TAMPA, Fla. — Prosecutors say James Walther never showed any remorse during his trial. Today a judge sentenced him to 35-years in prison for raping a 14-year-old family member.
“He pulled into his bedroom and forced himself on her. In another incident, he attacked her as she was watching tv,” said Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren.
Warren said the victim was afraid to report the crimes because she would have nowhere to live. But four years later she came forward, with the trauma still fresh.
“Even the movie that was playing on the tv during one of the attacks is burned into her mind,” said Warren.
Warren said Walther is one of about 300 child predators his office helped convict in the last five years after a reorganization of the Special Victim’s Unit.
“What do we do about this problem in society? We prosecute people. We prosecute people who pose a threat to our children. We do it relentlessly and we get long prison sentences. That’s what these men and women do every single day.”
The State Attorney said prosecuting these cases isn't easy, the said children are often reluctant to come forward, and if they do, they have to relive the trauma in court.
“It’s hard for someone who is so young, who has gone through something so traumatic that no one should ever have to go through to come into a foreign environment, talk about it with strangers, and have to go into a public courtroom and testify about it,” said Warren.
To help kids during the process, the SVU office has a children’s room, a place to comfort those who are victims of sex crimes. The room actually got a makeover from a former victim who is now a girl scout and wanted to give back to others going through the same trauma she did.