A Stolen Innocence


DECATUR- It was more than 15 years of Katelyn Bledsaw’s 20 year old life. A life full of a particular childhood experience that haunts her even today. 
Her father Clarence Tracy, sexually abused her when she was only three years old. He threatened her mother’s life if she ever told anyone about what happened.
Thus, her walk began, one full of shame and embarrassment. Bledsaw said in her victim impact statement, “I have been a prisoner in my own body since I was a little girl. I had to accept that I am physically impure.”
It wasn’t until she was in 8th grade when she was brave enough to journal her experience and pain in a class journal assignment. Another teacher in the building discovered the entry and quickly DCFS was involved. Katelyn then began years in and out of court rooms and retelling an experience that has shaped her for the good and at times for the bad. 
Katelyn sought therapy from Growing Strong in Decatur. She said their help has allowed her to move forward despite the serious setbacks. Katelyn said, " I had a lot of guilt about this even though i know it wasn't my fault and that's gotten a lot better and i know that I'm not dirty but i still feel like I am."
This February the court case against Clarence Tracy came to a close. He agreed to a guilty plea and was sentenced to probation, fines and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. His charge, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. 
For more information on abuse and assault resources in our area please visit Growing Strong's web page. 

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