Man pleads guilty to kidnapping, sexual assault of young boy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Man pleads guilty to kidnapping, sexual assault of young boy

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Teresa Gifford says she still cries every day.

And the day 50-year-old Eugene Summers pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexually assaulting her son, Matthew, was no different.

"It was a huge relief that morning to get that news" Gifford said.

Summers, a close family friend, moved in with Gifford's parents in the late 1970's. He was then known as Eugene Barksdale.

"He helped my mother take care of my father when he was dying. I can't help but wonder if he did that just so he could have access to my son," Gifford said.

Matthew Gifford says that access led to years of abuse behind closed doors.

"I was told that it was a secret and it was to never be told," he said.

Summers later moved to Denver, Colorado, and began living with Theresa Gifford's sister. He worked as a counselor for Denver Public Schools.

Matthew Gifford, 11 years old at the time, says that when he went to visit his aunt that year, Summers locked him in a room and again molested him.

"Mentally, it confuses you because you're not sure why someone who is supposed to love you so much is hurting you," he said.

Theresa Gifford says she can rest her mind some knowing Summers can no longer hurt any other children.

"I want him to never be able to do this to anybody else. Whatever it takes, I don't care how long he stays in jail," she said.


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