A western Pennsylvania man has been convicted of several hundred sex-crime counts for abusing one girl for more than a decade. A jury found Clarence Thomas, 56, guilty Tuesday of all 971 counts after just over an hour of deliberations. Those counts included more than 100 charges each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors; more than 200 counts of aggravated indecent assault; and nearly 400 counts of indecent assault. Originally, Thomas had been charged with 9,000 counts, but a pre-trial motion consolidated them. The girl's sisters, now 26 and 28, also filed charges, but they were dismissed because they were filed too late and were outside the county.The defendant used the threat of violence against this victim's mother to help him commit these crimes. The number of charges also highlights why some victims don't "get over it" as quickly as we think they should. This girl wasn't taken away from her home, but she was a captive.
Whenever we talk about cases like this we must remember that we aren't talking about one commission of a crime: child sex abuse, we are talking about thousands of criminal acts. The 9000 original counts in this case were just for this one victim and don't include the crimes committed against her 2 sisters.
For those who have never sufferered childhood sexual abuse, imagine a painful event from your childhood and multiply that by 9000. Imagine that event being there around you at all times lurking for 10 years and beyond. Imagine as a child worrying that your mother will be hurt or killed if you tell anyone what has been done to you. Then remember that the reality is far worse than what you can imagine.
Then remember that just surviving this type of siege takes great strength and great courage. The courage and strength it takes to then seek justice for yourself and protection for other potential victims is amazing.
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