Twin Sisters' Chilling Childhood
Kellie knew all about the horror Kathie was going through—because it was happening to her too.
According to the twins, Andrew started molesting them when they were 5 years old and he was 10. At a time when most kindergartners are having play dates and living carefree lives, Kellie and Kathie were being fondled and molested in their own home—at the hands of a sibling. Soon, the twins' other older brother Matthew also began abusing them, and Kellie and Kathie say there came a time when they were being raped almost every day.
After years of living in fear, Kellie and Kathie worked up the courage to tell their mother what was happening. She told the twins' father...and he raped them too.
Watch Kellie and Kathie tell their story in their own words.
Now, at 19, Kellie and Kathie are speaking out about their chilling childhood and the brave neighbors who helped them escape their abusers. "By coming forward, police tell us they have already had a profound impact on their hometown so we thought, 'Imagine the effect their story could have on our audience around the world,'" Oprah says.
"It was very disturbing to get raped before school because you feel just disgusting. ... Andrew was just this big, strong, angry person," Kathie says. "He wasn't a brother at all. He was a monster."
After being raped, the girls say they'd go to school—one of their only escapes from the sexual abuse—before returning home to endure more sexual torture from Andrew. Once, while Andrew was raping Kellie in the family's dark basement, their other older brother Matthew walked in.
"His first instinct was to get [Andrew] off of me," Kellie says. "But soon after, he started doing the same thing."
"Kellie and I shared bunk beds and every other night, [Matthew] would take either Kellie or I at all hours of the night," Kathie says.
With both brothers taking turns sexually abusing them, Kellie and Kathie say home never felt safe.
"[The teacher] was talking about how couples make love, how people get together and how to make babies, and it just clicked," Kellie says. "I sat there in shock. I knew that what was going on in our home was not right."
Prior to that moment, Kellie says she was "brainwashed" into thinking the sexual abuse was a normal part of family life. "I felt like it was just something that families did," she says. "I thought that was family."
The twins' parents called a family meeting—with both Andrew and Matthew present—and the girls' 40-year-old father Brad reprimanded his sons for forcing themselves on Kellie and Kathie. "He hit them in their private areas and said that's [not right to do] with your sisters," Kellie says.
But, after the family meeting disbanded, Brad called the girls to his room separately and asked each of them to show him what the boys had been doing to them.
"He asked me a lot of questions and then he was like, 'Show me.'" Kathie recalls. Then, Kathie's father molested her for the first time.
The same day, Kellie says she was also abused by Brad. "I felt like everyone we went to to get help hurt us again," she says.
"It was a horrible situation," Kellie says. "It was survival mode. We felt like we had to survive."
Soon, the twins' younger sister Rachelle fell victim to their brothers as well. All three girls knew they were being sexually abused, but they felt there was nothing they could do about it.
The girls say their mother Lisa refused to intervene...even after she allegedly walked in on her sons in the midst of a rape.
"Your mother walked in and saw your brothers raping you?" Oprah asks.
"Yes," the twins say.
"And [she] turned around and walked out?" Oprah asks.
The last time Kathie says she saw her father was right after he raped her for the last time.
"He whispers in my ear, 'I'm going to miss you. You're a really good daughter. I love you,'" Kathie says. "And he hands me a $100 bill. I'm thinking, 'We have no electricity. We have no food in the fridge, and you hand me $100? What kind of man are you?'"
Neither Shelly nor Jim had any idea the twins were being sexually abused. But, two weeks after the twins' 13th birthday, Kellie and Kathie say they were confronted by a suspicious relative, and they knew it was time to confide in Shelly and Jim.
Watch what happened the night their secret was exposed.
After confessing their secret, the twins begged Shelly and Jim not to tell anyone until they had a chance to talk with their mother. After two agonizing days, Shelly called 911, and an hour later, Wichita police were knocking on Kellie and Kathie's door.
The decision not to call the police immediately is something Shelly says haunts her. "It is the deepest regret of my life. I've cried so many hours since," she says. "I would encourage anyone to tell no matter how [the victims] plead for you not to tell. They want you to tell."
Once the police arrived, Kellie and Kathie were too terrified to repeat what they had told Shelly, but soon enough, the truth came out. Police removed all the children from the home that very night, and within 48 hours, both Andrew and Matthew were arrested. Five days after that, Brad, the twins' father, was also behind bars.
The arrests sparked a complex range of emotions in the twins.
"I felt relieved that they were locked up. We knew we were safe," Kellie says. "[But] I felt guilty because I was really close to my mother, and I didn't want our family to be torn apart."
At one point, Lisa asked Sgt. Mattingly what she thought of her as a mother, to which Sgt. Mattingly responded: "You failed at the most important job you'll ever have in life."
"How did Lisa react?" Oprah asks.
"She hung her head down. She said she had a lot of responsibilities," Sgt. Mattingly says. "She never one time asked about any of her six children during the whole time we were there. ... She had no concern but for herself."
Lt. Gilmore and his partner, Detective Chris Zandler, interviewed Andrew following his arrest. Lt. Gilmore says that Andrew would only give one-word answers to their questions until he ultimately confessed to sexually abusing his sisters for years.
"At one point during the interview—the interrogation—[Andrew] got angry and raised his voice at us. He looked at both of us and he yelled, 'You know, this is legal in Alabama!'" Lt. Gilmore says.
As the interview with Andrew progressed, Lt. Gilmore says Andrew made another startling statement. "He said, 'Well, my father's doing this too. It's okay.'"
At the end of the interview, Lt. Gilmore asked Andrew what he would like to see happen next. "Andrew looked at me with conviction, and he said, 'I'd like to spend more quality time with my sisters,'" Lt. Gilmore says.
Shelly still keeps in touch with both of the twins' brothers. "Andrew first reached out to me [from prison],'" Shelly says. "I asked the girls if they minded if I would write him back and send him things to encourage him totally against that lifestyle, and they said, 'Go ahead.'"
Hear what Andrew and Matthew have to say to the twins when they called Shelly from prison.
The twins' father Brad was convicted of three counts of rape and one count of aggravated sodomy. He won't be eligible for parole for another 17 years.
Hear what Lisa has to say now to her daughters.
Though Kellie believes her mother loves them and feels sorry, she also says Lisa knew exactly what was going on in their home.
Kathie, on the other hand, says that she doesn't believe her mother right now. "I mean, you can't be sorry for wasting [that] many years [...] of your childhood," she explains.
"When Shelly talked to Andrew on the phone, I didn't hear the [remorse] in his voice," Kellie says.
"There will be a time where I will face my fear—which would be Andrew—and there's going to be a time later on down the road, it might be years, where I will forgive him," Kathie says. "I'll try and find the strength to forgive him."
Oprah shares her definition of forgiveness and her heartfelt hope for Kellie and Kathie.
Information and support for sexual abuse survivors
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