CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - A kind, and gentle woman, Dorothy Marshall said back in the 1980's she thought she had it all; a perfect marriage, perfect children and a great job. Until that all turned upside down.
"I thought I had the perfect marriage. I married in June of 1977; had a son later, and 18 months later I had another son," Marshall said. "For 10 years, I thought everything was perfect."
Originally from Boynten Beach, Florida, the 56-year-old woman said it was around 1987 when she noticed a news report featuring the "Congress Avenue Rapist," a man connected to a series of rapes.
According to several Sun Sentinel newspaper clips, the "Congress Avenue Rapist," would wear a ski mask and tie up his victims. He would use weapons in his attacks, including steak knives and broken bottles, according to the article.
The newspaper says the attacks dated back to Dec. 9, 1986. The reports concerned Marshall, who found the description of the "Congress Avenue Rapist," troubling.
"I even read an article on it and shared it with my mom that the description of this individual kind of featured him at the time, and I was going to show him this article on the particular evening, but for some reason I couldn't find the paper after reading it," Marshall said.
Marshall said she was in denial for weeks, until her eldest son called her one day at work. She said he told her the police were at their house, and she needed to come home.
"When I arrived there, news media and detectives had surrounded the house. But, my son didn't open up the door until I got there and they were in need of getting some evidence out of the house and at that point I was devastated," Marshall said. "[I] didn't have a clue. No clue at all."
Her husband, George Forrest, was arrested and arraigned on eight counts of sexual battery and one count of armed burglary with pending rape charges, and Marshall said she never saw it coming.
"I just lost it because I didn't even have a clue as to what was going on," Marshall said. "[He was] always a protector and always took care of the household."
Forrest was found guilty for burglary assault of a person, sexual battery with a weapon or force, kidnapping and attempted sexual battery, which are charges listed on the Florida Department of Corrections web site.
Marshall says Forrest was sentenced to a consecutive 80-year prison term. He is currently serving out his sentence at the Florida Department of Corrections in Bowling Green, Florida. He will be released on September 26, 2025. He will be age 71 years old.
"I felt so bad. I even felt as a victim myself that it actually happened to me so I just couldn't imagine him doing that to other women because he was such a loving husband and a father at the time," Marshall said.
She says it took 15 years for her to finally come to terms with what Forrest did. She said it took her awhile, but through faith she was able to finally begin to heal.
"I was sitting in church and that's when my life turned again for the better," Marshall said. "I just rallied myself around positive people; positive thinking and I never desired to be married ever again."
Until she met Crockett man, Reginald Marshall.
"I tell him all the time, it's like a breath of fresh air. He's so gentle. I just hope I don't get too emotional," said Marshall, holding back tears. "Everything I ever wanted in a man was to love me, to love my children, and my children's children. That's what he gives to me on a daily basis. He supports everything I want to do."
Marshall is the creator of the Hurting & Waiting To Be Healed Ministries. She will be hosting a Women's Conference called "Push Pass Your Pain," on May 1-3.
The conference will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 1, and on Friday, May 2. It will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 3. Registration starts at $15, but all proceeds will go to the nonprofit. Marshall says she hopes people who have gone through hurt like she did, will find comfort through the conference.
The conference will be at Hampton Memorial Cogic at 1106 Peach St., Crockett, Texas. For more information, you can contact 936-204-1397 or 936-545-8192. You can also email email@example.com.