Child rape victim overcomes infertility to start a family

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by Sherry Williams / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on July 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 3 at 10:51 AM

DICKINSON, Texas—In August of 1990, 8-year-old Jennifer Schuett was found barely alive in a field in Dickinson.

Nineteen-year-old Dennis Bradford, a teen who had taken a course in butchering, randomly snatched Schuett through her bedroom window, drove her to a field, sexually assaulted her and left her for dead in a fireant pile.

Nineteen years later, in a cold case victory, police caught Bradford in Arkansas and he told them everything.

"She was an innocent... and I was a sick, deranged, beat up, little (expletive) punk," he told a Dickinson police detective and an FBI agent during an interrogation after he was arrested.

"I told that little girl that I was a police officer. I had strangled her to the point of unconsciousness," he said.

After Bradford’s capture, Schuett became an advocate and public speaker with a vengeance, but amazingly with no anger.

"I always felt like that wouldn’t get me anywhere. Like being angry, what is, where is that going to get me?" she said.

She even reached out to Bradford’s family.

"He was a person, you know what I mean," Schuett said, "From what I understand he was actually a really great father."

Bradford hung himself in May of 2010 in the Galveston County Jail. Schuett never got her day in court.

"It was, like, ripped away from me," she said.

Despite everything, she built a happy life with her boyfriend Jonathan. They decided to start a family.

"I am an only child and I’ve just always wanted this big family. That’s just always been a big dream of mine," Schuett said.

But Schuett's dream was in danger when she learned the sexual assault had severely damaged her reproductive system. 

"I just felt like, this is one more thing that may be ripped away from me," she said.

Schuett and her partner could not afford $10,000 to $20,000 fertility treatments.

So her doctor and his partners donated Schuett’s treatments and their services.

"Told them what the financial constraints were and there was no conversation. Done deal," said Dr. Craig Witz, M.D. at the Houston Fertility Institute.

It worked. Schuett is now five-months pregnant with a little girl.

"I kinda feel like this is my justice, you know. Every obstacle that’s been thrown my way having to do with the attack, I feel like I have overcome it," Shuett said. "I have cried so many happy tears."

Schuett hopes her story inspires other survivors.

"There’s got to be so many people out there that have infertility issues as a result of forcible rape, you know, especially being a child," she said.

From a field where detectives picked up her tattered clothing, Schuett has come an unimaginably long way, as she happily anticipates this next chapter in her incredible story of triumph.

 

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