It’s a relief for a Weatherford family now that 48-year-old Raymond Kionute is in prison. He will spend the next 10 years in the Department of Corrections after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse. Kionute was also sentenced to 5 years of probation and will be a registered sex offender for life.
The family is now speaking out about the details behind the case.
Lezley Bell is the mother of the victim, Breanne.
“Her biggest hurdle is that she is intellectually disabled,” said Lezley.
Breanne has level 2 autism. She is social and outgoing, but cognitively functions as a 5 or 6 year old.
Bell says the best part of her daughter is her kindness and innocence. Her love and laughter are pure.
After high school, the job options were slim for Breanne. The family was excited to find a sheltered workshop in Weatherford that hired people with special needs.
However, within six to seven weeks after Breanne started working there, Bell noticed a change in Breanne’s behavior. She said her daughter became withdrawn and depressed. She wasn’t the happy, bubbly Breanne that she raised.
“Out of the blue, she said I am really getting tired of Raymond asking me who I sleep with,” Bell described the night that Breanne told her what happened. “She said yea, I’m tired of him telling me to come here so he can grab my crotch.”
Raymond Kionute was Breanne’s supervisor. Lezley said the family had trusted Kionute. Bell quickly reported it to the Weatherford Police Department and more gruesome details came out.
After 18 months of court dates, Kionute is in prison. Bell feels safe speaking out so she can raise awareness for sexual abuse victims, especially for those with special needs.
Since the incident, Bell has raised money to get a service dog for Breanne through Agvocates. The poodle, Dory, has helped with her anxiety. Breanne is also seeing a counselor.
On Sept 23 at Rader Park in Weatherford, Bell and her family are hosting an awareness event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to celebrate the guilty verdict, and also to help other victims speak out.
Lezley created a group called Proverbs31eight. The motto of the group is “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”