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93 Year-Old Rape Victim Gets Hope From Favorite NFL Team

8:17 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
Colts coach Chuck Pagano greets 'My favorite Colts fan' as he hugs Amelia Rudolf, 93, Anderson, on the field before the game Sunday. Rudolf suffered a sexual assault in July from a 17-year-old who is alleged to have broken into her Anderson home and attacked her. Rudolf attended with daughters Carol Fite (from back left), Tresa Hale and Joanna Hill, and son Karl Rudolf (not pictured). The Indianapolis Colts hosted the Oakland Raiders for their home opener at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 8, 2013. M
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Betsy Reason, The Indianapolis Star

 

INDIANAPOLIS -- Amelia Rudolf didn't want to tell anyone about the horror of the night she was raped. What would people think of her? She felt so dirty.

Still, Rudolf also knew she must come forward, that she should share her story in the hope that it might raise awareness and also help others. And maybe, even, help herself.

"I'm 93 years old," Rudolf said recently as she tightly grasped the hands of her daughter Carol Fite, 60, who sat on the couch beside her. "The reason I'm talking about it is because I want people to find out what kind of people there are that do things like that. It happened to me."

Then, in an exclusive interview with The Indianapolis Star, Rudolf began to share just what happened the night of July 16, when police say a neighborhood teen broke into her home and raped her.

Rudolf, who had lived alone in the same Anderson home her late husband, Charles, built nearly 60 years ago, was asleep in her bedroom just after midnight when she got up to use the bathroom. Someone else, however, was in her home, in the hallway.

"When he grabbed me," she recalled, "I just had a feeling, like, 'Oh, my gosh, is this true?' I thought, 'Am I dreaming this or what?' When I kind of come to, I went in the kitchen, and I saw that door, the way it was broken into. I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm not dreaming,' that it's true.

"I had a feeling, at that time. I felt like I wish I could die. I wish it wasn't true."

Rudolf called family members who, in turn, called police. Detectives then began an investigation that ultimately led to the Aug. 23 arrest of 17-year-old Iquise Taylor, who lived only a block from Rudolf. Taylor, who will be tried as an adult, is charged with burglary resulting in bodily injury, criminal deviate conduct, criminal confinement resulting in bodily injury and strangulation.

A Madison County judge has granted a request for a mental evaluation of Taylor, whose DNA, police say, matched a sample found at the scene. Taylor has denied the allegations.

Since the assault, Rudolf, who has been staying with family, has not returned to her house.

"It took me away from home," Rudolf said." I feel like I can't go back to my home."

The fifth-oldest of nine children, Rudolf was born in her family's home in the Acre, a neighborhood in Anderson largely settled by Polish immigrants. Her father, who had come to the U.S. in 1909 after serving in the Russian army for four years, took a job at the edge of the Acre as an inspector at Nicholson File, which, in its heyday, was the world's largest producer of files and rasps.

The Acre, Rudolf recalled, was a happy place noted for its celebrations. It was a happy time, she said. And it was safe.

"We always had our doors open. We used to leave our doors open during the night," she said. "We were always safe until now. There are just different people living there."

In recent years, she has been more prone to lock her doors. Rudolf, who will turn 94 on Oct. 16, misses living in the home where she and her husband, a mail carrier and part-time bartender at the Polish Club who died in 1985, raised their four children. The home is just two blocks from where Rudolf was born and raised.

"My husband died at home. I always told the kids I wanted to die at home," she said. "I just didn't want to leave that house. I just wanted to die there."

In the time since her husband's death, Rudolf passes the days with her family - she has eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren - and regularly attends St. Ambrose Catholic Church. She also has a passion for playing bingo and rooting for her beloved Indianapolis Colts.

In fact, in the wake of her assault, her family reached out to the Colts, whose training camp is held at Anderson University. In a letter to the Colts, one of Rudolf's daughters, Tresa Hale, 55, explained what had happened and asked whether it would be possible for the team to help them make some new, happy memories for one of their fans.

The Colts responded by hosting Rudolf as a guest at training camp - and at Sunday's regular-season home opener, where she was invited to go onto the field before the game and meet some of the players, as well as coach Chuck Pagano.

During the training camp visit, she shared a hug with owner Jim Irsay, who pulled a $100 bill out of his pocket and autographed it for her. She also received a football autographed by Pagano, quarterback Andrew Luck and kicker Adam Vinatieri.

Hale said her mother's highlight of meeting the Colts was bonding with Pagano. "I felt like he gave her strength just by being there and letting us know how he fought his battle (against cancer) with the support and love of his family, his faith and positivity."

Now, in coming forward publicly, Rudolf is hoping to give others strength.

"We are trying to turn this around and make something good out of it," Fite said. "So that young women that this happens to will feel like coming forward. If you see a 93-year-old come forward and speak what's on her mind, then they can do it, too."

Hale agreed.

"It was a horrible thing that happened to my mother," she said, "but I truly can see the positive, and I think she can, too."

Still, it wasn't easy.

"I didn't want anybody to know at first," Rudolf said. "But after we got the policemen here, they helped me. I think (going public) will help other people.

"It helps me (to talk about it). But I'd soon like to forget it."

But she knows that's not possible.

"I want to forget about it," she said, but then added, "I'll never forget it."

Now she waits for the legal process to play out. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept.23, and a jury trial is set for Nov.5.

"I'd hate to look at him," Rudolf said of the 17-year-old charged with her assault. "I don't think I'd even want to see his face. I hope he gets what he deserves. I want him to be in jail. I hope he pays for what he's done. The whole family does."

In the meantime, Rudolf tries to keep busy and keep the memories of that night from resurfacing. Still in good health - for years, she walked regularly and pedaled a stationary bike 500 revolutions every morning and night - she helps her daughters make cabbage rolls, folds laundry, cleans house and prays and reads daily devotions.

"We knew from the beginning that we wouldn't let this 60 minutes of terror ruin her life. She's lost her total sense of security and sense of independence," Fite said. "This person (the assailant) has taken her independence away from her. But he hasn't taken her spirit."

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