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Kate Wilkinson is looking to close the book – for a second time – on a devastating chapter in her life.
The 31-year-old Charlottetown woman is once again looking to hold her former stepfather to account.
Wilkinson went to Charlottetown Police Services in 2012 to inform a police officer that Patrick Arthur Timmons had been sexually abusing her since she was around the age of six years old.
Timmons entered guilty pleas to charges of invitation to sexual touching and sexual exploitation while he was Wilkinson’s stepfather on P.E.I. He was sentenced in July 2013 to four years in a federal correctional facility.
Wilkinson has no regrets charging Timmons, even if the process proved difficult and draining.
“I understand fully that it is terrifying coming forward, but in the end I wouldn’t change a thing about it,’’ she told The Guardian in 2015 after first spending four months determinedly going through a cumbersome process to successfully have a publication ban lifted so she could go public with her story without the need to conceal her identity.
“I don’t want to see these people (who sexually abuse children) walk the face of the earth. There’s way too many of them.’’
Readers of articles on Wilkinson appearing in The Guardian in 2015 and 2017 will know her as Kate Eastman, but she has since married Shawn Wilkinson and taken on his last name.
Kate Wilkinson is now hopeful Timmons will be returned to jail. He is currently facing charges relating to sexual offences alleged to have taken place against Wilkinson in Ottawa from January 1996 to August 2004.
Wilkinson has been successful again in having the publication ban lifted in this second go around in court against her former stepfather.
She hopes Timmons pleads guilty, but she is prepared to take the witness stand if the case goes to trial.
“It is hard, knowing what the process is – knowing you are going through the process again,’’ she said in an interview earlier this month.
“I don’t know if I have a lot of fears or concerns for trial.’’
Wilkinson said she wants to again get justice for a young Kate Eastman.
- Victims of sexual assault can call P.E.I. Victim Services at 902-368-4582 to seek assistance with the criminal justice process or to access other supports and services they might need.
- To learn more about Turn On the Lights, a non-profit foundation that helps spread awareness of childhood sexual abuse, visit turnonthelights.ca.
“People that do this to children should not be able to think they can get away with it."
She would like to tell Timmons he was wrong about so much, particularly believing his sexual assaults were part of a loving relationship with her.
She also wants him to know he did not break her. In fact, she has thrived since those very dark days.
“I feel like I’ve dealt with it the best I can,’’ she said.
“I’m proud of how far I’ve come.’’
Wilkinson is in a loving marriage.
She holds a good job working for Thinking Big, an IT consulting firm.
And she continues to help others who have endured the crushing impact of sexual assault through a community organization called Turn On the Lights, which was launched by her and her mother, Deborah McEachern, in March 2015.
The non-profit foundation helps spread awareness of childhood sexual abuse, giving families and survivors a place to talk and heal.
Wilkinson has communicated with hundreds of female victims of sexual abuse through the organization, supporting some in pursuing charges.
She is “saddened’’ that none of those women have yet been able to close the book the way she has by having justice delivered in court.
Her foundation’s annual Shine the Light Walk, which first hit the ground in 2015, has enjoyed growing participation. Roughly 60 people took part last year in the event, which starts at the Supreme Court of P.E.I., to show survivors, as well as those still living with abuse, that they are not alone.
Wilkinson, who has a bachelor of science degree from UPEI in applied human sciences, wants to continue helping victims of sexual abuse as a volunteer and possibly later as a career.
“People that do this to children should not be able to think they can get away with it,’’ she said.
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