Michaela Smith, an Alabama cheerleader has told she has forgiven her father for secretly filming her in the bedroom and bathroom.
In forgiving her father, the Pell City senior revealed how her faith in God had allowed her to overcome her anger and resentment towards her dad who would eventually end up serving 12 months for the perverted acts.
The teen added that she is now using that very faith to help others in similar situations.
Michaela Smith is set to receive a Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Achievement Award for students who overcome hardship at a banquet gathering this Monday night.
The girl’s travails began when aged 15 she was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome – a life-threatening condition which causes an abnormal arrhythmia in the heart.
Told she would never cheer or dance competitively again, she said she held onto her faith – and recovered.
Nevertheless she was forced to deal with further challenges after her father had hidden her digital camera to record in her room.
Things unraveled in April 2011, when Michaela’s mom Rhonda came to notice a blinking red light on the shelf as her daughter got changed out of church clothes.
Not wanting to distress her daughter, the mother told her other daughter Janet – from a previous marriage – who sent the camera off to a friend who knew computer forensics.
It emerged that her husband, Michael Smith, then 55, had taped his daughter four times – for extended periods – over the course of several months.
The St. Clair County Commission human resources officer was arrested on Apr. 29 and indicted that November – but soon found himself out on bail.
This precipitated Michaela Smith leaving home, not wishing to be within the company of her pervert dad, staying inside at a friend’s house. Of course that posits the obvious question, why didn’t the father simply move out of the house and how was it that the mother was able to stand by Michael Smith after unspeakable transgressions?
Verbally abused at school, she turned the other cheek. Her dad was eventually tried, and given a year in prison of a 15-year split sentence.
Following her father’s jailing, Michaela eventually managed to pick herself up.
Through therapy with psychologist Bob Stone, she soon saw her burden ‘as a gift’ and was able to relate to those who’d also been betrayed by family members.
Becoming active as a volunteer in her church youth group, Michaela was soon leading a summer camp for struggling teens.
‘It brought tears to my eyes,‘ she told AL.com.
‘I was starting to realize without what my father had done, I wouldn’t be able to touch the lives of children and others in the way I can now,‘ she said.
‘It was at that moment I became truly thankful for all that had happened to me,’ she added.
Michaela, an active member of the Church of the Highlands at Grants Mill in Birmingham, also credits God with helping her father combat his own demons.
Although not allowed to be in contact with him, despite him being released from prison last March, she’s been told he turned to religion while locked up.
‘Sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom for us to make a change and that is what happened to my father,’ she said.
‘I am so thankful for the year he spent in prison because it truly saved his life,’ she added.
Michaela Smith has also told that, one day, she holds hope that there could be a chance of a fresh relationship with her father.
But that may occur, she said, only once she had ‘grown up more.’ She now plans to attended Auburn and to eventually become a social worker or psychologist.
And then there were these comments on the web that made me wonder:
He got religion in jail, I’ll bet. People like this Can Not change! They can behave perfectly in a controlled setting, lie to shrinks, but as soon as they are out, it starts all over. I hope she realizes this by the time she is considering a “fresh relatonship.” Poor girl.
“People can change”. Some people can walk tightropes, some can win olympic medals, others can fly high performance fighter jets. However, MOST people can’t. MOST people don’t change. The recidivism rate for child molesters is astronomically high. Chances are, he will never change.