Watch CBS News

Sex abuse survivor speaks out, calls for Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office to change plea

Child sex abuse survivor speaks out
Child sex abuse survivor speaks out 02:54

MIAMI - A child sex abuse survivor called on the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office to change a plea deal that could keep the accused abuser off the Florida sex offender registry.

Keisha Etienne said the man charged, Albert Bassett, 90, was like a father to her.  Etienne spoke exclusively to CBS News Miami Friday. 

"I just want to be heard," Etienne said.

She currently lives out of state, Etienne said what happened to her in Golden Beach before, during and as her teenage years ended at the hands of a man she considered her father hurts beyond words.  When members of the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office stepped in, Etienne did not expect the deal her lawyers see offered to Bassett.

"What was communicated to me was that the financial help provided to my client by the defendant, Albert Bassett, over her youth and young adulthood could be interpreted by a jury at trial as reparations for the horrific sexual abuse," Aaron Karger, Etienne's attorney said.

Etienne moved to Miami from Haiti when she was two years old.  While her mom worked to raise three daughters, Etienne spent time with her aunt and her aunt's boyfriend, Bassett, who was in his late 50s at the time.

Etienne wrote Bassett a letter asking him to be her father, she said.  When she turned nine, Etienne says Bassett did more than provide.  Court records said Bassett committed sex crimes for nearly a decade.

"I was being groomed," Etienne said.  "All those things: the cheer, his community impact, helping little black and brown boys with flag football, donating to St. Jude's (Children's Hospital), all those things he was priming (me).  Little did I know that note would lead me to a world of being molested, sexually abused, exposed to pornography (and) mental turmoil?"

CBS News Miami called Bassett and his attorney for comment.  Neither responded Friday. 

Etienne took her complaints to the police in 2019.  State attorneys charged Bassett with seven felonies, including four counts of sexual battery on a minor and three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child.  The lewd and lascivious charges would require Bassett to register as a sex offender.

"I want him to be charged for child molestation for all the things he did to me," Etienne said.

Her lawyer said the state attorney's office offered Bassett a deal that keeps him off the registry.  Given Bassett's age, registering could force him to move, which is another reason state attorneys offered to leave such requirements out the deal, Karger said.

"I think that frankly second only to the horrific acts of sexual abuse my client endured is the gaslighting and silencing throughout the decades," Karger said.

A spokesperson for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office responded in a statement.

"As this is an open, active criminal case presently before the court, it would be inappropriate for the SAO to comment," Claire LeBlanc, Public Information Officer for the Office of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.

The state attorney's office will present its plea deal to a judge Tuesday morning, according to court records.

Etienne wants the judge to reject it.

"I want to know that my home has my back," she said.  "I want to know that we do protect children.  I want to know that we do protect adults."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.