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A high school student's essay led to her alleged abuser's conviction

Photo: Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office

When an Ohio high school class was given an assignment to write about overcoming obstacles, the teacher had no idea what one student had been through.

Toledo’s WTOL TV reported Thursday that a student had submitted an essay about the sexual assault she and two sisters had suffered years ago. When the essay was submitted, the school, Fremont’s Vanguard Tech Center, contacted local authorities.

The sheriff’s office then conducted an investigation into the claims the student had made. Following the investigation, 43-year-old Anthony Knight pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of rape. He will be sent to prison for 20 years, WTOL reported. The Fremont News Messenger reported Wednesday that Knight will be required to register as a Tier III sex offender.

“The class was asked, I believe, to write an essay pertaining to obstacles that they had overcome in their life, and she had disclosed that she had been sexually abused as a child,” Detective Sgt. Kenneth Arp of the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office told WTOL.

The Associated Press noted that the student’s siblings were also interviewed about the assault. One of the sisters was reportedly abused when she was just 7 years old.

“I think that these types of things happen a lot more often than what the average person might think that it does,” Arp told WTOL. “I think that if you talk to different investigators around the area, they will tell you that they work a lot of sexual assault cases similar to this. This one happens to have a positive outcome, and unfortunately a lot don’t, but I think it sends a great message.”

Arp’s words are a powerful reminder that while justice was achieved in this case, there are many other instances of sexual abuse that don’t have the same result. According to data collected by RAINN from 2013 to 2017, as many as 63,000 children a year may be sexually abused in the United States.

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