trying to hide what happened, the truth came out.
“I had opened up to one of my best friends. Well, because his father is a deacon he is a mandated reporter, so he called it in,” says one of the women.
The girls also finally told their mother.
“My Mom went to counseling a lot because she felt guilty. It wasn`t her fault, it wasn`t my fault, it was his fault. He is the one who made the wrong decision; he is the one who did everything wrong.”
“The accusations were horrific, and they had been dealing with this particular crime for nearly 10 years terrorized throughout,” postal inspectors say.
Postal inspectors got involved after local police asked for some specialized help.
Analysis of the suspect`s computer revealed more victims. Inspectors sent the images to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for help in identifying victims.
Both girls say they are now moving forward.
“Once the ball started rolling I realized I think I`m going to get justice for this and I`m going to be able to put this behind me.”
The girls` uncle pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Both victims are now in college say they want to help others who have been assaulted.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is available by phone or website 24 hours a day - 7 days a week.
On the center`s site, you`ll find the phone number of a cybertipline to report any sexual crimes against children.