Hardin County man confesses to molesting 6-year-old but won't se - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Hardin County man confesses to molesting 6-year-old but won't serve jail time (WARNING: GRAPHIC)

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Bennie Caswell was confronted by WDRB's Gilbert Corsey as he left the courthouse. Bennie Caswell was confronted by WDRB's Gilbert Corsey as he left the courthouse.

WARNING: The following story contains information of a graphic sexual nature. The reader is urged to exercise discretion before continuing.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There was an explosion of tears and anger in a Hardin County, Kentucky, courtroom as a 40-year-old rape case came to a conclusion.

At the time of the crime, the victim was just six years old, but today, 40-years-later, the suspect pleaded guilty.

Trish Garrison held tightly to a picture of her 6-year-old self, vividly sharing her story of how she, as a young girl, was molested by her neighbor. 

"I see innocence that was never fulfilled -- a child who just never knew what joy really is," Garrison said.

"I laid there thinking you were killing me because you said I had to bleed," she said.

Garrison waited 40 years for this moment: to hear Bennie Caswell say he did it.

"How do you plead to the count against you?" the judge asked.

"Guilty," Caswell said.

WDRB's Gilbert Corsey confronted Caswell about his admission as he left the courtroom.

"Mr. Caswell is there anything you'd like to say?" Corsey asked.

"Get out of the way!" Caswell shouted.

"Are there any other victims?" Corsey asked.

"No!" Caswell said. "Leave me the [EXPLETIVE] alone!"

It was 1976 and he was 15 at the time of the crime. But despite his confession today, Caswell walked out of Hardin County Circuit Court with his freedom. He was only given a year  of probated sentence and three years of diversion. He faces no jail time, because he took a plea deal for one count of sexual abuse.

"We had to go with the laws in effect in 1976," said Sgt. Ryan Johnson of Kentucky State Police. "Much different than they are currently."

The reason it took so long to bring the case forward is because Garrison says her parents didn't want to file charges when she told them. But in 2012, she learned there was no statute of limitations for a victim as young as she was at the time.

Another hurdle came in the form of the fact that Caswell is related to the Hardin County Circuit Court Clerk, meaning the state had to bring in a special clerk, a special prosecutor and a special judge.

When state police confronted Caswell, they say he confessed. 

"I was powerless and I was afraid of you," Garrison said in court.

It may have taken 40 years to get here, but Garrison says it was worth the wait.

"There are other girls out there hurting," she said. "It's hard to believe I'm the only victim, and if there are other girls out there he has hurt, I want them to know they can come forward. They will be believed and they can seek justice."

Detectives say that, at this time, there are no other known victims. If someone wishes to come forward, they should contact Kentucky State Police.

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