R&B singer Sara Stokes, the Port Huron native who told her story of abuse and molestation in the Free Press in December, said she is relieved and saddened by her father’s recent conviction and sentencing on child sexual abuse charges.
Jay Christopher Miller, 63, of Port Huron, pleaded guilty in 31st Circuit Court in St. Clair County in late April to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a minor under age 13, and a single count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, second offense.
He was sentenced May 22, and will serve 10-30 years on the first two counts, and 10-15 years on the second-degree count. The earliest possible date of his release is Nov. 8, 2036. He’ll be 82.
“When I spoke up and said he did this to me at 12 years old and when he did this to my friend, nobody did anything,” Stokes said. “And then I also said it again at 16 that he had molested me and nobody did anything. So if they would have listened to me, and actually investigated that, this young little child would have never experienced that or anybody else that he possibly did it to but never got caught.
“It hurts me that it took this long for him to finally face the consequences of his actions and that someone else had to be hurt, too. I’m happy he is off the streets for that, but it’s bittersweet because it is my dad. I just hoped he would have gotten help before all of this.”
Stokes, 40, appeared in the first two seasons of BET Centric’s reality show, “From the Bottom Up,” and is working now on a documentary about her life. She said revealing the truth about her history of abuse has helped her move on.
“In a way, it set me a little bit more free that now everyone can hear him say that he really did do this, but then it also was hurtful because he never acknowledged that he did it to me,” she said.
“I feel like making this step, and really being honest, and not worrying what anybody was going to say, you know, even family, was important. Because a lot of family was upset about me being open and letting the world know about this. Everybody wants to be hush-hush about something like that in the family because it’s embarrassing. It’s like, oh, don’t put the business out there.
“But I was suffering in silence, so I’m like I’m not going to keep on protecting the person that hurt me, even if it is my father. And it’s painful that it was him. … But by being honest, it really is helping me heal the wounds that I’ve had my whole life.”
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SOURCE: Kristen Jordan Shamus
Detroit Free Press