A 63-year-old Brooklyn man was sentenced to 18 years in prison today for raping his former stepdaughter in 2003, the Associated Press reports. His crime only came to light recently, when the victim wrote about it in a college admissions essay. (The AP withheld her name, along with that of the man who raped her, in order to protect her privacy.)
According to prosecutors, the young woman disclosed the rape while answering an application question about “what made her who she is.” She recalled that her then-stepfather began abusing her when she was 8, as his marriage to her mother was falling apart. “I never told anyone,” she wrote. “At that point in my life, I was scared.” The mother, who divorced the perpetrator and married someone else before her daughter decided to come forward with her story, called the police after she read the essay.
During the trial, a defense attorney “suggested that the mother was trying to get back at her former spouse and that the student was bidding for sympathy to get into college.” The jury saw the situation differently, convicting the man of rape and other charges. (He maintained that he was innocent.) “I feel a lot happier than before,” wrote the victim in a statement. “I will not forget what happened, but I will move on from it.”