Closure for Chandler rape victim, 14 years after crimePosted: Updated:
CONCORD, NH-- Fourteen years after she was raped by a member of her church and shamed into apologizing before her entire congregation, a Chandler woman says she has justice.
Ernest Willis, 52, was sentenced to 30 to 50 years in prison by a New Hampshire judge for the rape and impregnation of Tina Anderson.
"I'm thrilled and it does bring a sense of closure to have it over with," Anderson said.
Anderson was just 15 years old at the time and living with her family in New Hampshire. She was a babysitter for Willis' children.
Authorities at the Trinity Baptist Fundamental Church found out she'd gotten pregnant, they made her stand before the entire church congregation and apologize.
"I was blamed, I was put in front of the church and made to apologize for a compromising situation," Anderson told 3TV in May.
Anderson's parents and church authorities sent her to live in Colorado and forced her to give her baby up for adoption.
She later moved to Chandler, married, and started a family. It was only last year when authorities looking into other abuse within the church contacted her after hearing about her experience.
Willis was convicted of the rape in May.
During Tuesday's sentencing he delivered a statement.
"I want the court to know I am very sorry and ashamed for the thoughtless act of sexual misconduct that I committed," he said. "I never imagined the impact it could have on her life in hurting her, and many, many other people as well, and for that I'm deeply sorry."
Anderson she believed Willis was only sorry that he got caught, but said she was satisfied with the sentence and hoped it would bring hope to other victims of sexual abuse
"I think it shows even years down the road, you can get justice," said Anderson.