Warning: This post features explicit details of child sexual abuse that could be triggering for some readers.
Marianna Mazzeo had ‘five years of her childhood’ stolen by her uncle.
The 20-year-old alleged she was sexually abused by Richard Rose for half a decade, beginning when she was six.
Marianna struggled through childhood and often contemplated death. When she was 14, she tried to commit suicide.
She was admitted to a live-in mental health facility and reported her abuse, sparking a criminal investigation.
PEOPLE report Marianna’s uncle Richard Rose, 57, was questioned by Danbury Township, Ohio police in 2014 but after he refused to take a lie detector test the investigation ended due to lack of evidence.
Marianna told PEOPLE she wrote “He stole five years of my childhood that I’ll never get back” in her diary.
But she vowed that it wasn’t over – “I’ll get a confession,” she wrote.
Years later, she did.
Marianna attempted to live her life avoiding what happened in her childhood, but last year she was triggered when she saw a man who resembled her abuser.
She didn’t want to hide from the truth anymore, so she text her uncle.
They eventually scheduled a video chat using Facebook Messenger and Marianna knew this would be how she’d get him.
She set up two phones: One to take the call and another to record it.
Marianna had not seen for uncle for eight years. She hit record as soon as his face appeared on her screen.
He began to apologise and she began to cry.
“I need to hear you say it,” she demanded.
He finally admitted it: “I’m sorry I molested you.”
Marianna had what she needed. With evidence in-hand, she called the police.
Her uncle was arrested in April, originally indicted with more than 50 rape charges but more than 45 of those have been dismissed in order to avoid juror confusion and prevent unnecessary trauma for Marianna.
According to court documents, Ottawa County Prosecutor James VanEerten said the law requires for the indictment to have specific facts for each count. When there are so many counts, it can be hard for a jury to keep track of each ones specifics.
VanEerten told the Port Clinton News Herald he chose the five strongest counts. Because the victim was under the age of 10 at the time of the alleged offences, he said each charge carries a sentence of life in prison if convicted.
Rose remains in jail with a $1 million bond. His trial is scheduled for December.
If this post brings up any issues for you, you can contact Bravehearts (an organisation providing support to victims of child abuse) here.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child you can get advice from the Child Abuse Protection Hotline by calling 1800 688 009, or visiting their website. You can also call the 24- hour Child Abuse Report Line (131 478).