Go like and share her fb page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ashleys-Law/539156806166963
My name is Ashley and I want to tell my story in hopes that it will encourage other teens and young adults to find their voice and speak up about the abuse they might have gone through. It should never be too late to prosecute someone that hurts you. My efforts regarding making some changes in the law to protect children who have been molested prior to age 21 and wanting to press charges as an adult began once I found my voice and went to the police to report my abuse.
I was molested at the age of 13 years old until I was 18 years old by my 23 year old cousin James Rashawn Johnson. I kept this a secret to protect my parents from going to jail and leaving me and my two brothers without any parents. Both of my brothers have a disability. I thought at the age of 13 this was the best thing to do to keep my family together and protect my Aunt from loosing one of her sons especially after the death of my grandfather.
I was 20 years old when my family found out. I received counseling immediately and decided to press charges. It took me 6 months to work on my timeline and course of events with my counselor. This was very hard to do because I had to relive such painful and humiliating memories. My parents and I went to the police together and it took all day. The police were very nice and they did a controlled phone call and I had to talk to Rashawn on the phone. They got him on tape confessing of his crime and apologizing for what he did to me. I could not believe that even with this evidence they were still unable to arrest him. You see it was then we found out there was a Statute of limitations and I missed my chance to press charges by 60 days. Currently the law protects the predators and this was not acceptable to be.
When I told my parents how serious I was my mom spoke with Brandy Macaluso (victim of crime specialist) who put her in touch with an Attorney named Michael Dolce who helps other survivors that have been abused. He wrote the draft bill to change the statute of limitations. We met with Senator Benacquisto’s assistant in Ft. Myers and we were informed that she was willing to sponsor the Bill in the Senate. Representative Mark Pafford assisted us in understanding this process and sent the draft to the house. State Attorney David Aronberg met with us and allowed us to use his office and staff to meet and support. I felt totally supported by my parents, Pastor Stanley and Youth Pastor Guerra along with the two Detectives from Boynton Police department all met with us to start the process. Everything started to take a life of it’s own when my parents along with Genevieve Cousminer (Executive Director of CILO) and Attorney Dolce met with Mr. Ron Book. We received help from Mr. Ron Book the father of Lauren Book she is the director of Lauren's Kids. He is a top lobbyist in the state of Florida and is supporting this Statute change. He was very helpful and shared his story of his daughter Lauren. He understood my dad very well.
We currently have sponsors for the proposed bill in both the House of Representative (bill 445) and Florida Senate (bill 494). It’s not easy to have both the Republicans and Democrats willing to work together. I believe that God is using my voice and my story to help others. This statute change will protect all children and young adults like me that find the courage to speak out at any age and will allow them the ability to prosecute anyone who hurts them.