Arrest made after woman reports childhood sex abuse more than a decade later

CHARLOTTE — A woman who says she was a victim of child sexual abuse could be closer to justice more than a decade after the alleged assaults.

Prosecutors just charged John Easter with more than a dozen sex crimes. The victim, who was younger than 16 at the time, just came forward this year.

Court records show Easter was booked into jail this week and charged with 18 counts of sex crimes, Channel 9′s Hunter Sáenz learned.

It proves that no matter how long it’s been after an alleged rape, victims can find the courage to come forward.

Police arrested 63-year-old John Easter in Gastonia last weekend. He was wanted out of Charlotte. The sex crimes he’s charged with include first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a child.

Investigators said at the time of the crimes, not only was the victim was under 16 years old, but she was younger than 13 a few times.

According to court documents, prosecutors said the crimes dated back to 2007. But a police report shows none of it was reported until this January -- more than 15 years later. It means detectives were putting in the work for months, finally bringing charges against Easter late last month.

Christina Jaquith with Safe Alliance said a timeframe like that isn’t unique.

“That doesn’t completely shock me,” she told Sáenz.

Safe Alliance is a organization that in part helps those who are sexually assaulted. There is no time limit for reporting a rape in North Carolina, and Jaquith said it often takes time.

“It obviously takes an unfathomable amount of courage to step forward to share with anybody, but especially to make a report, because you are serving up the worst thing that’s ever happened to you up on a platter to stranger,” she explained.

That courage brought charges against Easter and served a message to others.

“You’re not alone and there are people who are going to believe you and stand by you,” Jaquith said.

Easter was arrested in Gastonia and a judge there set his bond to $1 million. He was transferred to Mecklenburg County to face those charges and a judge reduced his bond to $35,000.

According to jail records, Easter bonded out Thursday morning.

(WATCH BELOW: Grandmother of 4-year-old allegedly killed, abused by mom pleads not guilty)

Hunter Sáenz

Hunter Sáenz, wsoctv.com

Hunter is a reporter for Channel 9.

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