A now-Haverhill resident, one of the victims of a youth minister from Newbury, told the court he continues to suffer daily from being raped and assaulted over a four-year period, starting 18 years ago.
The man’s notes, given to WHAV with permission, were filed in Salem Superior Court as an “impact statement” during the long-delayed trial of 70-year-old Russell Davis of Seabrook, N.H. Davis acknowledged committing felonies, including rape of a child under age 16, before agreeing to plead guilty Thursday ahead of trial before Judge Thomas Dreschler. He was sentenced to three to four years in state prison, followed by three years of probation. Davis was also ordered to register as a sex offender, receive sex offender treatment, have no contact with children under age 18 and no contact with any of the victims or witnesses in the case.
“Over the course of the years of being forced to go to the ‘worship of rape’ where the person who doesn’t have any words to call man as he shouldn’t be called anything. Knowing that his victims liked sporting events, what music they liked and knew how to crawl them into his control and places they can’t yell for help. You would think you could yell for help at sporting events or concerts, but no. It would happen in the car ride home, sitting in the parking lot or, if it was during the event, it was in a way that it wasn’t obvious to others around that there is a rapist in the crowd,” the Haverhill man wrote.
In his statement, he said the long-term effect of the attacks “destroy having trust and faith in people.” He added, “It’s extremely difficult to have an intimate relationship with someone when you’re having flashbacks of your rapist whispering things and performing certain acts. Let alone the daily thoughts.” He said the assaults took place at events, Davis’ apartments, vacations spots and other states.
The Haverhill man was also critical of Davis’ relative freedom because of court delays over the nearly five years since Davis was arrested.
“Let the victims suffer even more knowing their rapist will only serve a few months in jail, when he was arrested (and before being) arraigned in district court and gets to live out in public with access and ways to communicate and given the chance to assault/rape more. Rapist don’t deserve to live out this sentence in luxury while their victims are suffering daily,” the statement reads.
Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker released a summary of facts Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall would have presented at trial. It said Davis befriended young people he met through the United Methodist Church, where he served as a youth minister.
“In each case, Davis offered to mentor his victims and then sexually assaulted them—sometimes offering them gifts and cash afterward. Also in each case, the victims came from homes lacking a complete family unit and, in some cases, sought assistance from the church to provide structure in their lives.”
The three victims ranged in ages from 12 to 16.