Stephen Budd's victim comforted knowing teacher can't molest again

By Brian Entin
June 3, 2015

[with video]

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Stephen Budd's victims say they can finally move on with their lives knowing he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"Mr. Budd no longer has control over me. I can now have control over myself and my future," one of the victims told the judge after the guilty verdict was read.

The two victims are just weeks away from college and spent the past week testifying about the child molestation they endured in the fourth grade.

They testified Budd molested them under his desk in the Rosarian Academy classroom.

"I believe because I wasn't able to protect myself or the other victim in the fourth grade, I need to protect others now," one of the victim's said.

Prosecutors left the courtroom relieved that Budd was sentenced to three consecutive life terms.

"Despite whatever the jury ultimately rendered, it was gaining her own power that gave her a voice throughout the trial," prosecutor Takisha Richardson said about the victims.

Prosecutors say the child molestation case was one of the worst they've seen.

"Anytime you have an adult in a position of power who takes advantage of that power, it is such a violation," prosecutor Jessica Kahn said.

The interim principal of Rosarian Academy, Nori Madrigal, released this statement: "On behalf of Rosarian Academy, we hope this verdict can help bring closure to the victims and their families in this case, and our prayers and support will continue to be with them as they continue the healing process."

The victims are comforted knowing Stephen Budd won't be able to hurt anyone else.

"I now have the comfort of knowing I saved other potential victims from Mr. Budd. When I'm up at night unable to sleep or woken up by nightmares of him, these are the things I am able to think of," the victim told the judge.

Budd's defense attorney did not make any comments after court, but did say his client maintains his innocence.

According to Bruce Zimet, an attorney representing one of the victims, Budd was offered a plea deal before the trial for 25 years in prison. But Zimet says Budd rejected that offer.

"Stephen Budd will never see the light of day to do this to any other children" Zimet said.

One of the victim's parents released this statement Tuesday night:

"This has been an extremely trying time for our daughter and our entire family. The jury's verdict gives us both relief and solace that Stephen Budd can never harm nor violate another child. We are grateful for the support and efforts of the West Palm Beach police department and Lead Detective Lori Columbino, as well as the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office and specifically Assistant State Attorneys Jessica Kahn and Takisha Richardson. We are also incredibly proud of our daughter and the other young victim in this case - both of whom showed such bravery through it all."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.