We hope the conviction of a North Carolina evangelist will make it easier for a 15-year-old girl to recover from the trauma of her sexual assault.
Her case is especially disturbing not only because a man tried to force himself sexually on her, but also because the perpetrator was a trusted family friend and because the girl's mother drove her to the motel where the assault occurred.
A jury last week convicted the Rev. Walter Donald Bradshaw of 22 charges, including rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, in connection with the April 2009 incident at a motel in Bedford Township. The jury acquitted Bradshaw of two counts of indecent assault in connection with an alleged kiss earlier at the girl's school.
Bradshaw, 63, has denied the charges and maintains his innocence. He said the girl was there so he could help her with her homework.
It's an argument clearly the jury didn't believe. Instead, jurors sided with the girl who testified that Bradshaw, who she once viewed as a grandfather, tried to rape her in the motel room.
The girl's mother is serving a two- to six-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and criminal solicitation-perjury. Counts of sexual exploitation of children and unlawful contact with a minor were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
The mother drove the girl to the motel and left her there overnight and reportedly ordered the girl to keep quiet about Bradshaw's actions.
The girl is now living with her father, and we hope the jury's belief in her will provide a measure of comfort.
Sexual assault cases, especially those involving children, are heart-wrenching. And the particulars in this case are especially disgusting.
The people who one would normally associate as protectors of a child - a mother and a trusted religious leader - instead were the people responsible for the girl being sexually assaulted.
No how many cases of child sexual abuse are prosecuted, it is a crime that continues to provoke revulsion in the public - as it should.