Six-year-old Melissa Hammer dreaded getting home from elementary school. Her mother was at work, but her stepfather, who’d adopted her, would be waiting at their Oceanside, California, home, his shift as a Marine Corps communications specialist having finished early. She’d shudder as his hulking 200-pound, six-feet-one-inch frame appeared in his bedroom door. “I don’t feel good; come and make me feel better,” he’d say to the child as he grabbed for her, his pants off or unzipped. Then, forcing her head down, he’d make her perform oral sex on him. “Don’t tell anyone,” he’d insist. “If you do, you’ll be in trouble. This is our secret.”

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