Rape ‘victor:’ ‘I survived you’
Nov 15, 2013 at 5:35 PM
The woman Curtis Clinton raped a week before he killed Heather Jackson and her children read a heart-wrenching and perhaps seismic statement in court Thursday.
Elizabeth Sebetto, 19, of Clyde, was held captive in the 42-year-old’s Campbell Street apartment for hours one night in early September 2012. Clinton had brutally assaulted her.
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Testifying in court two weeks ago during Clinton’s trial, Sebetto confidently and consistently described the attack. The Register typically does not identify victims of sexual assault, but Sebetto agreed to have her story told using her identity.
Thursday, as Clinton was sentenced to death, Sebetto reclaimed her strength.
“He’s finally where he belonged 16 years ago: death row,” she told the court, referencing the 1997 killing of 18-year-old Misty Keckler, who Clinton strangled to death in a Fostoria home.
She thanked everyone involved in the case for their support and their part in securing Clinton’s arrest, conviction and sentence. She also thanked jurors for deciding to put the “monster” to death.
“This whole thing has been a lesson for life,” she said. “I never imagined I would be here today, but one thing I can tell you, and you know who you are, you have made me stronger. I assure you of that.
“That night, you probably thought you won,” she said, addressing Clinton directly. “You probably thought you broke me. Did you think I would just let you live a free life? That’s how weak-minded you are.”
Watch and listen to what Sebetto had to say in the player below (Her testimony starts at the 19:45 minute mark)
When Clinton attacked her, he strangled her until she lost consciousness.
While she did what she had to to survive the night, she said she never lost her faith in God.
“You may have taken from me that night, but you didn’t take my pride or faith,” she said. “God never left me. He was there when you choked the life out of me. Who else put my breath back into my lifeless body?”
More than a year later, now 19, she’s a changed person.
“I decided early on I would not let this define who I am,” she said, again speaking to Clinton. “I am not your victim. I am a victor. I survived you. I prayed to God to keep me alive.”
Just as Clinton has said he’s not done fighting, neither is Sebetto. She made a promise to be there when he appeals his conviction and sentence, every step of the way.
“I want you to know, I’ll be there. You will never be let go as long as I breath. I’m bigger than you, stronger than you. I survived you,” she said. “I will always be heard, along with Misty, Heather, Celina and Wayne Jr. They will also be heard. You are where you belong and you will never walk on soil again. This is just the beginning of my life.”