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  1. News

Victim of child sex abuse moves next to alleged attacker

GAINESVILLE — A central Florida woman who says she repressed memories that she was sexually assaulted as a child ironically moved next to her alleged attacker, ultimately leading to an arrest roughly 40 years later.

The woman says her mother and aunt liked to party and often left her in the care of her aunt's boyfriend Donald Truluck, sometimes for days on end. The Associated Press is not identifying the woman because she is an alleged victim of sexual abuse.

She says that from the age of 6 to 12 years old, Truluck plied her with gifts and drugs and repeatedly raped her. The two eventually lost contact and she dropped out of high school at 16 and got married a year later. But the woman and her husband ended up moving into a mobile home on Truluck's property more than a decade ago. She had an uneasy feeling and eventually the memories returned. The 46-year-old woman filed a report with local authorities in June.

She also confronted Truluck. According to an arrest report from the Alachua County Sheriff's Office, Truluck admitted it during a phone call with the woman that authorities were recording, in which he said he knows he is "going to hell" for what he did.

Truluck, 66, has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $250,000. The statute of limitations does not apply in this case.

"It is unusual to prosecute someone for such an old allegation — not because the allegation is not serious, but because the passage of times erodes the accused's ability to get a fair trial: witnesses become unavailable, evidence disappears, memories fade or become altered," Truluck's attorney Evelyn Sapp told the Gainesville Sun in an email statement.

"In the case of Donald Truluck, he faces charges for allegations of events that happened about 40 years ago. Mr. Truluck disputes the allegations and looks forward to mounting his defense."

The woman said she decided to come forward to encourage other child sex abuse victims to do the same.

"I should have been a whistleblower as a child and I didn't know how. When I was faced with threats, I didn't know what to do. I was a kid. He would say, 'If you tell we're in big trouble.' We're in trouble, not 'I'm in trouble.' "

When the woman moved onto Truluck's property with her husband several years ago, she said she saw him every day, often taking care of him because he was sick.

"I remembered him, but as far as the traumatic events, I buried it all. Once we got back in contact and we lived there, I didn't want to be alone with him. I knew that," she said. "I remembered nothing and then probably about six years ago, I started having flashbacks, images. I had to go seek therapy and during that is when everything came to light. After years of working on it, it all came up."

After confronting Truluck, woman said the family moved out almost immediately, still owed money on the mobile home and now had to pay rent at a new place.

"I just want the community to know that if there is somebody who is afraid to come forward, don't be afraid. The police are there to help us and we just have to trust them to do their job, and that's what they did for me," she said.