A 13-year-old sat in Dutchess County Court Tuesday morning and faced her rapist, a man who was "treated like a cousin," according to her grandmother.
"As a boy we brought you into our family," the grandmother wrote in a statement directed at Justin O'Dell. "We wanted nothing but the best for you ... You even lived under my roof for a period of time. What we failed to see was that you were a sexual predator."
Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Joelle Morabito-Cruz read the statement in court on Tuesday. Then, the family and the victim watched Judge Peter Forman sentence the 26-year-old Poughkeepsie man to 14 years in state prison.
Forman commended the teen and the family for coming forward to authorities to ultimately "bring Mr. O'Dell to justice."
The grandmother's wrote O'Dell knew what he was doing and said he told the victim to not tell anyone.
"You've stolen her youth, you've stolen her innocence, you ensured a future in where she will forever enter relationships with fear that it is just to be used again," the grandmother wrote. "Her experience with you cannot be erased."
The Journal does not identify victims of sex crimes or individuals whose identity could lead to the victims being identified.
The victim also submitted an impact statement to the court but asked it not be read out loud at the sentencing.
O'Dell declined to make a statement.
He was also sentenced to 15 years post-release supervision and will be assigned sex offender status before he is released. The victim also received an order of protection.
O'Dell was arrested on July 9 by state police, who said he had sexual contact with the victim in the towns of Clinton and Stanford.
He pleaded guilty on Jan. 15 to the second-degree rape of a child, three counts of second-degree criminal sexual act, all felonies; and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Morabito-Cruz commended the victim's mother for conducting a recorded phone call conversation with O'Dell, which she said provided evidence that lead to O'Dell's plea and "saved this child from having to testify again."
Robert Demono, who represented O'Dell, said his client agreed to the plea to "save the victim from the trauma of testifying in front of a jury." He had originally pleaded not guilty on Aug. 28.
The investigation was assisted by Dutchess County Child Advocacy Center and the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department.
Forman said often families and victims in this situation think to not bring it to authorities.
"This is going to be with her forever," Forman said about the victim. "It's my hope that she can be able to move toward a healing place and that you will be stronger hopefully in the long run."