Woman says system failed 3 girls sexually abused by adoptive father
(WHAS11) - A local man is pleading guilty to abuse that spanned more than a decade.
But a New Albany woman says his abuse was ignored for far too long.
Charles Sparks' three victims were his three adopted daughters and if a judge accepts his plea deal he faces 20 years in prison and 10 years probation.
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LaDonna McDonald says justice has been a long time coming for these girls that she knew very well.
She says the system failed the girls from the start, when they were removed from a sexually abusive home and placed with Sparks and his wife. The girls told investigators Sparks started abusing them within a year of their adoption.
Ladonna says the legal system is failure.
For years LaDonna McDonald says she knew of the horrors that happened in the home behind hers at the hands of Charles Sparks.
"What's the first reaction to that name? The first reaction? Kill. You want to kill him. You want to see him dead. He tortured three girls and I mean every day, they have went through pure hell."
She says the victims, his three adopted daughters, confided in her about the abuse they endured night after night.
One day one of the girls approached her in her driveway visibly shaken and upset.
"She had tears coming down her cheek and she said 'no.' And I said, 'what's wrong?' She said, ‘I'm afraid I'm going to get pregnant.’ I said, 'I didn't know you had a boyfriend,'” said LaDonna.
“Because she's how old at this point?” asked WHAS 11 News Reporter Adrianna Hopkins.
“12. She said, ‘I don't have a boyfriend, I'm talking about my dad’," said LaDonna.
Broken hearted, LaDonna says she called Child Protective Services. In 2001, CPS investigated, and removed Sparks from the home for a while. But when the case went to court, the judge dismissed it, and Sparks was free to go home. And LaDonna says for years the abuse continued.
LaDonna says the system is broken and it failed these girls and has failed her in the past.
"And my daughters have struggled with that. So I can only imagine what these three are going through. And it's got to stop. These men and some women have got to learn stop picking on these kids. Stop picking on these babies,” she said.
WHAS11 News contacted Indiana Department of Child Services and they said: "We cannot comment on the specifics of the case. We are pleased justice has been served and that this man is behind bars."
LaDonna still keeps in contact with the victims -- the girls she says she tried to save.
“How are they doing?” asked Adrianna.
“They're trying to live a normal life,” said LaDonna.
“Is it possible?” asked Adrianna.
“I don't think so. You can see it in their face. To me I would say, they're ruined.”
This plea deal means that Charles Sparks will plead guilty to three counts of child molesting and could spend 20 years in prison. Ladonna says she's not sure if that's enough. Because if Sparks was convicted of the 58 counts he was charged with -- he could have faced 1,914 years in jail. Ladonna says his victims have told her, they want him to die behind bars.