Mark Hayward's City Matters: Innocence lost, justice delayed
For her, justice means prison for the man who forged a bond with her and her family, cultivated an uncle-like relationship with her daughter, and then started molesting the girl at the age of 9, maybe even earlier, her mother alleges.
Smith said she found out about the molestation when contacted by state social workers last year. Manchester police confirm they investigated the case and turned it over to the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office, but will say nothing else about it.
"I was under the impression that if somebody touched any child like that she would at least get her day in court," Smith said. She approached this newspaper two months ago, heartbroken and not knowing where to turn.
LaFrance said she waited six years for a 6-year-old victim to be ready to testify, and the abuser now sits in prison for a minimum of 15 years.
Smith disputes the explanations she's been given.
"I understand it's a judgment call," Smith said. "What I don't understand is the reasons they gave me. They don't make any sense."
Life is hard for Smith. She is 54, a divorced mom on disability with two children at home. She lives in a small family home that she grew up in in south Manchester. She's on food stamps.
"It's not so much the touching part, it's the emotions he put her through," Smith said. "Her emotions are all screwed up. She doesn't know what's right, what's wrong."
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