Letters: Readers question Charles Farrar's sentence, but a judge won't reconsider it

"Beyond Belief," Alan Prendergast, July 21

Disbelief

Who's watching the watchers? I am not a fan of big government, but where does the responsibility for judicial and prosecutorial misconduct lie? It certainly needs to be more immediate than simply getting voted out of office. How many innocent people have to go to jail because a vindictive child learns how to manipulate the system, and judges and prosecutors refuse to do the right thing and instead defend their rulings and win ratios?

Julia Miller

Elizabeth

I read this story with horror and mixed emotions. Mixed emotions because I was repeatedly sexually abused and threatened into silence by my abuser at a camp in Vermont for years, and when the guy was caught, the camp never told my parents or the police, further deepening my silence and guilt, and just freed the guy to continue his rampage against young, innocent boys.

I tend to believe that Charles Farrar is innocent. What makes me side with him is the blind and dogmatic refusal of the people involved in convicting him to really seek out the possibility of "another" truth, however it may unfold. There are far too many questions here that the prosecution seems willing to ignore to protect its position, and I wonder if this all does not boil down to a fear of a wrongful-conviction lawsuit, as was the case at the camp I attended. The real sad fact here is that if Sacha is now telling the truth, then she is being abused by a justice system that she is trying to set right.

The bottom line is that there are far too many unanswered questions to not have a deeper look into what really happened so that justice can be properly served. I know from personal experience that the "good" people can shut down a child's voice just as effectively, if not more so, than the predator.

Charles Farrar and his whole family deserve to have a new and impartial team re-evaluate this situation.

Name withheld on request

The case against Charles Farrar is one of the worst miscarriages of justice and abuse-of-power stories that I have ever read. At the very minimum, he should be allowed to leave prison on bail (which I would be happy to contribute to) while he awaits a new trial.

James A. Kline

Fresno, California

Alan Prendergast's "Beyond Belief" left readers with the damaging impression that children should not be taken seriously when disclosing child sexual abuse. There are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the United States. Child sexual abuse has devastating effects on victims, including post-traumatic stress, depression and suicide attempts. It is imperative that all disclosures be taken seriously and that the harmful effects of child sexual abuse not be understated.

CCASA cannot comment on this case; however, it is important to accurately represent the rate of false reporting and the reasons a victim may recant. 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, fear of retribution, concern for the perpetrator, or to avoid further traumatization.

The generalizations made about child sexual abuse could have detrimental impacts on survivors of sexual abuse while inadvertently supporting offenders committing these crimes. CCASA urges 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.

Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault

info@ccasa.org

 

Alan Prendergast replies: The degree of false reporting continues to be a matter of scholarly debate. Having written a well-received book about an infamous case of domestic violence and sexual abuse, I do think children's reports of abuse should be taken seriously. But they should also be adequately investigated, and the Farrar case demonstrates that sometimes "disclosures" are simply accepted by law enforcement and prosecutors as fact, even when there's no supporting evidence or evidence to the contrary. Many additional points of view on this issue (as well as a longer version of the CCASA letter) can be found in the online comments to the article and related blogs at westword.com.

Late last week, Charles Farrar learned that Arapahoe County District Judge Valeria Spencer has denied his motion for reconsideration of his sentence. In her ruling, Judge Spencer noted that Farrar "does not express any remorse or accept any responsibility" for his crime — a crime that he and his alleged victim maintain never happened.

WESTWORD'S PAPER AND PROFANITY

Clean Up Your Act!

I know it sells papers, but there comes a point when it's just too much, and that's your use of profanity in an article. Discretion is the better part of valor (and journalism). Why can't you bleep out the F-word? It makes your paper read like a rag. Clean it up just a bit; you can make an article interesting without the potty language.

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3 comments
Tina
Tina

My name is Tina Holman, my brother is Charles Farrar. There are many of you out there that would like to help and have more knowledge than what I have to help. If you would like to assist in trying to get my brother another trial or possibly freed please check out this facebook site http://www.facebook.com/pages/... This site is intended for everyone that would like to help him out by posting ideas and thoughts about my brother's case. Please pass this along, the more people know the more they will learn about our justice system.

Sourlemons
Sourlemons

To Wade Sears - who commented on Jeff Otte's column. I agree with your take on copyright infringement for artists, and I agree with your contention that too many songs are lyrically misinterpreted. Here's where we part ways - you offer two examples and you are incorrect as to the actual meaning of either song, wildly off, which is somewhat ironic given your vehemence. First of all, "Born In the USA" by Bruce Springsteen is often misunderstood but it is not as you say, about the loss of the American dream, it is about the plight of the Vietnam Veteran - and the unfair treatment they received upon returning home - period, end of story. As it relates to 'American Girl' by Tom Petty it is not about "a party girl trying to get laid". It is about becoming jaded, youthful angst, lost love, and a yearning to escape a small town existance. I offer to you as proof - "She couldn't help thinking that there, Was a little more to life, somewhere else", along with the verse..."And for one desperate moment there, He crept back in her memory,God it's so painful, something that's so close,And still so far out of reachIn fact, Tom Petty, who is from Gainesville, Florida and had a rough childhood, has written many songs about escaping small towns - "One Story Town", "Last Dance with Mary Jane", "Here Comes My Girl", and many, many more. What do any of them have to do with Michelle Bachmann - I haven't a clue either, but I coudln't let that misinformation perpetuate.

 
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