Stepdad's assault on daughter spurs mom's viral-video warning
04/29/2016 11:30 am PDT
An emotional viral video watched by millions of people. A Colorado mother's message to everyone out there: Be careful who you date, or even marry, because they could be a monster in the making.
The powerful video has moved more than 50 million viewers: A Colorado woman looking silently into the camera, holding up handmade note cards telling a chilling tale of sexual abuse.
"I think it took me probably six hours to make those cards because I kept breaking down."
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What is the story behind these cards?
Catherine St. Germain is a single mom who finds love with a charming man she's known for 20 years.
"I totally thought 'This is it, this is the big grand romance, this is the guy. This is the knight on the white horse,'" said St. Germain.
Aaron Scott had a glowing resume: father of three, former cop and Navy veteran. St. Germain and Scott tie the knot, with Aaron moving in with Catherine and her 15-year-old daughter Alyssa.
Catherine hoped Aaron would be a strong father figure for her teenage daughter.
"I thought this was going to be it, this is going to be the guy that was going to take care of me and treat me like a princess, and like, I'm going to be 'daddy's girl,'" said Alyssa. "He was a big dude and he looked like a Viking. But I mean to me he was like a giant teddy bear."
"If she had a bad day, he would want to take her to ice cream," said Catherine. "He just went out of his way to make her laugh. They had inside jokes. I felt like they had this good special bond."
But as Alyssa and Catherine were about to discover, that bond was all smoke and mirrors. The perfect stepdad turned into the perfect sex predator.
"Well, there were like precursors that led to it," said Alyssa. "Like he would come into my room and he would sit on my bed with me and we would talk."
It all happened right under Catherine's nose.
Alyssa says the visits grew more intimate. He would lay in bed next to her, sometimes wearing only his boxers.
And then, the night that will be seared in Alyssa's mind forever.
"The night that he came in was just like any other night," said Alyssa. "He came in and wanted to talk with me, so he laid down next to me. It gets kind of fuzzy here, but he moved my leg like kind of over him and he had his arm wrapped around me and he ended up sticking that down my shirt and into my bra, and I mean, I just froze. I felt like every inch of me went dead. From there he ended up sticking his hand down my pants, and I remember pushing him away and he ended up leaving."
Incredibly, shortly after being sexually assaulted, Aaron returned to Alyssa's room.
"He actually came back and then took me out and bought me a pack of cigarettes and bribed me with that, and tried to get me to kiss him and hold his hand and stuff," said Alyssa. "When he did that I was like, 'Wait, you are married to my mom.'"
Alyssa vowed to keep silent about the assault. She didn't want to ruin her mom's new life, especially since Aaron was the breadwinner.
But the next day, Alyssa had a change of heart and revealed the horror she endured to friends, who urged her to go to police.
Catherine got a phone call from Loveland Police.
"It was right around the time for my daughter to get out of school," said Catherine. "It was a police officer saying 'We have your daughter, don't panic. She's fine but we need you to come to the station and we need you to not tell your husband where you are going.'
"What did he do? Your worst fears pop up in your head," said Catherine. "I remember thinking this can't be happening. But it was. It happened to me."
Loveland cops give Catherine Alyssa's statement, explicitly detailing everything that happened.
"I think I made it a couple of lines in, and I got the gist of it, and I just collapsed," said Catherine.
Then detectives had Alyssa make a phone call to her stepdad, all in an attempt to get Aaron to admit to his actions. But instead, the words that poured out of his mouth were pure evil.
"He flat-out called me a liar and accused me of saying insane things, and brought up that if I kept saying stuff like that then my mom would end up in a mental hospital," said Alyssa. "It broke me because he went from this sweet, loving stepdad to someone that was hurting me and then hurting me even more."
Since Alyssa came forward within 24 hours of the assault, investigators were able to extract Aaron's DNA from her clothing, and the results came back a match to Aaron Scott.
"He knew, and was gone that day within 24 hours," said Catherine. "Deal-breaker. You're done. You're lucky you're driving away."
Cops busted Aaron. He struck a plea deal: Guilty of sexual assault. He was sentenced to only 90 days in jail with eight years' probation, and was required to register as a sex offender.
"It just crushed me knowing that he wasn't going to get years, that he was going to get something much smaller," said Catherine. "I like to say that he got 90 days and we got life 'cause that's how fair it feels."
The D.A. has taken some heat for this, for what some people are calling a cop-out: A very weak sentence for a very cruel and disgusting crime. But this mother sees things a little differently, and she wants other parents to understand why.
Catherine St. Germain didn't want her daughter to go through a trial. Alyssa had already been through enough. So Catherine decided to make a bold move, posting a powerful video on her Facebook page.
"I was really hoping it would get maybe like 50 shares so it could help maybe like one family," said Catherine.
But that video didn't get 50 shares -- it got more than 50 million. Her message went viral in a major way, blowing up the Internet, reaching women around the world.
"The reality is you and I don't have anything to be ashamed of. He does," Catherine said. "There's only shame in his choice, that he woke up that morning and decided 'You know what, I don't want to be a husband and a father anymore. I'd rather be a pedophile.'"
Catherine and Alyssa are moving on with their lives, but before they close this dark chapter there are some things they want to bring to light.
"'Stranger danger' is a joke. It is way more likely to be someone you know in your life. So what you need to do is take the Sex Offender Registry and plug names into it. Type in boyfriends, type in your friends, type in coaches, type in anyone who has access to your children."
It's a tool, she says, that could warn the next woman who dates Aaron Scott, giving him access to her children from the horrors he unleashed on her innocent 15-year-old daughter.
"If there's a girl out there right now watching this and she hasn't told anybody and she's going through what I've gone through or worse, just tell someone that you trust, tell someone that you care about, tell somebody," said Alyssa. "Just don't let it continue."
Aaron Scott is living in Oklahoma, where he served out his sentence and where he will start his eight years of probation, living under the microscope of intensive sex-offender supervision.