CUMBERLAND, Md. (WJZ) — The child was abducted from her bus stop, sexually assaulted and left to die. Thirty years later, the victim finds her attacker could go free.
Suzanne Collins reports on a new legal move to keep John Kroll behind bars.
Nine-year-old Charity Shankle got off her school bus in Allegany County in March 1980. Police say lurking in a car nearby was John Kroll, a man convicted of sexually assaulting other children.
“He kidnapped me, he abducted me from my home, my driveway. He sexually assaulted me,” said Shankle.
Kroll got life without parole. But a few years ago he appealed, saying the sex assault took place just over the border in Pennsylvania, not Maryland. The conviction was overturned.
Shankle, whose female organs were mutilated in the attack, says she will fight Kroll’s release for her adopted daughter.
“I need to protect my little girl,” Shankle said. “I need to protect those little girls out there.”
Now a Pennsylvania district attorney has come to the rescue. This week Kroll was released from a Maryland prison and sent right to a Pennsylvania jail. He faces charges of assault, false imprisonment and more.
On the phone, the prosecutor says it should work.
“Essentially with the charges we have against him, if successful, there’s no question Mr. Kroll will never see the light of day again,” said Bill Higgins, Bedford County DA.
Even though the lead investigator is dead and another detective retired in Florida, there is some physical evidence like the broomstick used in the attack. The prosecutor says Shankle’s memory of her attack so long ago is as vivid as ever, and a jury will listen.
Kroll may claim the statute of limitations has passed in Pennsylvania, but the prosecutor believes he can win that argument.