And so this was Judgment Day.
Nellie Phelan had waited two-and-a-half years for this day to come and now the monster – you can't call him a man – named Steven Masiello, 31, who sexually exploited her four-year-old daughter known as Victim #1, would be copping a plea, facing a minimum of 10 years in a Federal pen.
Not enough. But not insignificant.
The judge could give him much more time because Steven Masiello was also the biological father of Victim#1 and in those times when she was in his sole care he took depraved pornographic photos of her, distributing them into the sewer system of the Dark Net, swapping them with other pedophiles for rape and bondage photos of other girls under age four.
Nellie sat in the federal courtroom staring at a different pedophile defendant -- in a related but separate case -- with whom Masiello exchanged the child porn photos.
"I want to run up there and cut his f------ b---- off," Nellie whispered to her husband, Donald.
This defendant had a prior New York State charge of child pornography, receiving a Youthful Offender probation deal at 17. Now that he was 20 he had been arrested again, this time by the FBI, for trading child porn with Masiello. His lawyer argued that his Youthful Offender case didn't count as a prior conviction because in New York it becomes sealed.
The federal judge glared down, and said, "In the federal statute it is considered a prior crime and a factor in sentencing."
Translation: this mutant would receive 20 years in a hell hole where there are no kids, only men, most of them fathers, who consider child perverts lower on the evolutionary scale than the cockroaches in their cells. He was led away by court officers, pausing, to nod a teary-eyed goodbye to his weeping mother, father, and siblings until like 2035.
If he lives that long.
He was marched out. And Masiello -- whose family secured $1million for 31 months of bail and paid two high priced attorneys, Nellie Phelan never received one dime in child support for the little girl he exploited – entered wearing an oversized suit.
"I've been waiting almost three years for this moment I thought would never come," whispered Nellie Phelan, whose childhood included a loving and protective mom and dad, happy summers in the Hamptons, and memorable trips to Disney, Los Angeles, and Ireland.
The prosecutor read off the charges, detailing the photos Masiello took of Victim#1, and swapped them with human bilge rats like the pervert who'd just left the courtroom. In return Masiello received the cruel, and unspeakable aforementioned photos of other babies. In one text exchange with a different pedophile Masiello was asked the identity of the cutie in his pictures. When Masiello said it was his daughter the other creep texted, "Your own daughter, WTF?!!!"
Masiello was even considered the lowest of the low by a total lowlife. And yet this bag of garbage used to brag that he was a Series Seven stockbroker, bebopping like a macho tough guy even though he couldn't beat a rug with a whisk broom.
Now, as he admitted under oath that he had a 9th grade education, Masiello sat hunched at the table like turtle retracting into its shell. Not one member of his family who might finally have read the discovery evidence file against him appeared in court. When it was time for the allocution – confessing his crimes in his own words as part of his plea deal -- the judge made Masiello speak in a slow, loud voice as he confessed to his unforgivable exploitation of his own daughter.
The man who was supposed to protect Victim#1 the most from the monsters of the big, scary world was himself the monster.
When Daddy is the Bogeyman the nightmares last a lifetime.
Nellie Phelan wept as Masiello spoke those cruel and graphic and unforgivable words. But her resilient little girl who was eight now was doing fantastically well. With a new Daddy, who actually loved and protected her from monsters like her biological father.
The judge sat listening to Masiello's string of horror and like any good man with beating human heart you could see his face surrender the outrage and the sorrow. When the defense lawyer made a plea to continue Masiello's bail until sentencing in mid-January the judge shook his head and said Masiello had just confessed to crimes against his daughter and was facing at least 10 years.
"The defendant is remanded," he said.
Nelly Phelan shouted," Yes! Thank you, YES!" She embraced her husband as the court officer and a federal prison officer made Masiello remove his tie, shoes and belt and marched him out of the courtroom where he would enter the federal penal system, not to emerge for at least 10 years.
"At last, justice for my little girl," said Nellie Phelan as the door slammed on Steven Masiello.
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