NPR aired a gut-wrenching report a few minutes ago on Elizabeth Smart’s first-public testimony of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her abductor, Brian David Mitchell. The most painful part of this story for me is the way that Mitchell, like so many other wicked, wicked men who rape and abuse children, exploited God to coerce smart into having sex with him. Time after time:
Her father, mother, grandmother, siblings, uncles and other relatives watched from the first row of seats. Mitchell had been kicked out of the courtroom before Smart arrived because he wouldn’t stop his incessant singing of hymns. He watched and listened from a holding cell as Smart described him as evil, wicked, manipulative, stinky, slimy, selfish, not spiritual, not religious and not close to God.
Prosecutors used Smart’s testimony to underscore their central point: Mitchell, they insist, is faking mental illness so he won’t have to go trial. For 100 minutes, Smart described Mitchell as a sex-crazed hypocrite who used religion to get sex, food, drugs and alcohol. She maintained her composure when describing her first rape shortly after her abduction. She said Mitchell raped her three to four times a day during her nine months as his captive.
Smart said Mitchell’s manner was extremely crude. She quoted him telling her he was going to “F- - - her eyes out.”
If she showed resistance or hesitation, she said, he told her, “The Lord wants you to experience this.”
Sounds way too familiar with a handful of the Catholic priest molestation cases I covered.
I imagine Smart’s ordeal weighed heavily on her relationship with God, especially after Mitchell pained such an awful picture, for many months. Likely even years. But it doesn’t seem to have permanently scarred that part of Smart’s life. She testified today to get it out of the way. She’s getting ready to go out on her Mormon mission.
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