Victim Of Sexual Molestation Says Even Elderly Can Victimize

"There's no words to tell you what it does to a whole family of people when one person has been molested."

We'll call her Mary. Molested at the hands of her grandfather years ago, she says the struggle to reclaim her life and her dignity is never ending.

"You never feel that you are quite good enough, or that you deserve the love that someone wants to give you."

Seeing our report about elderly sex offenders who live in nursing homes, she has a story to tell. There is no way to know how many children he abused, she says, and no way to know how many lives were destroyed by a grandfather no one suspected.

"He looked well, he dressed well. There was nothing that looked different."

From the age of four through her pre-teen years, he was there. The episodes of abuse are hard to hear.

"He didn't even try to hide it. It didn't seem to bother him that someone might see him."

As he grew older, Mary says her grandfather's nature did not change. It was about control, about power, over the powerless.

"They have them where they want you. You believe what an older person tells you. And if they've done this to you and they threaten you, you believe they will do it. You live through all the years of adulthood with this secret, that eventually comes out in physical forms."

She and her four sisters were all abused and all divorced. Mary says molestation, even if it happens once, scars for life. It made her run in fear from anyone who loved her.

"[It's hard] for a normal person to come home and for their wife to get in the corner, and they have to pull them out of the corner. They don't understand why it does something to your marriage after so many years."

When her grandfather was in his eighties, the sickening pattern continued, even in a place where children feel safe.

"They lived near a fast food restaurant and he would go and stand around just looking trying to see if a child went in a restroom by his self."

"A sex offender does not stop. They continue throughout their life. I don't care if they are 89 years old, they are going to continue."

As she tells her story, Mary says her power and courage keeps returning to her life. Years after, she finally said no, and took a stand.

"He came over one day and he started unbuttoning my clothes. I've always known that Jesus loved me. And suddenly from the depths of my soul, came the courage. And I turned around and looked at him and told him 'Stop. You can't do that anymore.'"

She says never let your child out of your sight, even at a nursing home. And always ask questions of patients in the home, no matter how tough.

"If you do see your mother or your daddy, and they act differently, find out why. Don't let it continue."

To find out if a sex offender lives in your neighborhood, go back to the home page and click on the "Know More on 7" icon on the right side of the home page. There, you'll see the "Texas Sex Offender Database" link.

Morgan Palmer, reporting.