date of testimony: January 19th 2018
location of testimony: Lansing, Michigan
age of first abuse: 13
I am 18 years old and I am a victim of sexual abuse. Actually, I’m a survivor because I refuse to let him continue to make me his victim.
I had been his patient since I was eight years old but the abuse, quote, didn’t start until I was 13 years old. 13 years old. He continued to sexually abuse me for three and a half years. He explained, quote, almost everything he was doing in the treatments, pressure points and realignments, but at that age I had no idea the penetration was not a valid treatment. I was too embarrassed to speak to my parents or friends or coaches about what he was doing.
I have gone through counseling, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I am still learning how his abuse has affected me.
I continue to struggle with flashbacks, sleeplessness, trust issues, and difficulties with concentration. I also continue to take anti-depressants daily to help manage these symptoms. My parents want me to be in counseling again but I don’t think I’m ready to talk about the abuse yet.
How do you even begin that conversation with anyone? You can’t begin to imagine how hard it was to even tell my parents what had happened and then watch them cry and struggle with their own guilt.
Through this process I lost the one thing I truly loved and excelled at, gymnastics. Instead of continuing treatments that were never intended to help me heal, I decided to retire from gymnastics. I could not stand the thought of walking into his office one more time or having him place his hands on me and in me one more time so I walked away. It was a decision no 16 year old should ever have to make.
I have so many questions and what ifs.
What if I had asked to go to another doctor? Would I have been able to fulfill my dream of competing as a college gymnast? What if I had told someone what he was doing, how many other little girls would have been saved from his abuses? What if someone would have taken the very first allegation seriously, would I have been abused?
Your Honor, I respectfully request that he be given the maximum sentence so he can never harm another child like me again. It may take a lifetime to recover, and I hope that if and when that time comes, he is still behind bars exactly where he belongs. Katelynne Hall.
THE COURT: Thank you. Katelynne, I take you and your words and what happened very seriously. So does law enforcement. So do the people. I think everybody here takes it very, very seriously.
You’re not alone. You have your sister survivors, but I want you to know, your words have helped others to not be embarrassed. You should not be embarrassed. You didn’t do anything wrong. Defendant did. And what you are doing in your statement is making it very clear to others who haven’t been able to speak out for the same reason, embarrassment, you’re sending the message, don’t be embarrassed, cry out, there’s help, and those who do this should be punished, should be sentenced, should have to hear the words of the people they abused.
I will consider your words in my sentencing, and I thank you for being brave enough to speak out.