Sgt. Linda Cook, a Muncie, IN detective, is calling the case of a couple who has allegedly sexually abused a 27 year old developmentally disabled woman for the past 13 years a "most bizarre case." Duane Tackett, 48, and his wife Patricia, 47, are charged with sexually abusing the developmentally disabled woman.
The Tacketts had recently moved to a Muncie neighborhood from Kentucky. When a relative asked the victim why she was wearing a birth control patch, the woman told of the history of abuse and the relative then called police.
Police say Patricia Tackett and the victim were living in a home on Hodson Street with Duane Tackett still in Kentucky. Police records describe a regular patten of sexual abuse by both suspects. Investigators say the victim has the mental capacity of a child.
"We're looking at adding at least one rape count to each defendant because of the mental capacity of the victim," said Mark McKinney, Delaware County prosecutor.
"I believe it may have become part of her life and maybe it was accepted. She definitely tells me she doesn't want to do it anymore and doesn't like the people that did this to her."
Her husband, Duane Ray Tackett, 48, was taken into custody Wednesday, preliminarily charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, criminal deviate conduct and child solicitation. They were being held without bond in the Delaware County jail late Wednesday.
(Update 9-13-10) Patricia Tackett was sentenced to 40 years in prison August 24 by Judge Marianne Vorhees in Delaware Circuit Court 1. Judge Vorhees believed that Patricia Tackett's crimes were "very disturbing, almost beyond belief," and merited a term of as much as 60 years behind bars.
A Delaware County Circuit Court 1 jury found her guilty July 28 of rape, sexual misconduct with a minor, and child solicitation. Child solicitation is a Class D felony carrying a standard 1 1/2 year sentenced - the other felonies are Class B felonies with a standard 10 year sentence. Testimony said that the Tacketts both participated in assults on the woman lasting for at least 14 years.
"The details of this crime are shocking," said Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeffrey Arnold, who recommended a 38-year sentence.
Defense attorney Kelly Bryan suggested a 10-year sentence with four years suspended, asking the judge to consider "a certain element of provocation and control here, at the hands of her spouse."
[P]robation officer Teresa Brown told the judge that in a pre-sentence interview, Tackett had expressed little remorse for her actions, instead blaming a family member who had learned of the sexual abuse and alerted authorities.
"Not only did she not take responsibility for this crime, she's still having continuous contact with Duane Tackett, who's coming to see her at the jail," Brown said. Brown said the victim -- now 30 and described as having the mental capacity of an 8-year-old -- had told her the Tacketts "should be made to stop so that they won't hurt anyone else, and stay in jail."
At the sentencing hearing, Patricia Tackett said to the victim, who was not present, "I feel so hurt because I let you down...Please forgive me for all I have done." Judge Vorhees, for her part, said that "I believe in my heart she knew exactly what was going on and she knew it was wrong," the judge said. "And she did nothing to stop it." As for her expression of remorse, it was, in Vorhees' opinion, "way too little, (and) way, way, way too late, probably 14, 15, 16 years too late."