MANCHESTER, Conn. -- A California man appeared in court on Friday on charges of sexually assaulting his stepdaughter while the family lived in Connecticut.
Willard Thompson is accused of touching his ste pd aughter over a period of six years while her mother was suffering from thyroid cancer and a heart condition.
The mother, Kristina Thompson, told Eyewitness News that her now-teen daughter has been acting out in school and that it wasn't until last May that the girl revealed the secret she had been hiding since 1999.
"Yesterday was symbolic day as we boarded the plane, I realized it was exactly a year to the date my daughter said 'Mom, he touched me," Kristina Thompson told Eyewitness News.She said that she and her daughter flew across the country to attend the court appearance.
During Friday's preliminary hearing, the state offered Willard Thompson a minimum of nine months and a maximum of three years in prison.
Kristina Thompson said that the family is worried that Thompson will accept the plea deal and never admit to their allegations.
Kristina Thompson said her daughter told her that Willard Thompson molested her over a six-year period, beginning when she was 8.
"I have a heart condition, and it's exacerbated by stress and my daughter's quite aware of that, and she said her fear was if she told me, it would have killed me," Kristina Thompson said.
According to court documents, the molestation occurred mainly at the family's Manchester home.
"What he did, yes, was unconscionable, but what makes it even worse is when he did it -- when I was battling cancer, when I was fighting for my life, when he was helping himself to my daughter," Kristina Thompson said.
Willard Thompson is scheduled to return to court in July. The judge denied his attorney's request that he be exempt from court.