* Editor's note - This article is the first in a series on child sexual abuse. Additional articles in the series will also run Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.
If the Washington County Health Department were to find that one in three people under the age of 18 had the flu, they'd say they had an epidemic on their hands.
Marietta Times photo illustration
But there's one epidemic raging across the state and nation that has no vaccination to take care of it.
Statistics show that one in three girls and one in four boys are sexually abused by the time they turn 18.
That figure far exceeds the standard used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to determine medical epidemics.
More to come in The Marietta Times
Weekend: A look at who the abusers of children are and how the abuse begins; the psychology of abusers and why they single out certain children; the signs of sexual abuse to look for; and the impact of abuse on the victims.
Monday: A look at the reactions to abuse parents often have and why. Also, an examination of the role of law enforcement in child sex abuse cases.
Tuesday: Solutions for families to heal and resources that can help.
Washington County victims of sexual crimes under the age of 18
2012 to date: 5.
Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office.
"And those are the numbers we know of," said Ginger Davey, a caseworker with Washington County Children Services who specializes in sexual abuse cases.
It's an issue gaining national attention recently, with the conviction a week ago of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was found guilty of 45 counts of sexually abusing 10 boys over 15 years. Sandusky gained access to children through his charity, grooming them before the abuse began. His adopted son has said he was also abused, although he was not part of the trial.
Children are often targeted for abuse because they can often be manipulated into keeping quiet through a variety of methods. There seems to be no greater threat to children of certain socioeconomic factors or any geographic fluctuation to the number of abuse cases.
Following is a series of stories of local victims of sexual abuse, compiled from interviews, testimony and court records.
The Marietta Times generally does not reveal the names of victims of sexual abuse or their families, and names within these stories are altered to protect the identity of victims.
From the age of 9 until she was 14, "Emily" and her three siblings found themselves at the mercy of a trusted family member's touch.
The man, Ronald Evans, 42, formerly of 8800 State Route 821 and now incarcerated, robbed the girl of something she cherished when he engaged in sexual intercourse with her at the tender age of 11, she said.
"You took something from me I should be able to share with my husband," Emily told Evans when he was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2007.
Beginning when she was 9, Emily found herself being fondled and groped by Evans, who exposed himself to her and asked her to touch him. Each of the four family members were abused until they reached approximately 14 years of age.
As she grew older, Evans began increasing the level of his assault against the young girl by fondling her breasts and vaginal area.
It culminated in a rape at the age of 11.
"(Evans) wouldn't even listen to me when I'd say, 'No, don't hurt me, and no, don't rape me,'" Emily said.
Emily, who was the oldest, was the first to feel Evans' abuse.
"He physically, mentally, verbally and sexually abused me all of my life, and if he has any shame in it, I am sure it is not enough to suit me," Emily said.
The oldest two girls were both raped, prompting Emily to rant against the man as he was sent to prison by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Susan Boyer.
"You have scarred me for the rest of my life, Ron Evans, remember, I carry the scar, not you," Emily said.
In his pre-sentence investigation report, given to the court at sentencing, Evans stated the sexual abuse of the girls was a result of the abuse he received when he was younger, as a family relative and his grandfather both assaulted him, according to court records.
That, however, held no sway over the four girls, who pledged to remain committed to one another despite the abuse of a family man trusted to be around them.
"You were molested when you were younger, and you turned around and not only molested your family, you raped me and "Dawn,"" Emily said.
Evans pleaded guilty to a first-degree felony count of rape, two third-degree felony counts of sexual battery and a third-degree felony count of gross sexual imposition in the case. The 25 year sentence was the maximum he could receive.
Having problems with his life at home, the Edgewood Drive residence of Daniel Keck seemed like the perfect hangout for "Drew," a 12-year-old Marietta boy.
When mom was harping about homework and going to school, it was easy to head to Keck's Marietta home to get away.
Drew said for the most part he enjoyed going to Keck's home, as he had access to Runescape, a computer game, and pornography.
Keck even purchased a Playboy magazine at his request, Drew said.
But what happened there proved to be more than just a way out of struggles at home.
As Drew's mother began to become suspicious of the relationship, she tried to keep him away from Keck's home, and Drew said he would still sneak over to the home to play video games and look at porn.
Drew was taken on trips to places like Honduras, South Carolina and Sandusky, Ohio, by Keck where he was victimized by a man trusted as a mentor to many area children.
While staying in Keck's home, Drew said he would go to sleep only to wake up to find Keck in bed with him, naked.
"When we would wake up, he'd be there," Drew said.
Keck performed both oral and anal sex on the boy, and rubbed lubricants on Drew.
Drew said he saw friends endure the same treatment.
All told, police said there were as many as 40 potential victims of Keck.
Drew was one of five children to testify in Keck's 2009 sexual abuse trial, which resulted in a 70-year prison sentence. He denied the boys' claims.
On Oct. 26, 2009, Keck began to serve his prison term, and after the man was taken to jail, Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Summers returned to the courtroom, bringing the handcuffs used to arrest Keck to Drew's mother for her to keep.
When he was just 13 years of age, "Justin" was placed into the foster care of a Parkersburg woman, who would go on to adopt the boy a few years later.
But unlike many foster children, Justin didn't find a dream home.
Instead, Donna Whited, last known address of 1176 Red Hill Road, Parkersburg, began engaging the boy in sexual intercourse for more than five years.
Whited robbed him of the experience of growing up, Justin said.
"Donna Whited has taken many things from me, teenage-wise, that I'll never get back," he said. "You know, do activities, like school dances and things like that."
The abuse didn't end until Justin fled the home at the age of 19, and at one point occurred on a daily basis for nearly a year.
During the time that Whited abused the boy, he contracted genital herpes, an incurable sexually transmitted disease.
Whited was diagnosed with Dysthmia, a depression disorder, but continued to make efforts at rekindling the relationship and abuse with Justin, and he said she attempted to deflect the relationship to him.
"She's made up lies to try to make me look bad in front of my family," Justin said.
As he tried to get away from the abusive relationship by moving away, Justin said Whited continued to affect him. He recalled a time when he was invited over to the home supposedly for a dinner with his brothers and sisters, only to find that he was the only one there.
"Even after I'd moved out, she still tried to have some kind of an impact on my life, and I just really wish that I would have never met her," he said.
Whited was sentenced in 2004 to serve five years in prison, the maximum possible sentence, after reaching a plea agreement on one count of third-degree sexual battery.
On a brisk morning day in April 2008, "Ben," a young Beverly boy, felt a little hungry.
So, the young child headed to the home of his neighbor Rodney C. Delancey, 200 Pennock St. Lot 64 in Beverly.
Delancey had a simple request for the boy before he would give him a snack, but it wasn't to help clean up the yard or run the sweeper.
"I told "Ben" to take off his shirt and sit between my legs," Delancey wrote in a detailed diary he kept.
Delancey, 55, then proceeded to masturbate in front of the boy before giving him the food he had entered the home for.
Such was the treatment given to more than 20 young boys in the Beverly area at the hands of Delancey, who was sentenced to 44 years in prison on Feb. 10, 2011, after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Delancey was arrested after a 10-year-old boy came forward, saying he had been sexually assaulted by the man.
Police confirmed the account, as Delancey kept trophies of his victims, such as pubic hairs, and recorded the exact dates and times of the abuse.
Those diary entries were so disturbing that prosecutors gave them to the defense counsel during discovery, but asked for them back so they could be destroyed at the conclusion of the case.
Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings described the diaries as written pornography.
Given the strength of the evidence, Rings said he was able to reach a plea-bargain with the man that kept any of the children from having to testify in court.
Delancey had faced roughly 100 years in prison on six first-degree felony counts of rape, three-counts of second-degree felony illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material, two counts of third-degree felony unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and one count of second-degree felony kidnapping.