PITTSFIELD, Maine — Victims of sexual assault who do come forward often suffer emotional trauma and worry about retaliation from their alleged attackers. That's what happened to a 15-year-old girl from Pittsfield after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by a family friend three years ago.
It's NEWS CENTER Maine's policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Emma Danskin contacted us. Although her case was dismissed, Danksin hopes by speaking publicly about the horrible things that happened to her -- she will finally begin to heal.
"This is too much to carry on for the rest of my life, knowing that he wasn't put in jail, he could do this to more girls. It really hurts, it really hurts."
Emma says she was sexually assaulted on two separate occasions when she was 12 years old. The incidents allegedly happened when she was spending the night at the home of a family friend in Limestone. The girl had become friends with another teenager, who was staying at the home, as well. Emma says the man attacked her on the couch after his family went to sleep.
Emma says the man threatened to kill her and her family if she screamed or said anything to anyone.
"He ended up raping me that night. He was holding me down -- I couldn't move at all. He left bruises on me," said Emma.
Emma says was too afraid to tell her family. Several months later, she found the courage to tell her mom, who went straight to authorities.
In 2017, the 53-year-old was indicted on six counts of gross sexual assault of a child under 12. At his trial in July, Emma was ready to testify, but seeing her alleged attacker again was traumatizing.
Right after Emma took the stand, the prosecutor moved to dismiss the case. In a statement, Aroostook County District Attorney Todd Collins told NEWS CENTER Maine:
"As the trial progressed, it became evident to the prosecutor that an ethical barrier to continuing the trial arose, caus(ing) the need for a dismissal of the charges."
Because the trial was already underway and a jury seated, double jeopardy rules barred a second trial for the defendant.
Emma, who suffers from a seizure disorder and has memory problems, believes she may have mixed up information in her statements to prosecutors, leading to the case being dismissed.
Destie Hohman-Sprague is the Associate Director of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
"We know the criminal justice system is not the route to justice and healing for the majority of victims of sexual assault," she said.
The coalition works towards ending sexual violence through public policy, awareness and statewide training. Sprague says every county in the state has sexual assault services available to help victims.
Click here for information and resources on services for sexual assault victims.
For Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, click here.
Learn more about program to end child sexual abuse here.