Man charged with harassing 9 year-old girl in Shannon County
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A family in Shannon County says they are being harassed by a neighbor.
Mindy Garland says her 9 year-old daughter is being targeted for the color of her skin. She says tat it’s taken years for authorities to take action.
“People pick on people for no reason. I feel like if we teach them to have a voice they will always have that,” said Garland.
Brooklynne Griffith, 9, is like any other child.
She’s active, loves Harry Potter and dreams of being a veterinarian.
But she says for years, her neighbor, Roger Rector, has been telling her she’s actually quite different.
“He said to tear off my black skin to make it white,” said Griffith.
The fourth grader says she’s afraid of her neighbor.
“You’ve been mean to me for while. I can’t trust you because my mom said to always believe in myself. You’ve been mean to me already I just can’t trust you,” she said.
Garland says Rector also shines a flashlight into the windows at night as captured by her surveillance cameras.
She says she’s had enough.
“I’m speaking out for my daughter to be able to be safe, to feel safe, to know that she has nothing wrong with her ever,” she said.
Rector has now been charged with felony harassment.
We knocked on his door hoping to get his side of the story.
“Our lawyer told him not to say anything,” said Victoria Rector, as identified by Garland.
We’ve called several different times to the sheriff’s office. Back when they did have a police department in Winona we called. Either they’re too busy or it’s not an immediate response," said Garland.
Garland says that she’s filed reports with the Shannon County Sheriff’s Office, even submitted video evidence. She says the court advocate told her that none of it was submitted to the prosecutor’s office.
Garland said, “If I gave up, if we gave up, what would that teach Brooklynne?”
She says she has no ill will towards Rector.
“I hope that he learns from it and learns to be a better human,” said Garland.
Griffith says she wants others who may be told their different that speaking out matters.
“Stay strong and to be powerful. You shouldn’t change who you are. You should stand up for yourself. Tell other people who are close to you, who are supporting you, like my mommy,” she said.
Our calls to the Shannon County Prosecutor and Sheriff’s Office have not yet been returned.
Mindy Garland says a hearing in the case against Roger Rector was held Tuesday.
Another hearing is scheduled for next month.
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