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Victims showed much braveryPosted Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at 9:50 PM
After sitting through three days of emotional, gut-wrenching, but very brave testimony last week by four young victims in the case of State of Indiana vs. Randell Vandeventer, I am convinced that child molestation is a heinous, cowardly, non-defensible crime against the most innocent members of our society.
After about 8 1/2 hours of deliberation, a jury made up of seven women and five men convicted the former daycare center co-owner and Greene County General Chaplain of three class C felony counts of child molesting, but acquitted on two more serious class A felony counts of child molesting and one class C felony charge of attempted child molesting.
Vandeventer is now a twice-convicted child molester as defined by Indiana state law, following a conviction last year of child seduction, a class D felony, in an unrelated case involving a high school age boy.
Greene Superior Court Judge Dena Martin will decide Vandeventer's fate at a sentencing hearing on March 14.
The current inmate at New Castle Correctional Facility faces a possible additional sentence ranging between 2 and 8 years on each guilty charge. The judge can decide to run his sentences either concurrently or consecutively ---- meaning he could be out and back on the streets of Greene County in as few as 4 years.
I can't say enough about the bravery and character shown by the three male victims and one female victim -- now aged 14 to 17.
These kids got up on the witness stand and described horrible things that were done to them by Vandeventer while they attended his Tiny Town Daycare Center in Switz City from the year 2000 to 2008 -- with some of the abuse starting they were as young as four years of age.
By Indiana statute, the Greene Superior Court jury learned in their instructions before starting deliberation, the crime of child molesting as a class C felony is defined as follows:
"A person who, with a child under 14 years of age, performs or submits to fondly or touching, of either the child or the older person with intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires or either the child or the older person."
These witnesses testified as the best as they could remembering the horrible crimes committed against each when they were very young -- some more than a decade ago.
They have earned true admiration for coming forth and speaking up, which was not an easy task.
Vandeventer and his wife, Lia, at one time operated daycare operations in Linton, Switz City, Jasonville and Worthington over a 21 year period.
Could there be more victims?
Thank goodness some victims stepped up and did the right thing.
Sadly, many of these kinds of crime go unreported as parents prefer to settle matters privately while some victims are too afraid to report the assault after threats by the perpetrators.
Does this kind of crime against society derive from ignorance, perversity, or just plain evilness?
Are these signs of the last days as described in the Holy Bible's Book of Revelations or could they be a disturbing illustration of a decaying society?
Experts with the Safe Child Custody Fund (http://www.safechildcustodyfund.org) state, "As a society we vehemently condemn child molesters but when someone we know in the community is accused, individuals take sides often refusing to believe that "a pillar of the community" could commit this type of a crime. The true seducer type pedophile is extremely good at what he does. He puts himself in a position in his community where he has easy access to children. He will often work hard (sometimes for years) to gain the trust of parents while at the same time be sexually abusing their child. If an allegation is made against this person by another child, it is often too emotionally difficult for families who trusted and allowed the accused into their home to believe that he could commit such an act against a child. The betrayal is too great and many families will not only deny the possibility, but will blame and defame the child making the allegation. This is what the offender counts on."
That's a sad, sad commentary.
My prayer is for these young victims to receive the proper spiritual and family support, as well as the counseling they need to put this tarnished part of their lives behind them.
As a Christian, I forgive the molester, but I can also hope that he receives the punishment as the fitting consequence that his repulsive, degenerate, cowardly actions truly deserve.
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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