GRAND RAPIDS - Katye Stolp looked right at the man who sexually abused her as a child and finished her tearful testimony: "You didn't break us, and you didn't break me."
Donald Jamsa was sentenced to 10 years of probation and will have to register as a predatory offender after pleading guilty to two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Itasca County District Court on Monday morning. The Grand Rapids man could face nearly 12 years in prison if he violates the terms of his probation.
"You took my innocence, my trust in what family meant, and most damaging to me personally what is allowed for a man to do to me," Alfords said.
Jamsa, 81, said nothing when offered the opportunity to speak in court Monday.
The News Tribune does not typically name victims of sexual assault, but Stolp and Alfords agreed to share their experiences earlier this year to bring attention to a case that was gaining little traction with Itasca County investigators and prosecutors.
The sisters brought their allegations to authorities in 2016, but it was not until this spring that Jamsa was interviewed and, soon after, charged. The abuse occurred in the 1980s, when Stolp and Alfords were between 7 and 10 years old.
Their father, Allan Maasch, and their aunt, Barbara Maasch, have similar abuse allegations that date to the 1960s - too long ago to be prosecuted. Itasca County prosecutor Matti Adams wrote in a letter to the Maasches that "Jamsa's actions towards you were taken into consideration in my final charging decision with respect to the other victims."
In letters to family members sent several years ago, Jamsa wrote: "I do know that beginning in the 1960s I did much to some members of the family that was extremely harmful and criminal." In another letter he wrote that he "deserved the fires of hell and a disgraced life" for his "grossest sins."
Jamsa's lawyer, John Undem, said that Jamsa told him: "It is time for me to pay."
Many family members came to court to support Stolp and Alfords on Monday. The family was largely in support of the plea deal that kept Jamsa out of prison but convicted him of two felonies.
"I am sure you thought this day would never come, that you would get away with this forever, but here we are," Stolp said in court. "You can't bury it anymore."
"You created this negative, abusive pattern in our family for over half a century, starting with my dad and auntie and continuing onto me and my sister," Alfords said. "When behavior like this doesn't get stopped it continues."