MOULTRIE COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — An elderly Amish women says she endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of her own son, and she’s not the only one. The 86-year-old woman reported her son repeatedly raped her over a period of 10 years.
Dozens of other Amish women have now come forward saying the same. Today there was a hearing at the Moultrie County Courthouse to decide who is the legal guardian over the elderly woman. At the hearing, it was decided that her daughter would be granted custody over her. The reason she needs a guardian is because she suffers from dementia.
“Sometimes the Amish can be very close-mouthed about these types of things,” said the victim’s second cousin Theresa Binion.
Behind those closed doors, advocates say, a man raped and abused his mother and dozens of other women over a period of 10 years. The alleged victim’s family member says she had no idea until this week.
“I know both the victim and the husband and the son,” said Binion.
The abuse was first reported in late November.
“I received anonymous calls within the Amish community for concern for the client’s wellbeing,” said Kim Adamson with Mid-Illinois Senior Services.
Adamson immediately reported what she heard to Adult Protective Services. They took the woman to Decatur Memorial Hospital. Torah Bontrager, founder and Executive Director of the Amish Heritage Foundation, says they didn’t use a rape kit because they said she couldn’t consent due to her dementia.
“That rape test could’ve given us the DNA that we needed to prove the sexual assault allegations, and then that perp would no longer be roaming free and threatening the safety of more children,” said Bontrager.
Bontrager hopes that the victim’s story will continue to give courage to report their abuse.
“Our next step in our work form the Amish Heritage Foundation is make sure that every child and woman knows that they are now supported to come forward,” said Bontrager.
Some members of the Amish community were at the courthouse for the hearing. They said they were just there because they were curious to know the truth about what happened.
We reached out to Decatur Memorial Hospital about the situation. They said they couldn’t comment about any specific patients, but they said they do always follow state law and provide appropriate care to all patients. They report to authorities as needed, and they take seriously all patients who arrived in their emergency room, and they have staff trained to deal with those situations.