Ten-year-old abuse victim tells secret to authorities to save sisters

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DAVENPORT, Iowa—A 10-year-old girl refused to go home on her school bus and stayed behind to tell a teacher about years of molestation at the hands of her mother's boyfriend, to save her little sisters from ongoing abuse.
''I didn't want them to get hurt anymore or bad things to happen to me, again'', the 10-year-old victim said.She says she told her mother about the abuse for two years, but her pleas for help were ignored."Several times, she told her mom, but her mom wouldn't do anything about it," said Christie Rimkus, the girl's aunt and now, caretaker.

So earlier this year, the girl refused to get on her school bus in Davenport, and reported the abuse to a teacher.

"She wouldn't allow her sister to get on the bus, either. She said, 'No, we're not going home.' She knew he would be there," said Rimkus.

Police were called. The boyfriend, Jaymie Souder, plead guilty in November to sexually abusing the three little girls, now ages 10, 7, and 6.

"She saved everybody. She says 'I've been hurt enough. My sister's been hurt enough, and I'm not gonna let it happen again'," Rimkus says of the 10-year-old's action.

The mother is in jail for child endangerment, but faces possible upgraded charges later this month.  The girls were told about the arrest Tuesday and handled it, Rimkus says, like "champs".

The little girl and her sisters are doing well in school.  Some have called her a hero for having the courage to come forward, when her mom refused to help save her and her sisters from the years of abuse.

Here's what the little girl's advice is to other kids, if they tell and no one listens.

"Tell your teacher. If you're ten or older, make sure you tell about your little sister. Like me. You can be a hero. And thanks, for calling me a hero."

Rimkus and her husband are hoping a kind-hearted attorney comes forward to help in their quest for permanent custody of the three sisters.  They hope to adopt them, but say they don't have the $1,500 up-front that some lawyers have quoted as the going rate.

Right now, the focus is on Christmas, though.  The girls are abuse-free and safe for the first time in their lives.

"They are so resilient. After all they've been through, they're still bubbly kids," said Rimkus.