Abuser loses rights over victim's sister

October 30, 2008 8:35:11 PM PDT
An imprisoned sex offender knows he can never see his daughter again. A jury decided Greg Wellman cannot be a father to his victim's sister. In a follow up to an In Focus report from September, we caught up with the family to find out what happened, and why the abuser's father is on trial too.Greg Wellman -- a convicted sex offender -- was hoping to be released from prison and spend time with daughter, who is also his victim's stepsister. Just after Hurricane Ike, a jury said said no.

"My kids are safe," said Catherine Friddle, the victim's mother. "No one can force them to see him again."

Catherine Friddle's daughter, the victim, is now 20 years old, so she can stay away on her own, but courts could have ordered visitation for her sister.

"I know what he's capable of doing and I didn't want him to do it to her," the victim said.

Wellman maintains even today he was sleepwalking and didn't know how he got into the girl's bed. A jury convicted him on that in 2000, but it took eight more years to terminate his rights as a dad. The day after a jury terminated Wellman's rights, Friddle's new husband adopted the victim's sister.

" That was a great experience," Wade Friddle said.

But it wasn't the end. At the minute the adoption was going on, police were arresting Greg Wellman's father Richard. He too had abused the girl -- 10 years ago -- and somehow avoided arrest.

The victim said, "He's sick and needs to be put away."

A year after the abuse, Richard Wellman wrote a letter to his step granddaughter.

"I want to first apologize for the hurt and pain I have caused you," he wrote. "I also want to apologize for the misuse of your trust and love... My actions were very wrong."

It's not enough.

"That apology didn't really mean much," the victim said.

Catherine said, "Maybe he wanted forgiveness, maybe he was thinking I would not press charges."

It didn't work. The 61-year-old will soon face his own trial.

Friddle family attorney Kim Ogg said, "It took two courthouses and 10 years and we still have a third one to go in Dallas. It's not done yet."

But it's closer. Tonight a mother and her daughter finally feel a little safer.

"This is definitely the beginning of a happy ending," the victim said.

That 20-year-old says it will finally be over for her when she sees her former stepfather and stepgrandfather in prison jumpsuits.

There is no way under Texas law for sex offenders to be stripped of their parental rights. Catherine Friddle says she will work to change that.

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