Clutching a fuzzy white bear and wearing a bright smile, the blond 7-year-old climbed onto a stool in the courtroom and looked down at a pink sheet of paper adorned with stickers.
The smile disappeared almost immediately as she recounted a horror story.
Instead of celebrating the last day of first grade with her friends and family, the girl in the flowery pink dress described to a hushed courtroom a series of horrific sex acts that a former neighbor and trusted baby-sitter, Peter Ansell, forced her to perform. And she wasn't the only one.
After hearing from the girl, her parents and the parents of two other victims, King County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Fox sentenced Ansell to a minimum of 10 years in prison. But Ansell's ultimate sentence will be decided by the state's Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board, which could impose a life term. [...]
Ansell pleaded guilty last month to three counts of first-degree child molestation. His lawyer, Richard Hansen, insisted that his client only assaulted the girl who testified. [...]
The mother of the 7-year-old girl said that her daughter often asks her parents why she was molested.
"She wants to become a teacher, an advocate or a lawyer who takes pride in prosecuting monsters so she can prevent this from happening to other children," she said. "I tell her that she has saved her 2-year-old sister and our neighbor who is also 2 from having this happen to them. She is very proud."