UNNAMED DAD had joint custody. He paid no child support. He paid no alimony. What a sweet deal for Daddy. But he has been convicted of raping his teen daughter shortly after he divorced the girl's mother, when the girl was just 11 years of age. The abuse continued until she was 15, when she could no longer stand it and finally told her mother.
Fathers Rights people insist sexual abuse allegations against fathers are always lies spread by vindictive mothers. But take note of the fact that this mother had asked for NOTHING from this man, got nothing, and apparently agreed to joint custody. And still this is the outcome--a father who viciously abused his daughter--physically, emotionally, and sexually--for four years after the divorce.
Delaware courts: Anger, tears as pastor sentenced in daughter's rape
By SEAN O'SULLIVAN • The News Journal • May 15, 2010
Standing at a lectern in the center of a courtroom, the 16-year-old girl wavered, appearing unsure whether she should look down at her notes, across at her father sitting at the defense table or at the judge.
"Why?" she asked. "Why did you use me? Why did you do this to me?" And finally, in a halting but clear and calm tone, "Why couldn't you be a good dad? Why couldn't you be a good dad?"
Last year, a jury found her father, a New Castle County pastor whose name is being withheld to protect his daughter's identity, guilty of eight counts of first-degree rape and one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. He was facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 122 years in prison, with no time off for good behavior and no chance for parole.
According to Deputy Attorney General Diane C. Walsh, the 45-year-old, who had no previous criminal record, began raping the older of his two daughters in 2006, shortly after he divorced the girl's mother.
The mother also was in court, standing by her daughter as she gave her victim's impact statement. "I didn't ask for child support," she said, directly addressing her ex-husband. "I didn't ask for alimony. I just asked that we be good parents."
Despite what happened, the 16-year-old told her father that she still loved him and missed him and wished that he could see her go to her prom.
There were good times, she said. "I remember you taking me out to the movies at the mall and taking me out to eat. Why couldn't you stay like that? ... I just want things to be back like the old times. I just want to forgive you. But there is a part of my heart that can't."
It was clear the girl was hoping to hear from her father something he had implied in letters to the court and in text messages to the girl's mother that were seized by police: "I'm sorry."
The girl's mother told her former husband that she had finally come to forgive him, but added, in a clear, firm tone, like her daughter, "I'm still totally disappointed."
The father, dressed in an orange prison uniform, then rose to address the court. He started by complaining about his trial, without looking at his daughter, in a voice without emotion. He told Superior Court Judge Jan R. Jurden that despite the jury's verdict, he was innocent. "I'm not guilty of the allegations," he said, adding during the ensuing argument with the judge, "I'm not a belligerent man but ... you said I'd have a fair trial. I don't think I did."
At that moment, the 16-year-old's composure shattered. From the back of the courtroom, she shouted, "You did so do it!"
As her mother and a bailiff ushered her out, she wailed, "You lie! He can't even say sorry to me!"
Her muffled cries could still be heard as her father, unfazed, continued to argue with the judge and then with his own attorney, declaring he had a right to speak and he was going to say what he had to say.
Jurden ended the argument by ordering him out of the courtroom. About 20 minutes later, after Jurden handled several other sentencings, the man was brought back and the mother and daughter returned to the courtroom.
Jurden told the man that she would never forget his daughter's testimony at trial. "The poise, the grace, the sincerity ... and the pain. No child should ever have to go through what you put her through," she said.
According to Walsh, the rapes, which started when the girl was 11, ended at age 15 when during a night at her father's house, she refused his advances because she was cold. The father responded by making her sleep without blankets on a box spring and taking away a coat he had just bought her.
The next time she was scheduled to stay with her father in a joint custody arrangement, she refused and ultimately told her mother what had been happening.
Jurden told the man that even with a minimum mandatory sentence on each count, he will spend the rest of his natural life in prison. "And I hope you think about what you have done to your daughter every single hour of every single day."
She then sentenced him to the minimum mandatory 122 years.
He tried to speak one more time, but Jurden cut him off.
The girl and her mother returned to a room outside court, where sobs could be heard through the door.
Walsh said the state was satisfied with the outcome and hopes that the victim can find comfort in knowing that by coming forward, she almost certainly saved her younger sister from a similar fate.