Sexual abuse lies keep man in prison; courts refuse to hold new trial

Sexual abuse lies keep man in prison; courts refuse to hold new trial

They took away the children eleven years ago. They took away the family photos just the other day — 212 glossy images of kids now grown, of smiling grandchildren he's never seen or held.

Charles Farrar kept the pictures in his cell in the Sterling Correctional Facility, a collection that expanded with every letter, every precious word from his far-flung tribe. He's never made a secret of them. But men convicted of terrible crimes aren't allowed to have certain kinds of photos in their possession. So when a recent shakedown turned up a snapshot of his youngest grandson having his diaper changed, the kid just lying there exposed — well, that was the end of the pictures.

That's what happens when you're condemned to a mountain of time. Piece by piece, inch by inch, they take it all away. Your freedom. Your memories. Your ties to anything human.

Charles Farrar passed a polygraph and turned down a plea bargain, convinced he'd be acquitted at his 2002 trial. His earliest parole date is 77 years away.
mark manger
Charles Farrar passed a polygraph and turned down a plea bargain, convinced he'd be acquitted at his 2002 trial. His earliest parole date is 77 years away.
Sacha Bruce, now 26, recanted her testimony shortly after Farrar's trial — and was attacked by prosecutors.
alan prendergast
Sacha Bruce, now 26, recanted her testimony shortly after Farrar's trial — and was attacked by prosecutors.
Farrar with sons Charlie and Eric in 1991.
Farrar with sons Charlie and Eric in 1991.
Farrar with sons Charlie and Eric during a recent visit at Sterling.
Farrar with sons Charlie and Eric during a recent visit at Sterling.

But Farrar isn't a man who gives up easily. He's filed a lawsuit over the seizure of his "contraband" family album. The dispute has already cost him his clean disciplinary record, his job in the prison upholstery operation, and his place in an honor pod reserved for the best-behaved inmates in Sterling.

Farrar doesn't care. The pictures mean that much to him.

"Hope has been snatched from me so many times," he says. "They put me in here for life. Family is basically what has kept me going. The biggest reason I don't do away with myself is my kids. I want to make sure they're doing okay."

Family may be what keeps Farrar going, but it's also what put him behind bars. In 2002 an Arapahoe County jury found the former bakery worker guilty of multiple counts of sexual assault on a child after hearing the horrific story told by his oldest stepdaughter, Sacha. She testified that Farrar, often assisted by her own mother, had subjected her to more than a hundred instances of molestation, rape and sexual abuse from the age of eleven until she was fifteen. Judge John P. Leopold sentenced Farrar to 145 years to life — the kind of time usually reserved for serial killers, terrorists or Bernie Madoff.

Like many convicted sex offenders, Farrar has always maintained his innocence. Unlike most of them, he doesn't bother to hide the nature of his conviction, even though child molesters can expect brutal treatment from other prisoners. But what truly sets his case apart is the degree to which family members continue to support him, insisting that he couldn't possibly have done such a thing. And his staunchest defender for the past eight years has been the one person, other than Farrar and his co-defendant, who knows what really happened: his alleged victim.

Shortly after Farrar's trial, prosecutors dropped similar charges against Sacha's mother, Debbie, because Sacha refused to testify against her. A few months later, after Sacha turned eighteen, she went back to court and told a very different story.

She said that she'd lied, that she'd fabricated the allegations against Debbie and Charles so she could live with her grandparents in Oklahoma. That she'd made fools out of the cops, the social workers, the prosecutors, who not only swallowed her preposterous tale, but coached her on how to tell it better on the stand. And when she tried to call the whole thing off, two caseworkers and a prosecutor pressured her into sticking to her story and ignored her assertions that it wasn't true.

"I ultimately testified against my stepfather at his trial because I was scared by threats of being placed in a mental institution," she wrote in an affidavit submitted in court. "I have had trouble sleeping since I made these allegations. When I do sleep, I have nightmares about ruining innocent lives."

Sacha's explosive claims triggered a series of hearings before Judge Leopold. Prosecutors and social workers took the stand to deny any misconduct; relatives testified that they'd expressed doubts about Sacha's story to officials but had been told to keep quiet. If it had been a different sort of crime at issue, in any county other than Arapahoe — which has a formidable reputation for aggressively pursuing child sexual-assault cases — the new evidence might have made Farrar a free man. Instead, the case has become a long, tortuous gauntlet of legal wrangles and appeals, and Farrar remains in his cell.

In America's holy war on sex offenders, it's a matter of gospel to believe the children — no matter how improbable the claims, how inadequate the investigation, how suspect the credibility of the alleged victim. The children must be believed. Unless, of course, they change their story to something nobody wants to hear.

"This is a terrifying case," says attorney Mark Walta, who's worked on Farrar's appeals since 2003. "The prosecution's entire case was staked to this woman's credibility. But when you're dealing with someone who is more or less a pathological liar, you don't know where the truth starts and ends."

"It's crazy," says Craig Truman, the veteran criminal defense attorney who represented Farrar at trial. "I just find it amazing that some judge somewhere didn't say that without this girl, there's no evidence and he deserves a new trial."

"Our system is totally and royally screwed up," says Sacha Bruce, now 26 years old — and still fighting to get her stepfather out of prison. "I don't know if they believed me or not or if they were just covering their own butts. I wanted this fixed. I thought I would be leaving the courthouse in handcuffs, and they would let him go."

******

The son of an Air Force officer, Charles Farrar kicked around several states, from North Dakota to Texas to Illinois, before arriving in Colorado in the early 1990s. He was in his late twenties, hardworking and ambitious. He also had two young sons with him from his second failed marriage.

One night he began chatting on a phone dating line with another single parent, a woman named Debbie. She lived in Westminster. He lived in Aurora. They decided to meet at a truck stop in Commerce City, kids and all.

Debbie turned out to be a petite, outgoing woman with two daughters and a son: Sacha, Brittani and Dustin. She had a history of getting mixed up with violent men and had recently fled a relationship in New Mexico after she discovered that her boyfriend had been neglecting and abusing her children while she was at work — even tying them up and sticking them in a closet.

Farrar, too, had a tumultuous background; his second marriage, to a stripper, had not ended well. But he figured he'd learned from his mistakes. He had a good job at a Safeway bread plant and was working his way up to a foreman position. The couple hit it off immediately. The kids, all under the age of ten, seemed to get along, too. When the date was over, Sacha and Dustin tried to sneak Charles's boys, Eric and Charlie, into their station wagon so they could keep playing.

After a few months of driving between each others' apartments, Farrar proposed that they move in together — a matter of economy and convenience as much as passion. "At first she shot me down," he recalls. "Then about three weeks later, she changed her mind."

Debbie — who has since started a new life in another city and doesn't want her last name published — doesn't recall any doubts. "He was a very nice guy," she says. "He treated me good, and he treated the kids good. We did things as a family, and that's what I wanted."

In 1995 the couple and their extended brood moved into a house in Aurora with a large back yard. They started with a pile of bills, but Farrar was determined to turn that around. He worked long hours at the plant, then picked up work on the side cleaning houses; eventually he got into renovating and flipping them, generating a six-figure bank account in the process. He built a swimming pool and a clubhouse for the kids.

Debbie remembers those years as very busy but happy times. "For the most part, the kids all got along," she says. "There were times when Charles and I had conflicts, when I felt he favored Charlie and Eric over my kids, and vice versa. But we tried to treat them all the same, and to this day they're brothers and sisters."

Because Debbie also worked, processing Medicaid forms for Adams County Social Services, Farrar decided to move his elderly parents into the home, too, so they could help supervise the children. In 1998, a new baby, Austin, joined the clan, bringing the population of the house up to ten.

"Yes, there were six kids," recalls Eric Farrar, now twenty. "But our Christmas trees were covered in presents. It was a wonderful life."

Yet not so wonderful, perhaps, for Sacha, the oldest of the children. She was a bright, creative girl, but also one who demanded and expected other people's attention. The expanding household made that increasingly difficult.

Sacha, her siblings say, had always been...different. She'd struggled with dyslexia at first, but when she finally learned to read, she took to it with a vengeance, devouring fat tomes like Gone With the Wind in a single marathon session. She would then start acting like a character in the book and persist in it for days, or claim that some adventure she'd read about had happened to her.

"Sacha had an issue with being honest and factual," Debbie says. "When she graduated from kindergarten, they gave them certificates for different things. Hers was for storytelling."

As she grew older, Sacha seemed to live increasingly in her own head. She binged on Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel, Phyllis Whitney. She had few friends at school, usually younger kids that she traded Pokémon cards with in the lunchroom. But she could spin a yarn like nobody you ever met. Cathy Timmons, Debbie's sister, was astonished by how quickly her niece could improvise an elaborate and detailed story. Timmons watched the adolescent Sacha explain to one acquaintance that she was a certified air-conditioning technician, to another that she was a trained chef.

"At first I just thought she had an active imagination," Timmons says. "But when she got older, the stories she would tell — she would say it like she believed it. You'd call her on it, because you were there and you knew it didn't happen, and she'd still argue with you."

Whatever was going on, Sacha wanted to be at the center of it. And if there was nothing going on, she could invent a situation. "I can remember one time when Dustin fell off his bike and scratched his face a bit," Charlie Farrar recalls. "Sacha came home and said half his face was missing. Another time she said someone got shot down by the creek and that kids were having sex down there. I didn't believe any of it."

Her stepfather noticed that other kids would befriend Sacha — and then abruptly drop her. He suggested to Debbie that maybe the girl had a psychological problem, what doctors call a factitious disorder, but Debbie didn't agree.

By the time she entered middle school, though, it was clear that Sacha had plenty of problems on her plate. Her grades were abysmal. Tests indicated that she had the ability to operate at a much higher level; she just didn't bother to turn in her work. "I was really bored," she says now. "It was pretty much, 'Nobody wants to listen to me or respect me, so I'm not going to have anything to do with them.'"

She resented her living arrangements more with each passing year. Before Farrar came along, her mom had had plenty of time to do fun things with her and Dustin. Now both Debbie and Charles were always working, and she was stuck at home with Farrar's mother, who had strict rules about staying close to the house. Sacha preferred her maternal grandparents; she and Dustin used to spend summers with them in Oklahoma, but now those trips were over because the whole family was too busy to go.

Much to Sacha's displeasure, Mrs. Farrar helped herself to puzzles and games from Sacha's room. The girl retaliated by moving furniture around at night or brushing a broom against the ceiling below her keeper's room, trying to convince her that the house was haunted.

Her quarrel was chiefly with her stepfather's mother, but Sacha had issues with Charles, too. When she was twelve, she and Dustin, carried away in a game with the younger children, had handcuffed Eric and gagged him with a sock. An angry Charles confronted them; when they lied about what happened, he slapped them in the face, drawing blood — and considerable anguish from Debbie, who told him never to touch her children again. It was the only time her stepfather ever struck her, and he soon apologized, but for Sacha, it resurrected ugly memories of her mother's previous boyfriends. "Something like that stays with you," she says. "I find it hard to respect someone who would hurt someone weaker than them."

That same year, frustrated by the school's refusal to hold Sacha back for her bad grades, Debbie decided to home-school her daughter. The move left Sacha more isolated than ever. Debbie's parents, who disagreed with the decision, filed an anonymous complaint with social services, suggesting that Sacha wasn't getting an education. Debbie soon learned the source of the complaint and cut off all contact with them.

Sacha returned to public school the next fall. Her grades still flatlined. Sick of her daughter's refusal to pick up after herself or do her schoolwork, Debbie began removing things from her room, until there was nothing left but a bed and a dresser. Defiant, Sacha snuck out at night, partied, smoked weed and got drunk.

She seethed over the grandparents she wasn't allowed to talk to and the ones who wouldn't leave her alone and the new baby and how little time anybody seemed to have for her. And she started to think about ways to get away from her awful, awful parents, who wanted her to go to school and clean her room.

Her extensive reading of trashy novels had provided valuable insights into the perils of sexual abuse. Health classes at school had filled in some gaps in her knowledge, assuring her that there was a vast network of concerned adults ready to assist her in a crisis. And there was something else: In 1998, a social worker had come to the house to ask her if anyone had been "inappropriate" with her. From what she could gather, two stepdaughters from Farrar's second marriage had come forward to accuse him of something that may or may not have happened years before. Sacha told the woman that nobody had touched her, adding that she'd immediately tell her dad — meaning Farrar — if anyone tried. The investigation was soon dropped, but the whole episode was still fresh in her mind two years later.

"I probably sat in my room and thought about it for a couple of months," she says now. "Whether it could work. Whether I could actually get out of the house."

The situation came to a boil in the first days of March 2000. Sacha was fifteen, in eighth grade, terrified that she might be pregnant — and just as terrified about what might happen if her mother found out. Then, to her great surprise, Cathy Timmons contacted her at school and gave her a phone number for Debbie's parents. Debbie may have banned them from their lives, but Aunt Cathy wanted Sacha to know that her grandparents still cared about her and wanted to hear from her.

Sacha called them the next day. Juanita Timmons, her grandmother, would later testify that the first ten minutes of the conversation was "quite normal," but then Sacha started to hint that she was being abused. Timmons asked her what she meant. She said Charles had touched her.

Timmons asked her if anyone else was involved. Sacha said no. Timmons urged her to report this to a teacher right away.

That night, Debbie busted her daughter and Dustin for smoking cigarettes. The heated conversation that followed convinced Sacha she could never, ever 'fess up to her pregnancy fears, if Mom could get this worked up over a lousy cigarette.

"She was talking about how worthless we were because we got caught smoking," she recalls. "She'd always smoked. She was being a major hypocrite."

The next day, Sacha visited a counselor at her middle school and said she was having a hard time at home. The counselor asked about her mom's boyfriend and got some jaw-dropping answers. The counselor brought in a social worker and an Aurora police officer, who had many more questions.

As Sacha talked to them, she realized that simply accusing Charles would not be enough. They would just take him away and send her home.

She was going to have to put her mother in the story.

******

Sacha didn't come home from school that day. Worried, Charles called Debbie at work, then decided to drive around and look for her. The police pulled up behind his truck before he could go anywhere.

"I'm sitting there, trying to figure out what the hell is going on," he says. "They asked me where the videotape was. I said, 'What videotape?'"

Sacha's siblings were pulled out of class and summoned to the principal's office, where a social worker showed them anatomically correct drawings and asked them to identify various body parts. (There was a disagreement among the adults over whether eight-year-old Brittani should be shown the male drawing.) No one explained what was going on. The children were sent home, where other social workers were waiting for them and police were searching the house.

"I remember seeing my dad talking to the policemen," Eric recalls, "and the social workers telling us to pack up a few things. We were going to be gone a few days but would be home soon. I was totally confused."

"I remember Debbie crying," says Charlie, "and my grandparents telling her things will be okay. My dad was very angry. I had never heard him curse before."

They took all the kids — even Austin, who was a week shy of his second birthday. Farrar was arrested and booked. Debbie bailed him out later that night. The police decided there was no need to arrest her yet, but they asked a lot of strange questions.

"They wanted to know how often Charles and I had sex, who initiated it, what positions," she recalls. "It had nothing to do with the case."

The couple didn't learn what the case was about until they were handed court documents. The enormity of Sacha's accusations left them speechless.

She'd told the police that Charles Farrar had been sexually abusing her since around the time of her eleventh birthday. It began one night when her mother told her to come to their bedroom and had her lie down between them while Charles groped her breasts and crotch. In subsequent encounters, Farrar performed oral sex on her, which she called "munching," forced her to perform oral sex on him and had intercourse with her while Debbie held her down.

They paid her "hush money," usually ten or twenty dollars per episode, and threatened to "put her six feet under" if she told anyone, she said. At one point she was allowed to go to a "Spring Fling" event at school only after she allowed them to videotape a particular kink of theirs — having her mother suck her stepfather's semen out of her. Farrar had also urged her to persuade a friend to join her in "doing a party" with several of his beer-drinking buddies, who would pay $30 each to have sex with the girls. Sacha said she'd stalled him by claiming the other girl wouldn't commit to the job.

There was no proof of any of this, just Sacha's word. But to the bewilderment of Debbie and Charles, the official investigation generated by such devastating allegations was minimal, as if the police didn't feel any need to confirm or disprove Sacha's story. Farrar readily consented to a search of the house, which failed to turn up the videotape Sacha had mentioned. The officers didn't collect any clothing for possible DNA tests — even though Sacha claimed the most recent assault had occurred just four days earlier.

A medical exam confirmed that Sacha was sexually active. Debbie told police that her daughter had a boyfriend and had asked her to make an appointment so that she could obtain birth-control pills. (Sacha insisted she'd only had sex with her stepfather; nobody bothered to ask the boyfriend.) Debbie also told them that Sacha lived in a "fantasy world," an assertion that several other witnesses would have affirmed, had they been asked.

No one did ask. The lack of skepticism — or any attempt at serious inquiry — extended to other areas, too. Sacha claimed to have endured more than a hundred assaults at the hands of Charles and Debbie, in a house that contained two other adults and five children. There were no doors on her bedroom or the master bedroom much of the time because the house was being renovated. But investigators never questioned Sacha's siblings about what they might have heard or what they might know.

"I wish they would have talked to the other kids in the house," says Charlie. "We were always around each other, and someone would have seen something if any of it ever happened."

Even the most outrageous or nonsensical elements of the story didn't seem to give anyone pause. Farrar says he wasn't much of a beer drinker and far too much of a workaholic to have friends, let alone friends he could invite to an underaged-call-girl-and-beer party. And why would a pervert who's determined to keep the molestation a secret risk exposure by letting several other men in on the deal? Why would the couple have to threaten Sacha with death or bribe her if, as she also claimed, she sometimes went into Farrar's room unbidden and initiated sex with him while he was sleeping?

A few weeks after his arrest, one of Farrar's lawyers arranged for him to take a polygraph test. He denied any sexual contact with Sacha. The examiner deemed his answers truthful.

Colorado's victim-rights laws prohibit subjecting alleged victims to a polygraph test. But few questions were asked of Sacha after her initial interview with police. She repeated the story a week later, in a videotaped interview at the SunGate child-advocacy center, explaining that she was unable to provide specific dates of the assaults because it was all "one long nightmare." She had no further conversations with police or prosecutors until shortly before Farrar's trial, two years later. This peculiar lack of followup would later be explained in court as a desire, on the part of the investigators, not to "retraumatize" the victim.

Yet trauma was inescapable for the entire family. From the moment of Sacha's outcry, their lives were no longer their own. The children were scattered among foster homes, their parents buried in court hearings. As the days stretched into weeks and then into months, it dawned on each of them that they were never going to be all together again.

Charles and Debbie begged to be allowed to speak to Sacha, under any conditions — police observation, hidden microphones, whatever. They were informed that their victim wanted nothing to do with them. "I was told by my therapist that my mom and Charles refused to speak to me," Sacha says. "They were being told the same thing. But I never said I wouldn't talk to them."

The couple could barely speak to their other children. They had to be "cleared" by a sex-offender assessment team before they could visit them, for an hour or so a week, under the watchful eye of Arapahoe County Human Services. "We got greeting cards for the kids," Farrar recalls. "They said, 'We love you. As soon as you get home we're still going on our vacation.' I'd been busting my ass all this time, putting money aside so we could go on a Disney cruise. The kids never got the cards. The social workers said we were enticing our children."

Although Farrar had not yet been convicted of any crime, he and Debbie fought a losing battle against having their children adjudicated as "D&N" — dependent and/or neglected — and then having their parental rights terminated. (Debbie also lost her social services job.) The standard for finding a child dependent or neglected is much lower than that of a criminal case, notes the couple's civil attorney, Carrie Clein; the mere fact that Sacha made such allegations, whether true or not, is deemed ample evidence of a problem in the home.

That Debbie supported Charles's innocence worked against her in the parental-termination proceedings, Clein adds. "If she in any way questions the allegations made by her child, then she is said to be choosing the husband over the child," she says. "We have had to advise parents to split up in some situations in order to keep the children."

The children tried to keep track of each other, but it was difficult. Despite her age, Brittani was put with Sacha in a home for troubled adolescent girls, some of them suicidal or addicts or both. Dustin and Austin went elsewhere. Charlie and Eric got passed through several foster arrangements, separately and together. They all met occasionally for group visits and therapy sessions, but there were always adults hovering.

Sacha was the star of the gatherings. "They were always telling us that Sacha was in the right," says Eric, "that we shouldn't be mad at her, because our father was the one who did wrong. There wasn't much therapy, as far as helping us with our situation. It was all about trying to make us understand what was going on, the way they saw it."

Some of her siblings wanted to confront Sacha but didn't know how. It was months before Brittani even learned the real reason why she was in foster care. "I was told it was because my parents smoked in the house," she recalls.

"I remember Sacha explaining in one of those meetings the stuff that happened," says Charlie, "and how she used to drink nail polish remover and bleach to remove the pain. I don't know why I didn't say, 'What the fuck are you talking about?' I never believed her story from the beginning."

Sacha says she began to regret what she'd done almost immediately. She had not expected to end up in crummy foster homes for months, waiting for the okay to move in with her grandparents. She had not expected her siblings to be removed from the house, too. She turned out not to be pregnant, much to her relief, but the therapists kept pushing her to talk about her problems until she refused to speak, and then they kept pushing anti-depressants on her until she felt like a zombie.

But her lot was better than some. "I don't want to say I hate her," says Charlie, "but she tore my life apart. She destroyed it. We should have had such a different life. I should have been somebody else."

All the siblings have horror stories about foster care — filthy conditions, neglect and worse. One of the boys says he was sexually assaulted by an older teen who had a prior record of sex crimes. The victim reported the assault to the police the next day.

"All they did was move [the older boy] to another place where he could have no more contact with that house," he says. "I never heard anything else about it. It didn't make much sense to me. I mean, that's why we were in foster care, because of what supposedly happened at our house. But it really was going on in the foster home, and nobody cared."

******

Farrar made it clear to his attorneys from the start: There would be no plea bargains, no weasel deals that would leave him branded as a sex offender for life. He wanted vindication.

His strategy was simple: Just get on the stand and tell the truth. "I knew I would be acquitted," he says now. "I knew what I'd done and what I hadn't done. Not knowing the law or anything, I guess I was being sort of stupid."

But his attorney, Craig Truman, did know the law. Defending a kiddie sex case, he says, is never easy — not even when there isn't a shred of evidence and the alleged victim's story is as contradictory and convoluted as the tale Sacha told. The issue is so inflammatory, the believe-the-children mantra so pervasive, that potential jurors walk into the courtroom inclined to castrate the defendant before they've heard a word of testimony.

"We never have skepticism about these cases, because we believe the victims," Truman says. "The most recent one of these I did, we questioned 65 or 70 jurors. And a third of them said they couldn't be fair; they'd vote guilty just on the basis of the charges. It's easier to do murder cases."

In fact, he adds, Farrar would probably have been facing less severe penalties if he'd beaten Sacha to death in a drunken rage: "Many of my people are doing more time for a pat on the bottom than they would have if they pistol-whipped somebody. I'm not in favor of sex assaults, but I'm also not in favor of pistol-whipping."

Farrar was adamant. No deal. He and Debbie would tell their story, Sacha could tell hers, and any rational person could figure out who was telling the truth.

But his 2002 trial went in directions Farrar hadn't expected. He hadn't counted on the effect of having all these other witnesses, social workers and counselors and police and so on, take the stand and recount what Sacha had told them. The repetition seemed to reinforce the story — we believe it, why won't you? And he hadn't expected Sacha to come to court so well-prepared for battle, surrounded by a coterie of social workers, victim advocates and other professionals.

She flew in from Oklahoma, where she was now living with her grandparents. She told an investigator for the district attorney's office that she was terrified about testifying, and her aunt and grandmother knew she was a reluctant witness at best. But none of that came across in the courtroom.

Asked why she no longer lived with Charles and Debbie, Sacha rushed into a speech simmering with grievances. "Around the time I turned eleven," she said, "they began sexually abusing me. And my mom had emotionally abused me for years. She has a history of abusive boyfriends, and after a while it just began to eat me away from the inside out."

"She was a ferocious witness," Truman recalls. "She was snide. She fought with me. She'd wait for pauses to slip things in. She was as feisty as any I've ever had — just a very, very angry young lass."

Some observers thought she overplayed the part. Even one of the prosecutors, Darren Vahle, would later concede that Sacha "didn't sell well as a witness" and came across as "odd." Normally, Truman would have to tiptoe a bit in cross-examining a seventeen-year-old girl who claimed to have endured such a shocking ordeal. But her combativeness gave him license to respond in kind, barreling into the absurdities of her claims about call-girl parties, videotaped kink shows and the rest.

Sacha stood by her story — even though by now it was several stories, from the one she told her grandmother about Charles touching her, to accusing her mother the next day, to the shifting chronology of the variant versions she told at the D&N hearings and in Leopold's courtroom. When it was over, the state's star witness retreated to the women's room and became violently sick.

"I spent an hour and a half in the bathroom," Sacha says now. "I was convinced they were going to send me to a mental hospital."

Critical as it was, Sacha's testimony may not have been the defining moment of the trial. In sex-offense cases, prosecutors are allowed to introduce evidence of prior bad acts — even acts remote in time and very unlike the charges at hand — that would never be permitted in most other criminal trials. Farrar's jury got to hear two other adolescent girls accuse him of sexual assault.

The girls were the daughters of his second wife, Tina. Years after Farrar left Illinois, the youngest had come forward with an account of Farrar having intercourse with her up to twenty times when she was five. Her older sister, who would have been eight at the time, alleged that Farrar had oral sex with her.

The defense considered the allegations highly refutable. Farrar had remained friendly with Tina and her daughters after they split and had even had conversations with them about visiting him in Colorado in 1995. An official investigation into the claims wasn't launched until 1998, after he'd had a falling out with his ex, and had resulted in no charges. The case had big problems: The younger girl said her recollection of the assaults had come to her in a dream; Farrar insists he never lived in the house where the girl said these assaults occurred; and the alleged ongoing, brutal rape of a five-year-old had apparently gone unnoticed by the rest of her family.

Yet prosecutors brought the girls from Illinois to tell their story again, in an effort to give more weight to Sacha's account. "The prosecutors were allowed to admit this evidence because it was ostensibly similar, for establishing an MO," Walta explains. "They argued it as a kind of law of probability. How is it possible that lightning could strike the same man twice? He would have to be the unluckiest man on earth."

In closing arguments, Vahle and Truman agreed that the case came down to credibility — whether you believed Sacha or Charles and Debbie. But it also came down to the prior allegations. Neither accusation had much chance of prevailing on its own merits. Combined, though, they made an unbeatable stew of depravity and transgression.

The jurors clearly didn't believe Sacha on several points. They acquitted Farrar of sexual exploitation of children (the videotape incident), inducement of child prostitution (the call-girl party) and some other king-sized whoppers. But they found him guilty on 22 counts.

"I was floored," Farrar says now. "But I've had a lot of time to think about this. If I was on that jury, would I have convicted myself? I think I would have. It wasn't any one thing. It's just the trust you put in kids. You don't think they are going to be lying about something like this. And the charges are stacked — not one count, not two, but thirty. Something must have happened, there are so many."

Farrar was taken to his sentencing hearing in high-security gear: leg and belly chains, handcuffs and black box, the works. Like they were expecting him to explode. But he was calm when Judge Leopold handed him the 145 years. The waiting was over. He now knew exactly what to expect from his life.

All he could do, he told the judge, was hope that some day his accuser would come forward and tell the truth.

******

A few weeks after the Farrar verdict, Sacha asked Cathy Timmons if she could borrow a video camera. Her aunt assumed it was for a school project, but Sacha told her she wanted to make a statement admitting that she'd committed perjury.

"I asked her, 'Do you want to change your story because it's torn everybody apart, or because it isn't true?'" Timmons remembers. "She said it wasn't true, that she shouldn't have said it. She said it got out of control and she didn't know how to stop it."

A couple of days later, Debbie arrived in Oklahoma. She was still facing trial herself, but she'd received permission from the court to visit Dustin and Brittani, now staying with her parents, for Mother's Day. She expected that she would have to steer clear of Sacha. But Sacha sought her out and insisted that the two of them sit down and talk.

"She was apologetic," Debbie says. "She was talking about wanting to recant and do a video."

Sacha says she was sleeping badly, eating in binges or not at all, and trying to figure out how to undo what she'd done. She didn't make the video or take any formal action to help Farrar for almost a year; other relatives apparently dissuaded her, telling her she risked prison herself if she changed her story. But she'd made up her mind on one point: She was not going to testify against her mother. "There was no way I was going through that again," she says.

As the date for Debbie's trial approached, social workers, therapists and prosecutors Christine Schober and Darren Vahle called Sacha several times, urging her to testify. Her aunt and grandmother say Sacha became hysterical at the prospect, threatening suicide. They also maintain that she told the prosecution that if called upon, she would admit to having made it all up.

"She'd say that, and they'd redirect the whole conversation," says Cathy Timmons. "They'd talk about how they were going to put her in a nice hotel, pick her up at the airport — they wouldn't listen when she said she couldn't go on with it. They didn't say anything about how maybe we should all go talk to the judge."

Schober and Vahle would later deny that Sacha had threatened to change her story. Schober said that Sacha told her she "thought her mother should be convicted of everything that happened" but just couldn't endure the stress of another trial. Her office "ultimately left the decision up to Sacha," she testified.

But not without some arm-twisting first, including a looming contempt-of-court action against Sacha for her refusal to cooperate with the prosecution. Summoned before a judge in Oklahoma, she informed him that she wouldn't go back to Colorado to testify — and told him to kiss her ass. "My grandmother told me she appreciated the sentiment but not the language, and it was not to happen again," she says.

Her grandmother, Juanita Timmons, testified that the standoff ended only after she left a message for Schober saying, "We may have to come, but you won't like it." The case against Debbie was soon dismissed.

Notes in Schober's file, later produced in court, describe the factors shaping that decision: "Considering all this child had been through...the fact that the Farrar jury said they would have a very hard time convicting mom, and she has already lost her home, her husband, and her kids, we have decided, Darren Vahle and I, not to force this child to come here and testify against her will."

The quick abandonment of the case against Debbie, once it was clear Sacha wasn't on board, raises questions about whether the prosecutors believed their own theory of the crime, defense attorney Walta suggests. "The allegations she made against her mother were in some ways more disturbing than what she said about Mr. Farrar," he says. "The fact that case was simply dismissed because she didn't want to testify has always struck me as something that didn't smell right."

The dismissal was the beginning of a renewed relationship between Sacha and her mother — a fragile one, amid much chaos. Sacha ran away from the Timmons home and told the police a wild story about her grandmother trying to force her to marry a boy who abused her. She shacked up with a guy who was cooking meth, got strung out, then called Debbie to rescue her. Debbie did. At eighteen, sober and no longer under the supervision of social services, Sacha decided to proceed with her recantation.

"I'm done running from this," she told her mother. "I'll face the consequences. Find me a lawyer."

Sitting in his cell one year and 25 days after a jury found him guilty, Farrar learned that his stepdaughter was withdrawing all her accusations. "All the emotions just came rushing forward again," he says. "I was walking on cloud nine. I knew I was going home and the family was coming back together again."

An investigator from the public defender's office told him that his attorneys hoped to have him back on the streets in two to six months, based on the newly discovered evidence. But it took Judge Leopold nearly two years to rule on Farrar's motion for a new trial, which drew fierce opposition for reasons that went well beyond the question of his guilt or innocence.

******

Among sex-crime prosecutors and judges, a recanting victim is regarded with great suspicion. It's the flip side of believing the children: If the children change their story, they must have been pressured into it by relatives or are suffering a mental breakdown. Despite research that indicates as many as one in five reports of sexual abuse are false — and that false reports are even more prevalent when custody issues or other acrimonious family disputes are involved — prosecutors continue to regard recantation as a mental-health issue."Recantations are routinely used by victims to disengage the criminal justice system response," declares a position paper on the topic by the Oregon Attorney General's Sexual Assault Task Force, "and are therefore NOT, by themselves, indicative of a false report."

"Courts deem recantations, particularly in cases of interfamilial abuse, to be presumptively incredible," says Walta. "The notion is based in social science, but also in this societal movement toward believing the victim and the intense social disapproval of sex offenders. It's not unjustified, but the system can't react well to exceptional cases."

"I've tried cases where the victim recanted at trial," Truman says. "Then the prosecution brings on experts to say it's typical for people to recant — it just shows they were telling the truth before, and now they're conflicted because they really loved the defendant at one point. I remember one case where the expert convinced the jury that the recanting was just part of the ongoing victimization."

But prosecutors had particularly strong motives for attacking Sacha's recantation. Her affidavit didn't just claim that a cadre of criminal-justice professionals had been duped by a teenager; it also contained several serious allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.

According to Sacha, she'd told several people that the story wasn't true even before Farrar's trial. She'd asked one of her caseworkers what would happen if she'd made it all up — and never heard back from her. Another told her she would likely be committed to an institution. Her therapist, she added, also dismissed her efforts to recant to her.

She said she tried to tell Schober it was all a lie the morning that the trial started — the first time the two had actually met in person. Schober, she claimed, replied that any change in her story would lead to a mistrial and that Sacha might be deemed mentally unstable and locked up.

Because the conduct of the Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office was under fire, Leopold appointed a special prosecutor from Denver, Carlos Samour, for the recantation hearings. Schober, Vahle and the two caseworkers all denied under oath that Sacha had tried to recant to them or had been threatened in any way. Schober maintained that she had far fewer contacts with Sacha than the girl claimed. She'd only spoken to her by phone twice before the trial began; there had been virtually no opportunity for the prosecutors to assess Sacha's credibility for themselves prior to putting her on the stand and putting her stepfather away for life.

"I don't like to meet with the victim and go over the facts with them prior to trial," Schober testified. "I want them to go from their memory."

Was Sacha weaving outrageous lies into her recantation, just as she'd done in her original accusations? Perhaps, but certain aspects of her claims of being coached, cajoled and ignored were confirmed by other witnesses.

At one point Cathy and Juanita Timmons had eavesdropped on speakerphone when a social worker was prepping Sacha for Farrar's trial. The woman corrected Sacha on several points, including what age she was when the abuse supposedly started, so that her testimony would be consistent with her earlier statements. "My mom stopped it," Cathy Timmons says. "She picked up the phone and said, 'If she doesn't know what the truth is, you're not going to tell her.'"

Juanita Timmons testified that she'd warned Schober that Sacha "tended to make things up and tell tall tales." Schober's response, she remembered, was similar to the reply Sacha claimed to have received from the prosecutor about her misgivings: "She told me to comply and to not volunteer any information that I was not asked, or they would declare a mistrial."

Special prosecutor Samour led a vigorous counter-charge against the attacks on his colleagues. He suggested that Debbie had bought Sacha a car in exchange for her testimony and paid for her attorney, but there was no proof either insinuation was true. He summoned an ex-boyfriend of Sacha's, who said she'd told him her stepfather really did molest her and showed him poems she'd written about sexual abuse. But the boyfriend turned out to be a good defense witness: He admitted that, as the romance soured, Sacha had lied to him about being pregnant with his child and threatened to make false accusations against him — and the poems could be interpreted any number of ways. Even Sacha's multiple diaries couldn't resolve anything; one version claimed the abuse was concocted, another didn't mention any abuse, and they all seemed to be a blend of fact and fiction.

Judge Leopold brooded for months over the conflicting testimony, then issued a highly equivocal ruling. Many of the victim's claims at trial were "bizarre" and "difficult to believe," he conceded. But her claims that Schober and Vahle had knowingly allowed perjured testimony were "not worthy of belief," either. In fact, Leopold was highly offended by her attack on the prosecutors' integrity, which he regarded as "a far more heinous allegation" than the ones she'd made that condemned a man to life in prison.

She was no more believable now than she was at trial, he concluded: "Nothing that the Court heard or saw during this post-conviction proceeding persuades it that the newly discovered evidence would produce a complete acquittal at a new trial...motion is denied."

The judge's ruling puzzled Walta, since demonstrating Sacha's lack of credibility would seem to be the key to an acquittal. "It was clear to him that she had significant credibility problems," he says. "But the jury never heard evidence of the recantation — which was the whole point of the proceeding."

The case made its way to the Court of Appeals, which affirmed Leopold's decision, then to the Colorado Supreme Court, which in 2009 narrowly upheld Farrar's conviction. The justices split 4-3 on the matter, with Michael Bender authoring a sharp dissent that echoed Walta's concerns.

"The victim's suspect initial testimony, when coupled with the lack of corroborative evidence in this case, demonstrates that this key witness's recantation would probably bring about an acquittal," Justice Bender wrote. "Thus, justice requires a new trial."

A motion for reconsideration of Farrar's sentence, which draws heavily on the deeply divided Supreme Court decision, has been pending in front of Judge Valeria Spencer for almost two years. "This issue has been fully and vigorously litigated and tested at all levels of our court system," says Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Jay Williford, who's asked Spencer to deny the defense motion.

Former prosecutor Schober, now in private practice, did not respond to a request for comment on the Farrar case. Vahle, currently a judge in Arapahoe County, declined to comment through a spokesman. Leopold retired in 2006; his replacement on the bench turned out to be former special prosecutor Samour. Michael Bender is now the chief justice of the state's highest court.

Charles Farrar is still in prison.

******

Colorado Department of Corrections officials get nervous when journalists ask to talk to a convicted sex offender. Westword's request to interview Charles Farrar was at first denied, on the grounds that inmates in his situation tend to "get beat up or commit suicide" when the press is done with them. The interview was granted only after Farrar insisted that he was eager to tell his story.

Talking helps keep Farrar from despairing over nearly a decade of incarceration with no end in sight. The letters and phone calls he gets from his family — Debbie's kids, his kids, they're all his family to this day — anchor him in the present, focus him on the fight. He discusses with them his legal research and strategies, his dwindling options for relief. Despite the best efforts of the justice system to paint Farrar as a monster and drive a wedge between him and his family, the bonds endure.

The minute he turned eighteen and was eligible to visit his father at Sterling, Eric Farrar had a ride and the paperwork already lined up. "My dad has always been the biggest thing in my life," he says. "I remember my big, stocky daddy. But the first time I walked in there, seeing the time and stress that prison has put on him...he'd lost weight. He looks a lot older. It destroyed me, seeing him looking like that."

One family member isn't supposed to have any contact with him; sex offenders are prohibited from communicating with their victims. But that hasn't stopped Sacha from trying. Prison officials have intercepted her letters and banned her phone calls. But she has managed to get messages to her stepfather through various back channels. "Why does she stay in contact with me all these years if any of this happened?" Farrar asks.

Sacha Bruce can never visit him. She lives in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, a small town outside of Tulsa that welcomes visitors with a sign declaring that CHARACTER COUNTS. It's the kind of backwater that still has a family video store, one that offers free rentals to kids with good report cards. Sacha has a husband and two children of her own now, including a tenth-month-old daughter, Bella, named after the heroine of the Twilight series.

But she still tells the same story that she did eight years ago. The story of her recantation, unlike so many wild stories she's told over the years, has remained remarkably consistent. It's the story of a fifteen-year-old girl who did a terrible thing — with a lot of help from adults.

She still considers Charles Farrar the only real dad she ever had. Her kids have never met this man, and that bothers her a great deal. She wants to make things right.

"He's told me he forgives me," she says. "We go forward. We do what we can."

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181 comments
pray4you
pray4you

O and all you stupid people saying that its wrong that they deem him "innocent." They should have just taken her away with the lack of proof. You don't know the effed up shiz that the other kids had to go through. Have you ever had to walk too and from school every day with nothing but a 10$ Walmart hoodie on in Colorado snow? CCASA! F*** You guys. You don't care about always doing the right thing, you only care if it directly benifits you

pray4you
pray4you

Just so everyone knows. Eric and Charlie have always been the nicest people I know. Their dad is to thank for this. Even with his limited contact.

Marshapage1
Marshapage1

Oh my gosh my husand is not alone. He was accused by his wife for sexually abusing his children. They were to young to dispute it. No evidence here either. He was interrogated for 38 hours straight and his wife kept saying to say he was guilty so that he could come home to children. Finally he did. When he finally got rested he said that he wanted to recant. They would not let him. His step son claimed he raped him. His real father had been blamed by my husband's ex and was put in prison too. The son has mental issues and will say anything his mother says too. Well my husband got 10 years got out on parole but asconded when he was put in sex abuse classes and told to admit he did it. He wouldn't. He has gone 25 years without another thing on his record. Now arrested for parole violation and sits dying in a county jail. He has a serious medical condition and the jail cannot afford to get his medicene. No common sense with PO or court. He has raised grand children who love him and have told he never touched them. His wife got cancer and on her death bed she told his PO, his mother, his grandmother and us that he never touched his kids. The PO said she was under deress and would not accept her recanting. She was Catholic and this was her death bed confession. He has had no contact with his kids in all these years. They do not remember anything but go by what her family tells them. I was told I could get his sentence over turned for 20000 dollars. We do not have that kind of money. I am afraid they are going to put him back in prison if he does not die in jail. Without money no one will help you.

AlanPrendergast
AlanPrendergast

Members of the Charles Farrar family have set up a Facebook page with updates about his case, for those who wish to express their support for his efforts to appeal his case and his sentence. Here's the site:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

Meiyouba
Meiyouba

Maybe you can open an online store. I suggest that you can wholesale from.http://www.edhardy007.com /. they have many brands of product, Including shoes, clothing, belts, bags and so on. but the price all is cheap .and they can directly send the order to your customer .However, data shows shipments are your company's.

Patricia Calhoun
Patricia Calhoun

This is the full letter from the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (a shorter version was published in the August 4 edition of Westword):

Alan Prendergast’s article, “Beyond Belief” left readers with the impression that children should not be taken seriously when disclosing child sexual abuse. Due to the potential ramifications of this damaging message, it is disappointing that the Westword chose to print such an inaccurate and potentially harmful article. Research shows that there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S. Child sexual abuse has devastating effects on victims. Children who are sexually abused are at significantly greater risk for later posttraumatic stress, depression and suicide attempts. Adolescents who were sexually abused have increased risks of delinquency and rates of substance abuse/dependence.

Because of the devastating nature of this crime, it is imperative that all disclosures are taken extremely seriously and that the harmful effects of child sexual abuse are not understated. The Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) cannot comment on this particular case, however, it is important to accurately represent the rate of false reporting and the reasons a victim may recant in a case of sexual assault. Inaccurate data given in this article inflates the rate of false reporting when, in fact, the rates are much lower and parallel false reporting rates for other crimes (2-10%). Misrepresenting this data further perpetuates the public’s misperceptions about sexual assault victims and leads to the silencing of scores of women, children, and men in our society. Rape is the most under-reported crime in our country for these and many other reasons. Those who do report may choose to recant later because of this societal stigma, because of fear of retribution from the perpetrator, or to avoid further traumatization as a result of skepticism from service providers, friends, and family. Because most cases of sexual assault are committed by someone known to the victim, concern for the offender may also be a factor.

The Westword article unabashedly declares Charles Farrar to be “an innocent man.” The article brushes aside the fact that three young women disclosed that he had perpetrated sexual abuse against them. While no one other than Mr. Farrar and his stepdaughter knows the full truth, we do know about the repetitive nature of sexual offending and the propensity for adult sex offenders to reoffend. The article stated that “what truly sets his case apart is the degree to which family members continue to support him, insisting that he couldn’t possibly have done such a thing.” This does not prove innocence or set Farrar’s case apart at all; it is actually quite common for family members to support sex offenders by denying or minimizing the abuse. It is oftentimes “easier” for loved ones to deny incest and sexual abuse rather than acknowledge the deep-rooted pain and conflict caused by a family member.

While the Farrar case appears to be the intended focus of this article, we feel that the broad generalizations and inaccuracies made about child sexual abuse could have detrimental impacts on readers, survivors of sexual abuse, and the broader culture that is exposed to this damaging information. Unfortunately, providing misinformation like this only serves to further silence survivors of sexual abuse and support offenders committing these abhorrent crimes. CCASA urges the Westword and its readers to become informed about the realities of childhood sexual abuse and to recognize, respond, and refer appropriately when you suspect this crime. For more information, please contact CCASA at info@ccasa.org or contact your local Children’s Advocacy Center.

Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA)Denver, CO, 303-839-9999, director@ccasa.org

(sources cited: Kilpatrick, et al., 2003; Tebbutt, et. al., 1997; Wozencraft, et. al., 1991; Dube et al., 2005; Waldrop et al., 2007, Acierno et al., 2000; Felitti et al., 1998; Springs & Friedrich, 1992; Walker et al., 1999., Lisak, et. al., 2010.)

suetiggers
suetiggers

Today I got the terrible news that Scott Molen's wife, Connie, a courageous fighter for justice and a wonderful human being (who I've never met but gotten to know from learning about Scott and the tragedy that happened to him) died while she was visiting Scott yesterday in the Ohio prison where he is for a crime he NEVER committed. . type in the link: A Crime of Cowardice: The Unjust Imprisonment of Scott Molen Too few people realize how easy it has been for someone vindictive to falsely accuse someone of this kind of heinous crime. If anyone reads about Scotts' case, they'll KNOW he's innocent. My mentally ill son, Kenneth was falsely accused years ago. The girl grew up, recanted to an ex homicide commander/voice-testing head, MIke McQuillan. http://www.citypaper.com/news/...12-5-07 Sex, Lies, and Legal Red Tape Many people just don't know that THIS is the easiest crime to lie about and nothing happens to those who do lie, so if there's a terrible divorce case, or as in the case of Scott Molen a messed up adult child who doesn't like her stepfather and resents her mother marrying him (but uses them to babysit) under the influence of drugs,etc. she may manipulate her own child to lie...and this is the kind of terrible thing that can and does happen. Then, you have a prosecutor who, like a runaway train, cares more about his rep than the truth, and a media that cares more about selling papers,etc. than the truth....believe me, it happens a lot more than most people know. But, who cares? Not many. Not enough. What's that saying about a lie travels around the earth faster than the truth getting out the door? In these kind of cases, it is, unfortunately, too too true.

Jack McInroy
Jack McInroy

I have personal knowledge of Mr. Farrar and his family and testified regarding his innocence at one of his trials. When he was convicted and sentenced to 144 years I couldn’t believe it. I knew of Shacha’s difficulty telling the truth before the trial but I thought the attorneys and judges surely would see through the lies; but I was wrong. When I heard the sentence of 144 years I didn’t and still don’t believe it. What was Judge Leapold thinking? I know Mr. Farrar begged the Aurora Police for DNA testing but they refused so his conviction of sexual abuse was based only the testimony of Shacha; not DNA, there were no witnesses, no polygraph (of Shacha); only her word we now know to be false. Later she recanted her story and said it never happened! But who listened to her the second time? Not Judge Leapold! How do you believe Shacha’s testimony the first time telling when she recants reverse their opinion and call her a liar? How would this makes sense to the prosecutors? Does this make sense to anybody? It doesn’t to me.Judge Valeria Spencer now holds Mr. Farrar’s future, if he has one, in her hands. Who is she to believe? If she doesn’t believe the 90+% of the comments from its (100+) readers at Westword who almost unanimously agree that Farrar should be set free or at least have another trial, what about listening to the Chief Justice Michael Bender’s comment, “The victim’s suspected initial testimony, when coupled with the lack of corroborative evidence in this case, demonstrates that this key witness’ recantation would probably bring about an acquittal, Thus, justice requires a new trial.”Are you listening Judge Valeria Spencer? The Chief Justice and over 90% of the over 160+ comments to the readers of this article are in complete agreement, Mr. Farrar did not get a fair trial. Judge Spencer, either release this man now or order a new trial ASAP. What do you have to lose other than the guilt of keeping an innocent man in prison? Isn’t 11 years enough for the innocent man to be in prison so the prosecutors could have their pound of flesh? Is this how the Justice System works in the United States? I would expect this narrow minded “eye for an eye” mentality to come from some Middle East County living in the 1900s but not the U.S and surely not in the enlightened State of Colorado. Judge Spencer; show us you are not a part of this backward, hysterical thinking and do the right thing Now.

Jack McInroy
Jack McInroy

Can anybody do a survey of public opinion on this case that may be presented to the Judge? It needs to be done immediately. I started one but its technology is over my head.

rasbey
rasbey

The line that starts "So when a recent shakedown.." that sentence is all a childmolester needs to read to set him off. Why do I know that? Its in basic training coursework for catching pedophiles on line. Feed them images; follow the descriptions of childrens bodies. Also the art statement image at the top is feed directly for the mysogynists and rapists. Woman haters. I applaud the County for vigorous attention to sex abusers of children. And if some innocent people caught up in the system need attention drawn to their plight. But be a more resposible journalist about it. Imagery is the basic engine these pedophiles have to work with - don't be feeding it. Whoever sent that photo to him was just as bad, or stupid. And he to keep it.If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

suetiggers
suetiggers

It's good to see some truth come out about these laws. The registry is BLOATED...that's how Garrido got away with keeping Jaycee so long. People have to wake up. The hysteria has been running the show, along with the unscrupulous politicians, drama-driven media, ala Nancy Grace who knows how to run any story about a child into the ground and terrify anyone she can and the overly zealous prosecutors out to make a name for themselves.If you care about justice, educate yourself: http://www.thecrimereport.org/...

http://ilvoices.com/media/2394...

http://www.reformsexoffenderla...

Jadecutone
Jadecutone

The laws need to be change. This man has become meal ticket for the state that has him in jail. That is thier paychecks. The truth dosen't matter any more. If you are not a police officer, a district attoney, or a judge you are not even consider as WE THE PEOPLE anymore. Like Thomas Jefferson wrote one time THAT THE TREE OF JUSTICE MUST BE REFRESHED FROM TIME TO TIME.

jnm
jnm

Steven b & saigo,look me up on fb "SociallyRude AndUnacceptable" .Im the one with the red & white osha sign for a pic.I know a way to get the law back on track but it takes numbers.theres strength in numbers.

ansdka
ansdka

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Steven B
Steven B

Social services is one of the "best" scams that this government has ever set up. If you ever meet anyone who works for them ( in any department) , make sure to ask if, "They have children"? Most I have met do not, nor were they even married. But they send these people out to investigate whether or not someone is a "good" parent. How could they possibly know what to look for? They also "teach" parenting classes as well. Could you imagine if we could just raise our children like the books tell us to? In Arapahoe County they charge up to $165 per parent that they send ( not like it is a choice). The "foster" homes for these kids after they are taken away get anywhere from 1200 - 1500 per month per child. Wow, that means I can have an income of over 3 grand for 2 foster kids...shoot, sounds like a good idea. The problem with it is they don't do very good background checks (sure the computer kind...what is that, their credit check, wonder how that comes into play), but nothing like finding out their real history, of who they are, what they believe, who they're friends are, what relatives say about them...no leg work at all.... So, the system is corrupt from the bottom up.....there will never be true justice because it is run like the salem witch hunt when it comes to kids (hmmmm, that was for the children too.....the "Puritians" killed in the name of the children and God). Good example to follow don't you think..........dumb bunch of ass kissing whinning buracratic snobby blind corrupt idiots. (to those working in this system and are doing it with a true heart.... SHAME ON YOU!!!! If you are then you know the corruption and need to do something about it. It all has to start somewhere....

Oh, by the way, I was abused as a child, I was 4-6, it was my brother (8 yrs older), and he said they (mom and dad) would never believe me if i told because I was adopted and he wasn't. Then he said he would kill me if i did tell as well.....can you imagine......and I have had problems my whole life. I didn't graduate high school, I have never finished anything i ever started, been in the military and failed at that ( though i did get an honorable discharge). I am in my 40's and nearing death (health issues now). The suicide thoughts finally went away after my own children started depression and I got help for me and them. We are fairly happy, poor since I still can't hold down a job nor seem to want to leave the house. But we will survive. There are soooo many others out there that have it worse..... Take care all

Milosh
Milosh

Westword is rapist. Is gay and editors constantly rapping the children's. Why you such a bad writing terrible newspaper, westvord?

db
db

Having been in relationships with 2 losers ( 3rd time IS the charm ) one can 'see' thelies, and forecasting where that could lead, like for poor Farrar, one learns to stay away from trouble. The child I raised, with more love and attention than most kids, turned intothe most disrespectful liar after divorcing her mom. I chose not to have contact, though it was sad. But not as sad as jail. The child, now grown, not doing very well. Her choice, though.

Bella
Bella

makes you wonder how Casey Anothney went free and this guy is doing life... lack of evidence..is lack of evidence..

ShelomithStow
ShelomithStow

Samsara writes that a better use of journalistic time--(better than pointing out a huge travesty of justice???)--would be to suggest solutions for stopping sexual abuse of children. Okay, I can do that. Well over 90% of sexually abused children are abused by people they know, trust, and love, not by registered sex offenders (less than 1%) or strangers not on the registry (a very small percentage). So step one: abolish the public registry and all of the laws that accompany it, reserving it as a law enforcement tool for only the tiny percentage of registered offenders that our Justice Dept. says are dangerous--5-6%. Step two, with the money saved, flood the schools and communities with educational and informational programs that could, in one generation, make a serious impact on breaking the cycle of sexual abuse of children. If a generation is 20 years, then the registry has had its generation to make a difference, and it has failed miserably. Studies validate the fact that there has been no decrease in the percentage of sexual crime or the number of new victims. Studies consistently validate the lack of efficacy in the registry, residency restriction, or any other of the schemes that do nothing but throw roadblocks in the way of many thousands of former, low level offenders trying to make amends and put their lives back together.

Robert
Robert

Sounds like politial lies trump true justice in Colorado

realist
realist

It all began with the witch trials in Salem Mass,the whole system is corrupt as politicians.

Patrick Thurmond
Patrick Thurmond

This Sacha woman deserves to spend as much time in prison as he has. So do the prosecutors, judges, and social workers that railroaded him into this false and horrible conviction.

It just sickens me when I read more and more of these stories of a overzealous legal system made up of men and women that really just want to make a name for themselves. So they manipulate, lie, and cheat to win their cases. Ending with decent people being locked up for doing nothing wrong.

What the fuck is wrong with our society that we turn a deaf ear to the truth when we don't like what we hear. What the fuck is wrong with our society when we want to hear tales of rape, neglect, and other abuse, but not those of decent, hard-working people that are doing everything to survive and give their kids a good life. This is just one of the many causes of our overcrowded prison system.

People need to learn to shut the fuck up and listen to everything for a change before going forward with such zeal. Police need to actually do their jobs and investigate cases, especially when fresh evidence needs to be collected. This attitude of jumping to the worst possible conclusions about each other has got to stop.

What the fuck happened to due process? What the fuck happened to a fair trial? What the fuck has happened to our society as a whole. This is just sickening and disgusting.

americaswrongfullyconvicted
americaswrongfullyconvicted

New Scam in Houston, Tx. Scams take many forms, but what if you had the judicial system on your side? This is what Christine and Paula Trent did to a disabled man setting him up on false charges and taking advantage of him under the security of a protective order! Web search Robert McClendon at: www.americaswrongfullyconvicte...We are taking these two social laeaches to court on Aug.22, 2011. DON'T MISS THE SHOW!!!!

Austin farrar
Austin farrar

That's not cool man I got put in oklahoma and only got to see my mom once since that crap happend

MBALDGUY
MBALDGUY

how is this the best justice system in the world? Another innocent person gets rail roaded all because some prosecuter needs another notch under there belt. No proof of any sexual misconduct = No conviction People that convicted him arre as guilty as the Young girl that needed attention and the system that just convicts people for there own personal gain. Like judge Paula Dori that made a comment she wanted to reach a million man prision yrs before she retired. people like that do NO belong living little long being a judgeMike I love americans and quicky becoming a hater of america PEOPLE PULL UR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS AN MAKE POSITIVE CHANGES FOR ONCE

OldGypsy
OldGypsy

"Denial is the first sign of addiction."

"But I'm not an addict."

"See, that assures us that you are."

Guess that it is too much to ask that common sense be applied to this case and that the slimy lawslingers with the notches in their pistol grips be put into prison and the one they put into prison is freed.

americaswrongfullyconvicted
americaswrongfullyconvicted

After two women was allowed to repeatedly perjur themslevles in court to get a disabled man wrongfully convicted, letters in their own handwriting also serviced with their plans to set him up.Check out the Robert McClendon case at: www.americaswrongfullyconvicte...

TwinkleStar2
TwinkleStar2

Instead of swallowing every story - hook, sinker, and line - a child has to say, social workers and prosecutors should have a healthy dose of skepticism, especially if it is a step-child involved. Step-children usually have an ax to grind with a step-parent. Even naturally born children can cause a problem. I knew a close friend whose young boys, when they did not like some punishment doled out for wrongdoing, would threaten to call social services and lie about abuse. I recall his reaction when his three boys used this scare tactic on him - he told them it would be the last act on planet earth they would ever commit. Now they are grown and concede they came up with these outlandish schemes because of the crap they were taught in public school by counselors and other "educators."

Patrick
Patrick

Just think about how much money we could save on government if things like this were stopped. Special prosecutors and the like... all cost taxpayers an ungodly amount of money.

What a waste... and now we pay for this guy who is completely innocent to rot in jail for the next thirty to forty years.

John Johns
John Johns

Having been on both sides of the legal fence I can say without doubt justice is for sale. Enough money will buy this man freedom. My contention is simple. If ever found not guilty, the judge goes to serve the remainder of the imposed sentence without trial, taking the young woman "victim" to psychological evaluation and then impose proper sentence for perjury. Carte blanche "official" misconduct is rampant and must be handles without kid gloves. I feel the "judge" may be aware of the fallacy of the charges but for reasons beyond comprehension will not admit bad judgement. Maybe there is a way the family can sue for another trial in another area?

Nunya
Nunya

I hope that bitch never gets a good nights sleep the rest of her life. Justice will be served when her child accuses her of a crime she didnt commit. Just for attention. I feel for the man or men in her life, the lies the subterfuge, its all endless. What a waste of a human.

boise427
boise427

Here is a perfect example of the fact that the justice system serves itself before serving the public. Judge Leopold does not belong in any position of authority. He should be given the opportunity to work in the private sector.

Chixdigme
Chixdigme

"In America's holy war on sex offenders, it's a matter of gospel to believe the children — no matter how improbable the claims, how inadequate the investigation, how suspect the credibility of the alleged victim. The children must be believed."

Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law is a long lost fantasy. The jury already has their minds made up as soon as the charges are read when it comes to THIS type of allegation. I saw it happen to a man. All the man did was urinate on a trash dumpster, but two 16 year old girls said something else. I SAW what he did, I testified for the defense at his trial. The man received 1 year in prison and has to register as a sex offender for life.

Biased investigators and social workers are a scourge in this nation.

scott mcandrew
scott mcandrew

never ever get anywhere near a single mothers kids

americaswrongfullyconvicted
americaswrongfullyconvicted

The system uses protective orders to silence the wrongfully convicted. Check out the Robert McClendon story at: www.americaswrongfullyconvicte... when the family had to do it's own investigation to uncover the truth. We are taking the two women to court on Aug. 22, 2011 and it's going to BE A SHOW!!!!!!!

Jsmith4690
Jsmith4690

It sounds to me that this is Truman's MO. Always someone elses fault his client got convicted. Someone else caused his client to get convicted. Lies, intimidation, the prosecution, the family members pressured, intimidated witnesses, etc. It sounds to me that Truman is just a lazy attorney who blames everyone else for his inability to do his job. I can think of at least three cases where he alleges the same things about his client and his case It's alway the same thing: they lied, they were intimidated, there was a conspiracy,blah blah blah etc,.... If the child was lying about three years of abuse, Truman could not show that. Come on already... Truman and his colleagues need to come up with new excuses for their client. It sounds to me like they pressured the girl to now change her story... It's Truman's status Quo, ususal tacit to get his client a new trial.

TwinkleStar2
TwinkleStar2

Good reason to stay out of Colorado, if you are a man. Also, a good reason to stay away from females. Justice? What is that, anymore in a world gone mad? Men are seeing less and less justice as women gain more and more political power. (Maria is going to get half of Arnold's $400 M - and half of his retirement - and he still has to pay spousal support? Good grief!) What about the lie detector test Farrar passed? Is it not hypocritical for these jerks who work in the "judicial system" to believe a lie detector test when it shows the person is lying, but to ignore the results when it shows they are telling the truth? Lesson for men - never have a relationship with a woman with children. I am broke and unemployed (thanks to Obama) but I would contribute $10 to a defense fund for this unfortunate man.

ashez_0788
ashez_0788

People like you, while certainly supporting a good cause, are the reason laws and policies stay and become more corrupt when it comes to child abuse cases. To say the article was "misleading"I feel is unfair for one. Who are you to speculate on whether or not this really happened? So because the article is regarding our "system" having allegedly failed someone, the topic concerning the wrongfully convicted in our country, and did not say anything on behalf of true victims of these crimes, it is misleading? Regardless of the facts of this case, I was not left with the impression that children "should not be taken seriously" when reporting sexual abuse, and I didnt feel that it was the topic or focus of the article at all. The topic was regarding the wrongfully convicted. Can you explain why is it that when an article whose main focus is on a true sex crime that has been allegedly committed, does it not include information on the behalf of the wrongfully accused? There is no part in any of those articles stating the seriousness of making false allegations. In your point of view, that should be considered misleading as well.

I am sorry ma'am, it sounds like your educated in this area...but this actually hits very close to home for me, as something quite similar basically destroyed my family. Our so called system not only allowed it to happen, they condoned it and encouraged it, ignoring important evidence, and obvious flags of deception, and the article sounded all too familiar to me personally. Whether or not you believe this case to be what the author suggests, or what the conditions are of true sexual abuse cases, or even how expert you may be on the topic; people DO get wrongully convicted, and our system does fail to protect the innocent in these cases. You may not typically be on the advocate of those individuals, but someone has to! I do not know what he statistics are, but I can tell you exactly how the system responds in these cases, and it is nothing like that of any other crime. You are guilty until proven innocent, and defending yourself is made nearly impossible, and is often entirely in the hands of biest law makers, and ultimately a biest society.

Obviously I (nor the author of this article I presume) believe that sexual crimes against children should be taken lightly. I do believe however that far too many innocent people are having their rights ripped right out from under them because of the extreme differences in policies, laws, and simply biest individuls when it comes to these particular cases, and someone has to stand up for them too...they have lives and families, and matter to someone too! I would never have known how corrupt the system really is in order to "protect vitims" until I actually learned for myself with my close family member that this happened to. We shouldn't just have the attitude that a few innocent people can go down if it means saving victims. If corruption and flaws exist in our justice system -- which evidence over and over in history shows that it certainly has and does today-- then it NEEDS to be recognized, and changes should be made to prevent it to continue! It is nice to know there really are some few out there in support of its improvement. I am sure you will still have reason to argue that, in sake of the guilty...but I could guarantee that your feelings and point of view would be much different if you or a loved one of your own had to experience being that person with the finger pointed in your direction, and no way to stop it regardless of your innocence, or how model of a citizen you may be.

ashez_0788
ashez_0788

People like you, while certainly supporting a good cause, are the reason laws and policies stay and become more corrupt when it comes to child abuse cases. To say the article was "misleading"I feel is unfair for one. Who are you to speculate on whether or not this really happened? So because the article is regarding our "system" having allegedly failed someone, the topic concerning the wrongfully convicted in our country, and did not say anything on behalf of true victims of these crimes, it is misleading? Can you explain then, why is it that ask article with the main focus of a true sex crime that has hypothetically been committed does not include information on behalf of the wrongfully accused? I am sorry ma'am, it sounds like your educated in this area...but this actually hits very close to home for me, as something very similar basically destroyed my family, and our so called system not only allowed it to happen, they condoned it and encouraged it, ignoring important evidence, and obvious flags of deception, and the article sounded all too familiar to me personally. Whether or not you believe this case to be what they suggest, or what the conditions are of true sexual abuse cases or how expert you may be on them, people DO get wrongully convicted, and our system does fail o protect the innocent in these cases. I do not know what he statistics are, but I can tell you exactly how the system responds in these cases, it is nothing like that of any other crime. You are guilty until proven innocent, doing that is nearly impossible in their hands.

Obviously I (nor the author of this article I presume) believe that sexual crimes against children should be taken lightly. I do believe however that far too many innocent people are having their rights ripped right out from under them because of the extreme differences in policies, laws, and simply biest individuls when it comes to these particular cases, and someone had to stand up for them too...they have lives and families, and matter to someone too! I would never have known how corrupt the system really is in order to "protect vitims" until I actually found out for myself with my close family member that this happened to. We shouldn't just have the attitudes that a few innocent people can go down if it means saving victims. This man's life matters too, and no one other than god should have the power to decide whose lives our more important. If corruption and flaws exist in our justice system -- which evidence over and over in history shows that it certainly has and does today-- then it NEEDS to be recognized too, and it is nice to know there really are some out there in support of its improvement. I am sure you will still have reason to argue that, in sake of the guilty...but I could guarantee that your feelings and point of view would be much different if you or a loved one had to experience being that person with the finger pointed in your direction, and no way to stop it regardless of your innocence, or how model of a citizen you may be.

Mebcaux
Mebcaux

I stated previously that I am not convinced by his accuser's recantation that Farrar is innocent. I suspect his accuser recanted to protect not Farrar, but her mother.

The question, however, is whether, had the jury that convicted Farrar heard her recantation, they would still have convicted him.

Probably not, though the trial judge's prejudicial admission of stale, weak, and unproven, insufficiently probative "evidence" of prior bad acts to expedite Farrar's his conviction might still have caused them to convict.

The prosecution would have had the right to argue that her original allegations were more credible than her recantation, but the likelihood of conviction would have been reduced considerably.

Indeed, in the face of the recantation, a good trial judge might well have been required to direct the jury to acquit, given the absence of other strong evidence the abuse occurred. This judge, however, would probably have still given the case to the jury, knowing that the exercise of his discretion to do so would be subject to a very light, permissive standard of review.

You offer excellent arguments for taking allegations of abuse seriously, and prosecuting child abuse vigorously, but none for denying a criminal defendant due process of law by refusing him a new trial when his principal accuser recants.

Sexual abuse is indeed a horrible thing.

Yet, allowing the all-powerful State to send a man to prison for the rest of his life despite strong (though hardly irrefutable) evidence of his innocence, or at least that he is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, is also a horrible thing.

Alan Prendergast did not make a case for Farrar's innocence.

Alan did, however, make an excellent case for granting the man a new trial. Justice Bender was right.

Alan also made an excellent case for thinking much more clearly about the virtually unlimited discretion we allow prosecutors and judges to avoid admitting that they often make serious mistakes that have horrible consequences.

When judges, prosecutors and police deliberately, or inadvertently, subvert the law and justice out of mistake, stupidity, ambition, or pride (and they, as the Tim Masters case, and others less well known prove, often do) they commit a crime at least as serious as those for which they routinely send men and women to prison.

Yet, because they are unconstitutionally immunized from accountability for their mis- or malfeasance, the almost never face punishment.

At best, they are forced to admit their mistake long after the fact, and then only if some incredibly dedicated attorney has, for little or no compensation, worked tirelessly, against the resistance of a much more powerful bureaucracy, to expose the bureaucracy's mistake.

As this case demonstrates, even such Herculean work hardly guarantees a favorable outcome.

Most who occupy the judiciary prefer to avoid admitting that the system of which they are a part often makes serious mistakes. They operate on the assumption that covering up their mistakes increases "respect for the law", and normally work hard to preserve the illusion (delusion, really) that our system of justice is infallible.

Police and prosecutors who wrongly convict and innocent man or woman might be forced to abuse their ready access to the taxpayer's money to pay some damages to the wrongfully convicted.

They themselves pay nothing, and, more often than not, have long since skated on to a more powerful position, such as a judgeship, as a reward for their excellent work in maximizing the number of convictions they obtained through whatever means necessary.

That so many with whom we vest so much power over our lives are often motivated not by a passion for justice, but by base materialism, careerism, and craving for the approval of authority, should be of as much concern to the public as child abuse.

Indeed, in many instances, those who are NOT motivated by base materialism, careerism, and craving for the approval of authority need not apply for such jobs.

ttdd5050
ttdd5050

@suetiggers 

I am sorry for this.. I was lied about and spent time in prison. Kelli Roark lied and Cassey Hulbert Sheriff helped her lie on record...but I get the punishment..I was threatened , and abused by the legal authorities and no one helps..We have a real deliema on our hands here in America... I do feel sorry for those that are truely abused .. but when the law finds out your innocent and still covers up the evidence and you cannot do anything about it...WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM HERE? I lost everything.. I truely wish everyong the best..Troy D.

Tina
Tina

I am sorry dear sir or madame that you feel that way. I believe it was my mother that sent that photo to him and she is neither stupid or bad. What parent or grandparent for that matter doesn't have a picture of a diaper change, their kids in the bath, or sitting on the potty for that matter. My brother was allowed to have all the pictures that he had. Sterling correctional facility allowed him to have them. Then the rules chaged, which by all means is ok because we all know that things change. They were not hidden, and if asked my brother would've sent them to me, which is where they ended up coming anyway. They took away all his photos, not just ones of his grandchild but also of our father who by the way passed away while my brother sat in prison. Sterling said they sent them to us. I received an empty envelope with no photographs. Where could 200 plus pictures go. My brother purchsed an envelope and postage which was sent to me empty. He found out that I did not receive the photos by calling me. I did not receive the pictures until a month later. I do know that not everyone in prison is innocent. I also know that one of my own children have been molestad and because the predator is under 18 nothing happens. My brother gave me advice on how to handle the situation. There is a problem with the entire judicial system. Why don't you read through the other comments. We are not bad people and this is a case were justice was not served!

what you talknbout Willis?
what you talknbout Willis?

You hit the head on the nail I was in a paternity suit with my ex-fiance and her mother worked for social services (20 years)- her and the judge were on a first name basis in Jefferson county. I call it a learning experience I sould have listened to my friends and family, I had supervised visitation without just cause and now my son that was exposed to her husband is a drug addict/dealer like him (he likes the white stuff) . Life is not fair, but this guy in the article got the royal treatment.

Saigo
Saigo

Bingo-! .... I was trying to think of something to say or add as a "Comment", but, You said it "All" much better then I would have. ( Now,,, How can this Charles Farrar case get Reversed? To me, it is looking like the Judge is 'Refusing' to reverse or correct this case because he doesn't want to "Embarrass" the Prosecutors by showing their Bias, Coruption and how they Adulterated this whole case. )

Steve
Steve

Good grief Milosh, go back where you came from and learn how to write

TwinkleStar2
TwinkleStar2

As I recall, the article said he retired a couple of years ago. Thank goodness for small miracles, eh?

TwinkleStar2
TwinkleStar2

Think maybe that is because they have an "ax to grind"? I have known prosecutors, judges, lawyers and social workers to lie. Everyone must defend their profession and make it appear they are doing their job. It just makes me sick to see the crap that goes on in our "judicial system." It should be called the "prejudicial system."

chadbag
chadbag

NO, he means Obama, numb nut. Under Bush the economy grew and we had record tax receipts. The deficit was less every year and we would have lead to a balanced budget around 2012 according to the Congressional Budget Office forecasts. Bush did make mistakes and spent way too much, but Obama has just ratcheted it up even more and spends a heck of a lot more than Bush could ever dream of. The "crash" of housing has many roots, some on the Democrat side and some on the Republican side, but one of the major factors was housing policy set by Carter (a Democrat) and "improved" (read: made worse) through changes and emphasis by Clinton (a Democrat) and was something that Bush and the Republicans tried to fix but were stymied by the Democrats in Congress (the hearings are on YouTube for you to watch). This policy rewarded banks who made loans to people who were not normally eligible (hi risk mortgages) in order to increase homeownership, and penalized banks who refused to make sub standard loans. Other factors were involved of course and there is blame to go around. But the crash was not a result of "failed Bush policies". What policies of Bush failed? His "tax cuts" did not cause a recession and downturn. Obama is hell bent on ideological spending and tax raising no matter what happens to the economy. Lots of business owners are speaking out about the fear that business has of the government, of uncertainty regarding tax policy, etc. (ref Steve Wynn, the guy from Caterpillar, and many other recent pronouncements by business leaders). The economy sucks right now EXPLICITLY due to Obama and his bumbling and rick solid stubbornness beholden to ideology, and the unions. Boeing is trying to build 787 in onr of the Carolinas but is being stopped by the Obama administration due to influence of the unions. Businesses are afraid of all the new taxes (health care costs etc) and stuff that Obama is shoving down our throats. If Obama wants to improve the economy, he would resign and get out of the way. Obamacare would be repealed, and taxes would be lowered (which ironically would increase tax receipts as the economy picked up and generated profits). Unemployment is way up compared to the day Bush handed the scepter to Obama. Obama is in way over his head but has no clue of that. Obama is the biggest impediment to growth in the country right now.

TwinkleStar2
TwinkleStar2

mcandrew: ROTF LOL! No, I did not, numnuts. Obama cancelled the Presidential Helicopter program, not Bush you nit wit. The result was the loss of 12,000 good paying jobs, you brainless moron. You jumped to conclusions and that is probably the only exercise you mental midgets get (includes the two idiots who "liked" your comment). You must be either a social worker, an attorney, a judge, or a politician - you don't seem to let facts get in the way of your thinking. Like an obedient party mouthpiece, you didn't even bother to discover the facts before shooting off your mouth. Go troll somewhere else, you dumb jerk. "Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance!" Voltaire

 
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