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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.

Jennifer Knight

Denver

When I open this magazine, I expect to see my neighbors, friends, and friends of friends of Denver making this beautiful city what it is and having a paper represent and show off what they are doing! But I can barely read the scrawny black-and-white print that pathetically tries to tell their story.

Cut out the obnoxious overflow of ads. Everything that is in color should not be in color. This magazine, even though it's free, is a waste of time and money.

Kaine Walsh

Denver

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, Jef Otte, July 7

Cover Girl

Jef Otte demonstrates his bias by insulting the easy targets and not knowing much about the subject. Tom Petty and Katrina and the Waves do have legal standing: See Jackson Browne v. John McCain in 2008. The McCain campaign ended up owing money to Browne because of copyright infringement. But the larger issue is how often people misinterpret the lyrics of songs. "Born in the USA" is about the loss of the American dream, not a jingoistic, feel-good song about being American. "American Girl" is about a party girl wanting to get laid — which, I guess, is a feel-good song about being American. A more appropriate song for Michele Bachmann would be the Guess Who's "American Woman," but since that is a Canadian band, she could use the Lenny Kravitz cover. This would actually be closer to this article's premise that Bachmann is a sequel — more like a cover version, I think. Same shtick, different person.

Wade Sears

Posted at westword.com