A courageous victim of a paedophile church elder who preyed on her as a naive schoolgirl spoke out because she feared he may abuse other youngsters.
Brave Karen Morgan, 38, told how she reported her uncle’s depraved behaviour to the police in order to protect others.
Jehovah’s Witnesses elder Mark Sewell stripped to his underwear to fondle his niece and bribed her with alcohol – then cynically told her no-one would believe her if she reported the abuse.
Depraved grandfather Sewell, 53, was today jailed for 14 years after being found guilty of eight historic sex charges, including rape, between 1987 and 1995.
Three of the seven indecent assaults he was convicted of relate to his systematic abuse of Karen when she was aged between 12 and 14.
Mother-of-two Karen, who has waived her legal right to anonymity to speak with us, described disgraced businessman Sewell as “dangerous”.
She said: “I’m relieved that everybody now knows what he has done, what he is capable of.”
During a three-week trial at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court jurors heard how manipulative Sewell would kiss his niece using his tongue and would pull her on top of his body as he lay on the sofa of his £200,000 terraced house in Porthkerry Road, Barry.
Describing the moment jurors returned unanimous guilty verdicts on three counts relating to the abuse, Karen told us: “To be honest the first thing I felt was really sad about it because I felt that there was no reason it should have ended up in court.
“If he had told the truth at the time this would have been done and dusted – my children would never have had to know about it and he may not have hurt anyone else, I don’t know.
“Part of me was very happy that someone had finally believed me, that the jury believed me and [the other victims], because no-one else ever did.”
The jury also acquitted Sewell of a further indecent assault charge against Karen, while Judge Richard Twomlow directed them to return not guilty verdicts on another two charges.
After Karen first reported the sickening abuse as a teenager she was forced to face Sewell at three meetings organised by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Respect church elder Sewell branded her a liar and avoided being disciplined.
“I think that’s probably the worst part about the whole thing. I would even go as far as to say that it’s even worse than what he did to me,” said Karen.
“To say I was crushed would be a bit of an understatement. The bottom line is no child should ever be made to sit in front of a person who has touched them and say what that person has done to them.”
She added: “I prayed about this whole thing before it began and I did for the duration while this has been going on, every day practically.
“I’ve not lost my faith – it’s not my faith that’s gone, it’s my trust in the elders that’s gone.”
Karen, now a self-employed plumber, turned to self-harm as a teenager and was left with anxiety attacks and vivid nightmares.
Last year, more than two decades after the abuse began, she circulated an e-mail to her uncle’s friends, family and business associates detailing what he had done.
“I felt a sense of responsibility for other people, other kids,” she said.
A police investigation followed, finally culminating in Sewell being jailed today.
After being the first witness to give evidence Karen attended court each day to follow the case against the uncle she once “worshipped”.
She said: “It was very difficult for me reliving the whole thing again in that detail, especially when they read out what I had written.
“It does make you immediately go back there and remember what his voice sounded like, what he looked like and smelled like. I can remember what the room looked like.
“You never forget.”
Arrogant Sewell had to be warned by his counsel to stop intimidating Karen and her family after repeatedly staring at her during breaks between hearings.
The abuse left her family “torn apart”, said Karen, though the most painful aspect for her has been Sewell’s refusal to accept what he did.
“The only relief I get from him being in prison is the fact he won’t be able to do it to anybody else.
“But, honestly, apart from that I can’t say that I’m happy about it because what I want and the way I thought I would get closure is if he would tell the truth and apologise.
“That would have been closure.”
Karen said Sewell will “never admit it” but added: “I will get closure eventually – I’m going to have to. My life has got to go on, I’ve got children.
“I’ve got to start thinking about what I am going to do with my future but I am going to go as far as I can to get the [Watchtower] society to change their policies.”
She wants worshippers in congregations to be notified when a fellow churchgoer is disfellowshipped from the faith for sex abuse.
Karen told us: “They are going to have to do something, I’m not going to let this go.”
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