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Victims Should Not Stay Silent

What a brave, compassionate young woman Raelin Scurry is. Bless her for that.

Scurry was a sixth-grader in 2006, living in the home of Steubenville pastor Everett Mitchell, 41 — when he began sexually abusing her. That continued until 2010.

On Tuesday, she was in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court when Mitchell, having pleaded guilty to charges involving abuse of Scurry, was sentenced to two years in prison.

It is our policy not to identify victims of sex crimes — but Scurry says she wants other girls and women to know about her. It is vital “for other girls to know sexual abuse is not your fault, no matter what your perpetrator has told you,” she said.

In her victim impact statement, Scurry urged other victims “to speak out, go to the police and seek justice. It is going to be hard, but it will be worth it.” She continues to suffer the after-effects of being assaulted, she wrote. In addition to very real physical problems, her outlook on life is different. “In my mind, everyone is a potential predator,” Scurry wrote.

She added that after she went to police, she was criticized widely. “Videos were posted and comments made not to listen to the victim because it threatened to ruin the reputation and image of Pastor Everett Mitchell,” Scurry’s statement noted.

Scurry’s courage in going to police and her compassion in urging victims to come forward will make a difference — as it should. We hope she understands how much good she has done for countless others.

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