Some people's actions are so twisted and sick, it's really difficult to write about them without getting worked up. Justin Vance is a 28-year-old man who volunteered with the Special Olympics and was taken in by a trusting family in exchange for helping them with home projects. Instead of repaying them by simply being an honorable person who fulfilled his commitments, he allegedly did something reprehensible that has turned their lives upside down: he impregnated their 13-year-old daughter, who has autism.
Vance was arrested this week and charged with first degree sexual assault and is being held on a $250,000 bond. According to reports, the man -- who slept on the family's couch -- pursued a relationship with the teen, and I'm not sure if I think that's even sicker because the whole thing is far too sick to be true.
The family told cops back in September that they suspected Vance was acting in an immoral way with their daughter and an investigation took place. It's unclear whether the girl was impregnated by Vance prior to the investigation or whether the man continued to pursue her, despite the cops' involvement. The teen's family discovered her pregnancy in January, and the girl admitted that she and Vance had kissed and had sex on the family's couch.
Just to get a feel for this child's innocence: she only confessed about their sexual relationship after a doctor told her it was the only way she could pregnant. She had to be told that sex could lead to pregnancy. I know lots of teens are savvy, but in no way does this sound like a girl who knew the deal. Vance totally took advantage of her in every conceivable way AND betrayed a family that did far more for him than I admit I ever would.
We aren't sure if this family has strong religious beliefs, but the teen's father says they plan on keeping the baby because he or she is "innocent" and shouldn't be punished for what Vance did.
They clearly respect life, and I think that is commendable. Personally, I wouldn't want to put my young daughter through the pain and confusion of pregnancy and labor -- particularly considering she has autism and I couldn't be sure how something so traumatic would affect her. But then, my views on abortion are probably far more liberal than theirs, and there is no way I could expect them to go against their beliefs. I wish them the best and hope they can pull through this difficult time and that this young girl isn't completely destroyed by this incident.
As for Vance -- may he receive the harshest penalty possible.
What do you think of Vance's betrayal and this family's decision to keep the baby?
Image via .v1ctor Casale/Flickr