Both shared their testimony in the case of Maud Edwin Elliott Ingram, a former state probation officer who pled guilty to four counts of second-degree rape today and was swept away to prison to begin a sentence of at least 18 years.
The victims weren’t the only ones to testify. Ingram apologized and several of his supporters in the community took the stand to testify on his behalf.
“I didn’t feel safe in my own home,” said one victim, who was assigned Ingram after moving from Virginia to Roanoke Rapids. “He caused me unbearable pain. I had nowhere to go. I had depression and wouldn’t get out of bed. It got to the point I was running from him.”
There was a time in her life she liked to wear dresses. On a September day in 2015 Ingram was lifting up her skirt to take photos when he was arrested by North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agents who were conducting surveillance in her Mills Street house. “I no longer have the desire to wear dresses. By the grace of God, I will survive this.”
Raped seven times by Ingram, which the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys said was an attempt to leverage prison time over her head, the victim said, “I felt threatened. It got to the point I didn’t want to call him.”
For Ingram’s Hertford County victim, who was raped by him in the summer of 2012, “I was broken, grief stricken.”
That grief came from the death of her mother, a former sergeant in the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office whose star she still wears.
Her death sent her spiraling back into addiction, she told the court. “Instead of helping me he kept me high.”
She said she didn’t understand how she was “held captive by her own probation officer.”
She sought a place that would take her in while on probation. She found what is now called Healing Transitions in Raleigh. “I cried for four days. I was finally able to grieve over the death of my mother.”
She turned to Ingram, who was seated with his attorney, and said, “Mr. Ingram, I trusted you to do your job. You kept me high.”
One of the last acts she said Ingram did was a place a campaign poster for his wife, state Senator Erica Smith-Ingram in her yard. “Did you ever care about what would happen to me?”
The victim said if she had come forward first, “There would be no more victims … God says I have to forgive you. I’m working on that … May God bless you and keep you.”
Rockingham County Judge Ed Wilson, who presided over the court, told the women, “Hold your head high. Your work with the district attorney is something you should be proud of.”
Ingram, who at one point broke down seated at the defense table over the mention of lost family members said, “I apologize to the victims for my lack of communication. I apologize to my wife.”
He also offered apologies to his son, his brothers, other family members and clergy. “I asked God to forgive me and I apologize to the North Carolina Department of Public Safety … I asked God to to forgive me a long time ago. God have mercy on my soul.”
Before the victims and Ingram spoke in court, several people from community spoke on his behalf.
“He has a very supportive family, an exceptionally caring family,” said Bishop Wayne Welch of Cool Spring Missionary Baptist Church. “He made his high school years exemplary, both athletically and academically.”
A graduate of Elizabeth City State University, which he attended on a track and football scholarship, Welch said, “He avoided trouble.”
Welch said he would continue to support Ingram. “I’ve always been a supporter. I’ve never met anyone who’s perfect.”
Doris Watlington of the Henrico community called Ingram a “very low key” and calm person. “He spent time at my house. He was always in place when you needed him. He was always a caring man.”
Reverend Franklin Williams of Roanoke Chapel Missionary Church in Jackson called Ingram a great friend. “He was always a great source of support. At one point he worked at school as an assistant principal. He was hard-working. He loved his family. He is resilient, very strong and loyal. He’s a good man. After hearing what I heard today, that’s not the man I know.”
His aunt, Belinda Joyner, said her nephew was always conscious of what he did. When his youngest son died, she said, “He was on his knees by the bed. We had to pry him up.”
Asked by the judge her take on her nephew’s admission of guilt, Joyner said, “I can’t explain it. It’s totally beyond me.”