Sexual abuse victim goes public as grandfather sentenced for pro - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Sexual abuse victim goes public as grandfather sentenced for probation violation

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James Estes, 81, sits in a Jefferson Co. courtroom as a judge sentences him to 60 days for violating his probation. James Estes, 81, sits in a Jefferson Co. courtroom as a judge sentences him to 60 days for violating his probation.
Katya Estes says she can no longer stay silent about the sexual abuse she endured and hopes other victims speak out as well. Katya Estes says she can no longer stay silent about the sexual abuse she endured and hopes other victims speak out as well.
James Estes (Courtesy: Metro Corrections) James Estes (Courtesy: Metro Corrections)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A teenage victim of sexual abuse refuses to stay silent any longer, revealing how the abuse has ripped apart her family as she fights for harsher punishments.

Katya Estes, 18, bravely walked into a Jefferson County courtroom Monday and sat within feet of the man who's caused her so many nightmares -- her own grandfather.

"It's been a long journey and I've been fighting this case for a really long time," she said.

James Estes, 81, pled guilty in 2010 to raping his granddaughter. He's convicted of first degree sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 12.

"I committed a sin, there's no question about that," James Estes said.

He has admitted his wrongdoing yet has avoided spending a single day behind bars. His five-year sentence was downgraded to probation.

"This is hard, these are sexual abuse cases in our community. It's family members," said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Sara Farmer, with the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Unit.

The Estes family was back in the court Monday to fight for jail time, arguing the grandfather violated the terms of his probation.

James Estes admitted going to Katya's siblings' workplace. He wanted an employee to pass along a message to his grandchildren.

It was the last straw for Katya's mother.

"There's not that relationship anymore as far as my children are concerned. This man is not a grandfather," her mother said.

"We should make it better, we should make sexual abuse known to the community but how is it getting fixed when no one is talking about it?" said Katya Estes.

Judge James Shake had little mercy for her grandfather.

"I feel very certain that you knew you were violating my orders by having this contact," Shake said. "I'm going to sentence you to 60 days in the county jail."

"It's better to live with telling people what really happened," Katya Estes said.

After feeling like she didn't have a voice for so long, Katya found it, and she's hoping other victims will find theirs too.

"I think people should speak up and I think they should fight for their own justice," she added.

James Estes was booked into Metro Corrections Monday afternoon.

Judge Shake said if he has any more physical or verbal contact with Katya, or any of her immediate family, his probation will be revoked.

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