A woman who claims she was sexually abused by her cousin now has to defend herself against that cousin in court.
Ashley Foster, 23, reported a male cousin to police last year and alleged the cousin abused her for six years while she was 13-19 years old. Although the cousin reportedly admitted to police that he abused Foster, police said no criminal charges could be pressed. There is a three year statute of limitations in Florida for reporting child molestation of this particular type (there are varying degrees of it, with different requirements), and Foster missed the deadline by 60 days.
"I was like, 'Oh, you've got to be kidding me,'" Ashley said about the statute. "We're going to have to change this."
Change it she did. Foster went to Florida legislators with her story and successfully eliminated the state’s statute of limitation for reporting child molestation. She also started a social media campaign in which she raised awareness about her past. She openly called her cousin a sexual predator in hopes of letting others in the community know about his history.
"Since he didn't get prosecuted, it won't show up unless I do something about it," Foster said.
Now, her cousin is fighting back. The man is petitioning for an injunction that would bar Foster from publicly using his name or posting photographs of him.
"My picture appeared on Facebook as 'a predator', which I have never been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of," the cousin writes.
Foster says her looming court date with her cousin will be the first time she has faced him in years. Though the legal system silenced her claims once before, Foster says she’ll never be quieted again.
"His name has to be put in it so that people to know that it's real," she said. "I have a first amendment right to tell my story. And he made my story."