Editorial: Victim of child predator deserves recognition for grace, maturity | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

By Brandi Makuski

Crime victims have special protections under the law. Marsy’s Law states, among other things, that a victim’s identity and privacy are protected, and that’s on top of privacy laws already related to minors. This typically means that unless they and their parents step forward, their stories and struggles rarely reach the public.

But one brave victim in a recent child sex assault case presented some of those struggles in open court earlier this month. Now an adult, he was 12 when the abuse began, and though he gave his full name prior to delivering his victim impact statement, we’ll leave it up to him to identify himself outside of a courtroom.

He was a victim of Jordan Huffman. The 52-year-old former youth pastor is accused of numerous sex crimes against the children he was charged with helping guide into Christian adulthood. But in Portage Co., Huffman has been convicted in just one of those cases.

During his Oct. 3 sentencing hearing, Assistant District Attorney Kelly Cassidy referred to Huffman’s crimes as “the worst of the worst on this earth,” saying he’d spent “multiple decades concealing his deviant sexual practices from detection. All the while, he was placing himself in the perfect position to have access to vulnerable, adolescent males, and have the opportunity to vet them and groom them, in order to satisfy uncontrollable sexual urges” adding that he’d caused “immeasurable damage” to his victims and his church.

But it is the victim in this case who, in this reporter’s mind, deserves the most recognition. With his visibly angry and emotional parents at his side, the young man spoke in a measured tone during his five-minute victim impact statement as he referenced the abuse that nearly drove him to suicide when he was 13, telling his abuser that he and his family were forever changed. But he also said it was his strong faith, and the support system of his family, friends, and other parishioners, who helped give him the strength to push through.

Some remarks from his victim impact statement follow:

I’m glad it was me; I believe it had to be. It’s sad to think of the hundreds of innocent childhoods you have destroyed. And I feel for every one of those kids and families. I pray each and every one of them can sleep a little better and start healing from the horrific actions of this man. I hope it brings some peace, knowing he will never be able to hurt anyone ever again. Now, I’m glad God gave me the strength and the heart to put you away for good. You are a rapist, a pedophile, and a manipulator. Not only did you put me through hell for years, but you put my family through it as well.

Where you are going is exactly where you need to be for as long as you can breathe. You will never change, and the fact is, you don’t want to. You proved that by doing it again with a 12-year-old child, while you were out on bail. There is nothing in this world that can ever get you to change. You should never be able to get out. I promise if he does, another child will get hurt, and that will be on the court.

Words can’t describe the feelings I have towards you, but for the rest of my life, I have to live with those memories. But I will do so with my head held high, and I will not let you take anything else away from me, my family, or anyone ever again. I know one day I’ll have to forgive you because I know that is what God wants me to do. But today is not that day. Enjoy your new home. Your new roommates are going to love you.”

If ever there could be an award for best victim impact statement, this young man deserves it. Hopefully, he continues his path of healing, and he can inspire others with his probity, his grace, and his emotional maturity.

Good luck, young man, to you and your family.

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