An Ohio man who repeatedly raped his daughter over a long period of time has finally been convicted after 10 years on the run.
On March 6, 2014, Frank Hertel, 51, was sentenced to 19 to 95 years in prison by the Delaware County Common Pleas Court after he pleaded guilty to rape and gross sexual imposition.
Hertel’s daughter, Heather Orr, now 31 years old, was repeatedly raped by Hertel starting when she was just three years old. According to Orr’s claims, her father told her he was “teaching her how to express love.”
Following years of abuse, Hertel was eventually arrested and set to go to trial when Orr was 18 years old. However, days before the trial, Hertel, Orr’s mother Judy, and Orr’s brother fled to Germany. According to the New York Daily News, the couple used fake identities and ran a bar and grill for a decade.
For years, Orr, who was abandoned by her family, struggled to have a normal life. In 2009, after years of building up the courage to search for her father, Orr decided to run an Internet search for him. When she Googled her father’s name, she found an article about her grandfather being arrested and charged for $1.2 million in tax fraud. She contacted some of the people who commented on the article, and eventually, was able to learn about her family’s connections in Germany. Using the new information, she pieced together where her father was hiding out. She contacted German authorities and passed along all of her newly acquired intel to them. They immediately began investigating Hertel’s whereabouts – and sure enough, he was captured soon after.
Hertel will now likely spend the rest of his life in prison. During court proceedings, Hertel told the judge that he felt sorry for what he did.
“It’s not the life that I wanted my daughter to have,” said Hertel. “I wanted her life to be perfect.”
Orr says that each and every day she struggles to find happiness.
“I have lost my entire family,” Orr said. “I often wonder, if I hadn’t found him, what would have happened.”
Orr, now a married mother, says she plans to write a book about the struggles she has faced throughout her life.