Yesterday, justice was served for my son. It took two years, but justice was served.
Two years have felt like an eternity, while also feeling like the blink of an eye. A lot has changed in my life in the last two years. I birthed my youngest son, decided to divorce, sold a home, bought a home, separated, and divorced. And waited. Waited to see what the outcome would be for the woman who abused my son.
In court yesterday, I read a victim impact statement addressing my son’s abuser. Leading up to and during this moment, I felt panicked, anxious, and sick to my stomach. Was what I had to say going to have an impact on the court? On the abuser? On anyone? Well, this is it:
“I wanted to thank you very much for the opportunity to address the court today. I feel that it is extremely valuable for all parties to hear from the victims and their families, to understand the impact that one’s negligent actions have made on the lives of others. There are so many cases presented each and every day in court, that I would imagine sometimes it may be easy to forget the people the defendant has affected as a result of their actions.
I will be honest, I had a very lengthy statement prepared to read today. It detailed the in’s and the out’s of this case and how it has affected my child, and my family. As I read it over and over again, I realized that it did not make the kind of impact that I wanted it to. It did not address the defendant in a way that made her think just a little bit more about what she has done.
So, this is my new statement, and this is for you, Nicole.
To say that we are appalled, disgusted, enraged, disappointed, sickened and saddened are not even enough adjectives to describe what our family has gone through over the last 2 years since we got that dreaded phone call that you abused our child. The feelings that haunted us day-to-day have started to heal, the questions about his “old daycare” have become fewer, but the pain resurfaces each and every month that we show up to these court cases. The pain and suffering we have faced could have been avoided, plain and simple. Like we trusted the director, we trusted you and the rest of the teachers too. You had a professional, moral and ethical responsibility to teach, mold and protect our child, and you have done the complete opposite.
I became an educator because I love children. I want to impact them positively and make a difference in their lives. Anyone who chooses this path has likely chosen it for the same reasons, not to make decisions that could harm or ruin their lives. You have put an imprint on our child’s life that cannot be erased. This is not the career path for you Nicole. There is a career out there for you, but this is not it. You should be ashamed of what you did. We honestly cannot fathom how you thought this situation could turn out any differently than standing in this courtroom today. We are incredibly thankful for the teacher who made the decision to report to DCF that day. If it had not been for her, who knows what our child would be experiencing at the Stork Club today.
Our family is not in a situation where we have a stay-at-home parent or a retired family member to take care of our children while we manage two careers. Because of that, our children attend daycare. We trusted that a system had been put in place to protect the safety and well-being of our children. She chose not to follow that system, and for that we are incredibly sad.
We hope that this case has opened the eyes of other educational systems, has forced them to re-examine the policies and procedures they have in place. Made them re-train their employees, and tighten their hiring procedures. We hope that this case opens up the eyes of parents, and gives them the power to make informed decisions when choosing their child care provider. We hope this gives the great teachers hope that they know in their hearts why they chose their profession, and to continue to teach and to serve with an open heart.
And to Nicole, we hope that you have done some deep reflection about the choices you made in 2015. We hope that you somehow come out of this a better person. You owe it to our child and all the others that have been affected. We trust that the criminal justice system is going to punish you accordingly, as you deserve it.”
She received 6 Years in prison with a 20 month suspended sentence; 5 years of probation with 50 hours community service per year.