By Linda Cicoira

After decades of fear and being disappointed by those who could have helped her, 47-year-old Stacie James got her life back Tuesday and is looking forward to a real future all because there is no statute of limitations on raping your daughter.

Her father, 77-year-old Roy Kellam James, of Exmore, pleaded guilty in Northampton Circuit Court, to two of seven sex offenses that occurred between 1978 and 1982. Testimony revealed he abused his only biological child every chance he got from the time she was four years old until she was 15.

While other girls in her school were talking about boys and cheers, she was worrying that her father would make her pregnant.

The plea came in a bargaining agreement with Northampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Beverly Leatherbury. It allowed the evidence to be told without the victim having to go through the ordeal of testifying.

The maximum sentence is life plus 20 years in prison and a fine of $100,000. James will likely get more than 20 years in accordance with the agreement and thereby be in prison for the rest of his life. Stacie James said she will make a victim impact report before he is sentenced. Meanwhile, the defendant is being held in the Eastern Shore Regional Jail.

Judge W. Revell Lewis III called the crimes “horrific” and said if the victim hadn’t agreed to the arrangement, he would never have accepted it. “The court is going to respect the victim’s wishes,” he said when finding Roy James guilty. Lewis ordered a long-form presentence report and psychosexual evaluation. Sentencing is set for December.

The name of the victim of a sexual offense is not usually disclosed in a news story. However, in the case of incest the identification would be obvious or the true crime would not be able to be called incest. Stacie James gave her permission for Shore Daily News to use her name so that wouldn’t happen.

She cried and hugged the prosecutor and proclaimed that maybe she could move on with her life now. She is infertile, likely from the infections she got as a child from the abuse, although medical records were no longer available to prove it, Leatherbury said.

Stacie James’ first memory of the abuse was when she was four and her father came into her bedroom. He put his hand over her mouth and fondled her genitals while “telling her everything would be alright,” Leatherbury said.

When the girl’s parents divorced, she and her stepsister moved to Virginia Beach with their mother. However, the girl was still required to visit her father on weekends where he would rape and sodomize her. Her mother did not learn of the abuse until years later.

According to James, she was taken to several therapists when she was a teenager and they did not report the sexual abuse. She also said she didn’t get help when she told her father’s minister, who has since moved away from the area, or from the headmaster of her school, who after hearing the story decided she was not “the right sort of girl for that school.”

The charges came after Chief Angelo DiMartino of the Exmore Police Department started looking into complaints about Roy James in recent times. His investigation led him to the daughter, who then told him what had happened to her. The defendant was indicted in January.

“If you told me this day would come,” Stacie James said after the trial, “I wouldn’t have believed it.”

Roy James’ brother, who was described as a pillar of the community in Harrisonburg, Va., in the 1980s, was convicted of being involved in a prostitution ring. He was later killed by a husband of one of his victims.