ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A Charles County delegate has kept a dark secret for most of his life, but he finally shared it to help others.
Sexually abused by his adopted father, he tells Mary Bubala why the law must be changed to give victims the gift of time.
Charles County Delegate C.T. Wilson is a man with a painful past. He was sexually abused as a child by his adopted father.
“I can’t sit here and describe for you the pain of being beaten, sodomized and molested for years,” said Wilson.
He courageously testifies in Annapolis before the very lawmakers he works alongside every day in an effort to help victims of child sex abuse fight back, giving them more time to come forward and sue their abusers.
Bubala: “You had been in foster care, you were telling me, since you were four. You landed with this family, you had a father figure. When did you know something was really, really wrong?”
Wilson: “So what starts as–you know–sitting beside somebody on the couch, to things maybe a little different like peeing in the same toilet bowl, or at some point, he’s going to help you pee in a toilet bowl, he’ll hold yours if you hold his–those things. And that’s when even a little boy starts seeing, well, this doesn’t seem right. That’s kind of when I noticed that it was more than just affection.”
Bubala: “How long did the abuse go on?”
Wilson: “Probably until I was about 15. It would always happen after physical discipline… I have scars on my face and my nose and places where hair doesn’t grow on my head because of the beatings that I took.”
Thirty years after the abuse began, Wilson tells WJZ it’s still incredibly painful to talk about.
Bubala: “Why did you decide to open up about the worst thing in your life?”
Wilson: “I don’t think that there should be a limit to the number of years it takes for somebody to come forward.”
Wilson wants to change the law–to allow people who were sexually abused as children up until they’re 38-years-old to face their abusers in civil court.
“It takes so many years to even acknowledge that it even happened–most folks just want to pretend it didn’t happen,” said Delegate Wilson.
For nearly a decade, child advocates have tried to change the law. Each time, one of the loudest opponents has been the Catholic Church.
“Thirty years later, someone’s coming forward to say this happened. No one is around, there’s no evidence left, there are no witnesses left, maybe the person has died and an organization cannot defend themselves,” said Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.
Wilson tells WJZ he can’t put himself through testifying again, but he hopes people remember his story.
Bubala: “This could help a lot of people.”
Wilson: “It’s closure. Some people just want their voices to be heard. Some people just want the opportunity to stand up–be it in front of the Senate or the House or a judge or a jury–and say this happened.”
Right now in Maryland, child sex abuse victims have until they are 25-years-old to sue their abusers in civil court, but there is no limit on filing criminal charges.