BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- A young woman with an auditory processing disorder has undertaken a push for change after she learned that time had run out for justice.
"My story begins when I was a young girl and I was molested by my cousin at the age of 13," Ashley Foster, now 21, recently told the congregation at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church. "I did not speak up. I kept what was going on to me a secret because I didn't want my dad to hurt him or kill him."
Foster said the molestation continued for years -- at home, near a library and after church services on Sundays.
She said that when she finally summoned the courage to tell her family and officers at the Boynton Beach Police Department, too much time had passed for her cousin to be charged.
"Those individuals who are victims of that sort of molestation without penetration, like Ashley, are left out in the cold," Genevieve Cousminer, an executive director at the Coalition for Independent Living Options said. "They have no means of obtaining justice."
According to the Boynton Beach Police Department, Foster's cousin confessed to the molestation but will not be charged because the statute of limitations in cases such as hers expires in three years.
"We practically raised him. And, for him to do this to my daughter, I'm enraged. I'm very upset," Salah Foster, Ashley Foster's father said. "We definitely wanted to prosecute. We definitely wanted him in jail for what he did. He deserves to be in jail."
Foster said she planned to lobby the Florida Legislature and others to change or eliminate the statute of limitations for cases similar to hers.
"It doesn't fully help me get over what happened, but it does help me out a lot to know that I actually did something instead of sitting there wondering, 'Well, if I did this, what would have happened?' "
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