VALPARAISO | The 21-year-old man said he was pleased to finally see Portage resident Christopher Truman behind bars Thursday on charges of molesting him and three other children over a period of several years.
But the sight also threatened his way of coping with all the pain, which has been to bury the memories.
"I feel now I'm messed up," the young man said. "Now that everyone knows, I have to relive it."
The man was among a large group of purported victims, their families and supporters, who nearly filled the courtroom of Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper on Thursday morning for Truman's initial hearing.
During the hearing, which was carried out via a video conferencing system with the jail, Harper said Truman was entitled to a bond and set it at $1 million.
Truman, 38, of the 1800 block of Center Street, said little as Harper read through the six counts of child molesting and three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor.
The judge ordered Truman to sign agreements to avoid further contact with the purported victims while the case proceeds. She also entered preliminary pleas of not guilty and scheduled a trial for Feb. 4, with preliminary hearings Oct. 30 and Dec. 18.
Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Polarek asked that Truman continue to be held without bond because he is an "extreme danger to the community."
Defense attorney Larry Rogers said he planned to request a bond reduction hearing and will argue the amount should be lowered considering Truman has no prior criminal record and is employed and married.
Two of the purported victims, ages 16 and 13, told investigators the abuse occurred when Truman took them to Portage hotels and while wrestling after watching the sport on television.
The younger boy said Truman took him to the hotel about three times a month since he was 7 and estimated Truman performed a sex act on him more than 100 times until he told his mother he no longer wished to go.
The 21-year-old, who has accused Truman of molesting him between the ages of 11 and 17, said following Thursday's court hearing that Truman had stepped in to fill the shoes of his absent father.
The young man's mother said Truman convinced her she was a bad single mother.
"He lost a lot years," she said.
A fourth purported victim said Truman was close enough to his family that he referred to him as an uncle.
Polarek said any further suspected cases of abuse involving Truman should be reported to the Porter County Sheriff's Department.