She was just 16, out for a night of trick-or-treating with two high school friends, when the rapist attacked.
Forced into a ravine by a man who held what looked like a gun, she left childhood behind that rainy Halloween night in 2009. A living nightmare came in its place, and countless days spent wondering if she was safe.
But in Prince William County Circuit Court Friday, she told the man, Aaron Thomas—now known as the East Coast Rapist—that she forgave him for what he did.
"While many curse the person who assaulted them, I pray for him. While he inflicted pain on me, and the people I love, I know that he and his family have suffered too," said the woman, who Patch is not identifying due to the nature of the crime.
"I forgive him and I pray for him and his family. And I pray he finds peace," she said.
More: East Coast Rapist Aaron Thomas Sentenced to Life in Prison
A second woman who was 17 at the time of the attacks, also spoke at the sentencing, during which Thomas was sentenced to three life terms. She said that she spent much of her time crying at home after the attacks, because she was too afraid to go out. She almost never went out alone, she said. Memories of the attack stayed with her, flashbacks coming while she was in the classroom.
"I couldn't forget it. It was always there," she said. "But I tried."
Still, she had a similar message for Thomas.
"I want to say to Mr. Thomas that I forgive you, even though you hurt me really bad. I forgive you," she said.
The mother of the third victim also spoke, saying that her daughter had nightmares
"She's changed her attitude about life," the mother said. "She's always been really excited, really happy. After she was raped, she just shut down."