A woman was forced to track down her own rapist -- her father -- after he fled the country following charges that he had been raping his daughter for 10 years, starting when she was 3 years old. As if that's not horrible enough, the woman's own mother helped him escape. Heather Orr's father, Frank Hertel, was facing trial in Arizona when Orr was 18, but days before, he fled to Germany with Orr's mom, Judy, and their son, Heather's brother.
They stayed there for nine long years, running a bar and grill under fake names, and leaving Orr back in the States to wrestle with what had happened to her and how not only her father, but her mother betrayed her.
But in 2009, she typed her father's name into Google and found that her grandfather had been arrested for tax fraud. Orr decided to contact some of the people in the article, and through that, she was able to find out where her father was hiding. She turned the information over to police.
Between his trials in Ohio and Arizona, where he pleaded guilty to various charges including rape, Hertel will spend up to 95 years in prison, only eligible for parole when he's 71.
Hertel wept uncontrollably during his Ohio sentencing, where Heather read a statement to the judge. Hertel interrupted it in order to wail, "I'm so sorry, Heather!" as she bravely stared straight ahead. (How like a monster to try to make her moment about his pain!)
Heather lost her childhood -- and her family. And imagine having your mother actively help your molester escape charges. Maybe she simply believed her husband over her daughter? Unfortunately, no word on whether the mother will be arrested too.
Heather Orr is left to pick up the pieces of her life but has gotten closure from her father's sentencing. She's planning on writing a book and actively helps other abuse victims. But she says she fights every day to be happy. I hope she keeps fighting. She deserves all the happiness in the world.
Do you think the mother should be charged too? What if there is no proof she knew what had happened?
Image via NBC4