Sexual abuse victim finds justice 30 years later

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-05 21:38:34-04

PETERSBURG, Va (WTVR)—After years of sexual abuse, starting back in first grade, a woman came forward about it and just Monday, after three decades, her cousin was sentenced for the crime.

"At seven-years old, I didn't even know what to describe that happened to me,” said Rev. Karen Godette-Gail.

The year was 1976, the nations bicentennial, and Karen was heading to first grade.

"I always wondered what did I do that would make someone hate me like that,” she said, from her Chester home.

She said a 19-year-old cousin began molesting her and that the sex crime continued for 10 years.

It ended when she graduated from Petersburg High School and moved away. But she said she couldn't move far enough away to forget the memories.

She headed into years of counseling and then last year, three decades later, that she got the courage to go to the Petersburg Commonwealth's Attorney's office.

There she met with senior Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney, Les Lindsey and the Victim Witness Program Assistant Director, Sandie Rowe.

Lindsey said he believed Karen's story, but knew a conviction without evidence would be nearly impossible.

Both he and Rowe admired her courage and were determined to help her.

A plan was conceived and Karen was scripted on what to do when she called the man she said abused her for 10 years.

After a few missed calls, she got a call on Christmas Eve morning and proceeded to talk with the man, going over the questions she was prompted to ask.

This Monday, at Juvenile Domestic Relations Court in Petersburg, Carlos Paige Sr. plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery. He was given 18 months in jail, told to pay more than $300 dollars in counseling fee's and to have no contact with the victim.

Karen said that while it has been a long road, and she still remains in counseling, she hopes to work on legislation to help victims of abuse, especially during the time before a trial.

Her case came to a close as a case with national attention begins--the Jerry Sandusky trial.