Syracuse, NY -- A shackled James Bailey stood showing no emotion today as his younger sister tearfully confronted him for raping her for four years as a child.
Kathryn Bailey, 23, said she first blamed her parents for not stopping the abuse that happened from age 9 to 12. Her mother said today she felt she'd failed her family.
But Kathryn said she now realizes the only one to blame was her older brother, James, 31, who had been entrusted to take care of her as a child.
James Bailey abused that trust by subjecting his sister to years of rapes and sexual abuse from 2003 to 2006, a jury found in March. Bailey was sentenced today to 32 years in prison by County Court Judge Stephen Dougherty.
Nearly all of the Bailey family spoke at today's sentencing, except James, who said nothing when given the chance. Syracuse.com does not typically identify the victim or family of sex abuse, but Kathryn Bailey chose to be publicly identified.
She spoke in court today after her siblings and mother had spoken. She turned to look directly at her brother, who had been staring into space.
"Can he look at me?" she asked the judge, who replied that was his choice.
James Bailey turned to his sister, but his face remained expressionless.
His sister then read a lengthy statement directed at him.
"The anger I placed on mom and dad was wrong of me," she told him. "This should have all been placed on you. They trusted you to take care of me."
Their mom was a nurse working at a local hospital 12 to 14 hours a day. Their dad was on the road for work all week, she said.
"Anger consumed me for years," Kathryn Bailey told her brother. But underneath that anger was loneliness, numbness and disgust with herself, she said.
Those feelings resurfaced at her brother's trial a month ago, she said. James Bailey took the witness stand to try to discredit a confession he gave police about the abuse.
He claimed he was on drugs when the confession was taped. But his explanation on that tape made Kathryn feel the worst, she said.
When asked by investigators what came to mind about why he abused his sister, James told police: "Curiosity."
Kathryn Bailey said that answer shook her to the core. The pain of her brother's excuse reminded her of the years of abuse and the decade she spent keeping the trauma to herself.
She'd fade away mentally as he raped her.
"It was sexual abuse, it was not curiosity," she said today.
The prolonged stress caused her to have seizures in high school that took her out of class. Her sister had to adjust her schedule to be in the same class to help in case one hit.
The seizures would hit two or three times a day, said her sister, Alexis. " I was terrified for my sister's safety," she said. "I thought it wasn't going to end."
Senior year in 2013, Kathryn went on a trip to Jamaica with another sister. On their way back, she found out that James had been kicked out of the family's house for doing drugs.
That set in motion Kathryn's decision to come forward about what he'd done to her so long ago. She realized right away that her mom had no idea what had happened.
Kathryn had an anxiety attack as memories of the abuse came flooding back. Her mom asked her what was going on. She shared what happened for the first time.
Kathryn Bailey later told her story to Syracuse police and prosecutors. Her brother, who had left the state, was indicted and arrested in 2015.
But her pain was still real. She underwent a year of therapy just to feel something positive again.
A therapist asked her to look in a mirror for 10 seconds. She couldn't do it for 3 seconds at first.
"Can you stand to look at yourself?" Kathryn asked her brother today. "Probably, but I really don't care."
She had some other numbers for him.
"How does possibility of 32 years sound to you?" she asked. "That's 11,680 days and 280,000 hours. I'm positive that number will matter to you."
She said her first sound night of sleep she can remember came the night of her brother's guilty verdict last month. "That's so sad," she added, crying.
"I never want to have anything to do with you again," she told him. (An order of protection will bar James from contacting her in any way for the next 40 years.)
Kathryn said she didn't know what to say to her brother for the last time. "I suppose goodbye. I don't hate you. I hate what you did."
When offered the chance to speak, James Bailey said nothing. He's challenging the guilty verdict despite his confession.
For his part, Judge Dougherty called James Bailey a "despicable human being."
"There is no worse crime than taking and destroying the innocence of a child," the judge said.
Instead of being raped and abused, Kathryn should have spent her childhood jumping rope and playing with friends, he said.
"You have betrayed every possible human instinct of care and devotion to a child," the judge told James Bailey.
He noted that the convict had rejected a plea deal before trial that would have sent him to prison for 13 to 15 years. That was far less than he deserved, but would have spared the victim testifying at trial, the judge said.
James Bailey felt his crime deserved only probation, the judge noted.
With that, he sentenced the rapist to the maximum punishment allowed under law: 32 years in state prison.