(WJBF) – A local family is re-living a part of their lives that once was hidden from view. Sisters, sexually abused for years. Now, they are speaking out so that others who suffer in silence will have the courage to get help.
NewsChannel 6’s Mary Morrison has their story in this special report.
“This man was very evil. We didn’t know what he was capable of.”
This is how Alyssa Gordon describes her stepfather, Ronnie Lamb. Lamb is serving a 20 year prison sentence in South Carolina for sexually abusing Alyssa and her younger sister Kayla Anderson.
The sisters say the abuse started when they were just eight and nine years old and lasted well into their teen years.
They kept the abuse a secret.
“We were afraid of telling somebody. Scared of consequences,” said Kayla.
“He beat me. He threatened my life. Told me he would kill my family, make me watch and then kill me,” said Alyssa.
Their terrible secret finally came to light while Alyssa was on a dinner date with her boyfriend.
“We were sitting at Monterrey one night. It was a regular date night and he just randomly asked me, ‘Has your step-dad ever done anything to you?’ I just broke down crying. I didn’t say yes, I didn’t say no, I just started bawling.”
They left the restaurant, she told her boyfriend about the abuse and a few days later, Alyssa told her mom.
“It felt like an out of body experience. It didn’t feel real,” said Debbie Hatcher.
“Everything was happening so fast. You’re thinking this isn’t happening.”
Lamb was arrested.
He pleaded guilty to Child Molestation in Edgefield County and has been in prison in South Carolina since 2012.
Lamb also faced charges in Columbia County.
“After thirty years he’ll be eligible for parole but we plan on trying to keep him in there. He would be 70 when he gets out,” said Debbie.
Two other men who knew Lamb also were charged in connection with the case.
Marcus James is serving time for Aggravated Child Molestation.
Wallace Percival is behind bars for Lewd Act With a Child.
“As a parent, the hardest thing I have ever had to go through was to sit in court. I started hitting myself in the head because I couldn’t take it anymore.
Someone suggested I shouldn’t go in the courtroom anymore but as a parent, I felt I needed to be there. I wanted him to see me there and I needed to be there for my girls.”
“Once we came out with it, it was a relief just being able to tell somebody and justice being served,” said Kayla.
The story doesn’t end there. Years of abuse took a big toll on this family.
Alyssa, Kayla and their mom were referred to Child Enrichment where they received counseling.
Sadly, their case is not rare.
Since opening its doors in 1978, Child Enrichment has helped more than 23,000 abused, abandoned or neglected children.
Kari said, “First I would tell them that they are not alone,” said Kari Viola. “There are other kids that have gone through things like they have and they are able to receive services and move forward.”
As for Alyssa and Kayla, their mother could not be more proud.
“They are in healthy marriages, they’re married to wonderful men and they are good good mommas,” said Debbie.
A happy ending that might not have been possible without Child Enrichment.
You can help more children receive the services they need by visiting Child Enrichment.org
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