NEW BRITAIN -- Outside of New Britain Superior Court Tuesday, 24-year-old Cassandra Cummings said she feels as if a weight has been lifted off of her heart now that she is going public about being sexually assaulted as a child.
“Now is a good time for my story to finally have a face and be out there and for others to hear it,” said Cummings.
It is a secret she kept for more than a decade.
Cassandra has accused 30-year-old Jason Mussman of Plainville of raping her four times from 2006-2010.
She said the first time was at her family’s home during her brother’s 18th birthday party when she was just 11-years-old.
“I was kind of defeated and afraid,” she said. “And very you know lost.”
Cassandra described Mussman as a former friend of her sister and brother, Emmanuel Cummings.
“I would never think that somebody that I considered as a friend would do something like that to a family member,” Emmanuel said.
“It’s a parents worst nightmare,” said Cassandra’s father, Daniel Cummings. “I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. I don’t wish this on any family.”
Cassandra said Mussman sexually assaulted her again at age 14 and twice at age 15, including once at New Britain High School after her freshman volleyball game where Mussman was working as an assistant physical trainer for the school.
“Yes he followed me,” Cummings said
It’s been more than two years since the investigation into Cassandra’s allegations about Mussman began. Since then, Mussman was arrested, confessed to most of the crimes and was convicted of several counts, including sexual assault.
Prior to that he worked as a physical therapist. Mussman even performed physical therapy on Cassandra’s father before she accused him of rape.
“He stood over me for six weeks and rehabbed my knee,” Daniel said. “Knowing how much he hurt my daughter.”
The Cummings family is hoping to put the ordeal behind them. Mussman was sentenced to three years in prison with time served Tuesday. During the sentencing hearing, Cassandra and her parents read victim impact statements.
“What you won’t hear are the screens that wake me and my family from my own reoccurring nightmares,” Cassandra said during her victim impact statement.
Mussman told the courtroom he made a mistake. Cassandra said regrets not coming forward sooner.
However, she hopes telling her story now encourages other potential victims to come forward as well. Additionally, Cassandra is expecting a baby girl in another month or so.
She will be a new mother with a daughter of her own to protect.
“I want her to feel safe.” Cummings said. I want to create a world for her and that she’ll feel that you know my mom is strong.”
Mussman was also convicted of risk of injury to a minor.
In a statement, a spokesperson for New Britain schools for said, “Since this is a pending legal matter, we cannot make any comments at this time.”