LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- After convicted sex offender Arthur Lancaster II was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison last Thursday, the victim in the case is speaking out.
The victim, whose face will not be disclosed but goes by Aurora, is the adoptive daughter of Lancaster. She said she is speaking out in hopes that others will come forward.
Arthur Lancaster II
"Any person out there who was sexually assaulted, raped or abused in any way should get it out," Aurora said.
According to court documents, the abuse began when Aurora was only 9 years old. But she first confessed to her mother, Amy, about the abuse when she was 16.
"I pulled my mom into the back room and said, 'I really need to tell you something,'" Aurora said. "I don't remember word for word what I said but I said he's sexually abusing me."
Today, Aurora is 18 years old.
Katherine Green is the prosecutor on this case, and she said that it's common for child victims of sex abuse to hide the crimes of the perpetrators for several years.
"Typically the offender is someone who is known to the victim. It's not a stranger," Green said. "There often times is grooming behavior that is prior to the actual hands-on abuse. It's often behavior that is intentional for that child to keep that crime a secret."
Aurora said she didn't realize what her father was doing to her until she learned about sex education in middle school.
"I was like my dad's touching me and it hurts," Aurora said. "Later in middle school, I started learning about the human anatomy."
Her mother Amy said that when she first heard Aurora's confessions, she knew she had to protect her daughter.
"As a sexual assault survivor myself, I never had the opportunity to turn in my assaulters," Amy said. "I knew in that moment what I had to do. Was it the hardest moment of my life turning in the monster that I was married to? Yes."
After nearly two years of fighting in court, the defense and prosecution reached a plea agreement. Green said there was substantial DNA evidence which proved Lancaster's crimes.
Aurora said when she heard Lancaster's sentence, she breathed a sigh of relief.
"I was tearing up. I was glad it was finally over," Aurora said.
Her mother Amy also weighed in.
"I crawled over and I cried," Amy said. "Does 23 years equate to how much healing she'll have to face for the rest of her life?"
Amy said she has a message for the public after enduring this case.
"To the parents, believe your child, please," Amy said.
Aurora said she hopes to go to college within two years and major in psychology.