Donald Truluck, a 66-year-old Florida man who never held a long-term job, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s niece repeatedly over a period of six years, starting when the little girl was just 6-years-old. But his accuser is not a little girl anymore — because the horrific rapes, she says, happened as long as 40 years ago.
The alleged victim, a 46-year-old woman identified by the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper only as “Tracey,” says that she had blacked out the traumatic memories — even though at some level they continued to haunt her.
“I dropped out of school. I had trust issues. I’m a recluse. I stay home. I don’t trust people,” Tracey told the Star-Banner.
She dropped out of high school at 16 and married at 17, according to an Associated Press report of the bizarre and heartbreaking story. She later became suicidal — but fortunately sought out psychological counseling to combat the feelings of extreme depression.
But it wasn’t until about six years ago, after Tracey and her husband, by sheer chance, moved into a mobile home on land owned by Donald Truluck that the terrible events of her childhood, traumas that had damaged her for life, began to come back into focus in the dark reaches of her memory.
Her mother and her aunt, she says, were avid partiers back in those days, the 1970s and early 1980s. They would often dump Tracey with her aunt’s boyfriend, who was with the little girl so often he sometimes introduced her to others as his daughter.
That boyfriend was Donald Truluck. She spent days on end in his care, she says, as her own mom and her mom’s sister lived it up, freely indulging in drugs and alcohol — as so many young people did in that era.
“He was a nice person — he is a nice person,” she said of Truluck. “Softspoken, nonviolent…but he is very conniving.”
Not only would Truluck sexually assault her, often in the back of his truck where he kept a mattress, presumably for that purpose, he frequently gave the pre-teen Tracey drugs — including cocaine, marijuana and Quaaludes.
“He groomed me well, I can say that. He took me places and bought me things. But in return I had to pay for it,” Tracey told the newspaper. “My mom — they trusted him.”
According to the AP account, when Tracey recently asked Truluck directly if her disturbing memories were real, he admitted that they were — in a phone call that was recorded by investigators. He even acknowledged that he expected he would be “going to hell” for his sexual abuse of the little girl, according to the report.
But the lawyer for Donald Truluck, Evelyn Sapp, says that he now “disputes the allegations.” He “looks forward” to defending himself in court, she said.
[Image: Alachua County Sheriff’s Department]