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Wife of man facing child sex abuse charges shocked, confused

Updated: Friday, March 7 2014, 06:29 PM EST

By: Maria Miller

EVERETT, Pa. -- A Bedford County man is in jail, accused of raping three young girls. Investigators said the abuse happened through the course of several years and the victims all vowed to keep quiet out of fear. The man is facing 2,426 counts of rape, sexual assault and corruption of minors.
The criminal complaint is graphic. It’s 14 pages of allegations from the three victims who told police Michael Edmonson sexually abused and raped them for years, beginning when they were as young as 5.
"They had essentially agreed many years ago to never report this as long as he promised not to touch the younger girl," said Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins. "They held that awful secret in for all these years and when they found out that he had moved on to molesting their younger sister, they couldn't live with themselves if they didn't report it, so they came forward to police."
A criminal complaint filed Thursday details hundreds of sex acts the girls told police took place in their home, at Edmonson’s place of work, in an old farmhouse and random spots along back roads.
Court documents said one of the girls would often "sleep curled up in a ball with the covers wrapped around [her] and would hope and pray that he would not come into [her] room."
Another girl told police he threatened them, one time taking "a sawed off shotgun he had in the car and held it to [her] head and told [her] he would kill [her] if [she] didn't do as [she] was told."
"With a guy like this, I'm positive that the only way I can keep him from molesting children is to keep him behind bars," Higgins said. "I'm going to do everything I can to see to it that he's there until he's no longer on this earth.

"It's a shock," said Travis Gould, who lives next door to Edmonson in Everett. "For someone you know for a couple of years, someone who babysits your kids, it's a shock."
But no one could be more shocked and sickened than Edmonson's wife of 16 years.

"I'm very much confused. I never thought he was capable of that," she told 6 News Friday.

The woman didn't want to show her face, but through tears she talked about the life she's shared with Edmonson and the sheer confusion, shock and grief she's now forced to carry with her every day.
"It's so confusing. It's just so hard," she said. "I don't even know what to think anymore. My life has changed. Everyone's life has changed that's impacted by this."
"People like him, the only way you protect children from sexual predators is to put them behind bars," said Higgins. "As long as they're breathing air there's a possibility they'll molest another child because that's what they're interested in. So my goal whenever I'm dealing with one of these pedophiles, one of these creeps, I'll put them in jail as long as I can."

Police said two of the alleged victims in the case came forward after several years of abuse. It's a trend that's been seen in many recent sex abuse cases and authorities don't believe it's a coincidence. Higgins said he doesn't necessarily think there's been an increase in occurrences, but rather an increase in reportings because of the attention the stories are getting.
"As a society we've no longer stigmatized the victims," Higgins said. "We do more to support victims and show victims that it's not their fault that this person offended them, hurt them, and we're going to hold them accountable and that that victim is in no way to blame."
Higgins added that he hopes this case, like others, will bring hope and courage to victims who haven't yet come forward.
In the meantime Edmonson remains in the Bedford County Jail in lieu of $100, 000 bail.

Wife of man facing child sex abuse charges shocked, confused

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times