This week's cover story, "Beyond Belief," tracks the nightmare journey of Charles Farrar, serving what amounts to a life sentence in prison for sexually assaulting his 15-year-old stepdaughter, Sacha -- even though his alleged victim came forward after trial and admitted that she'd fabricated the accusations so she could go live with her grandparents.
There was no physical evidence in the case against Farrar, just Sacha's testimony. But the jury clearly believed most of her shocking story of being subjected to four years of sexual abuse by Farrar and her own mother. And Aurora police and Arapahoe County social service workers apparently believed it, too, doing little additional investigation and ignoring the contradictions and inconsistencies in Sacha's account.
In fact, Sacha was only formally questioned twice before Farrar was put on trial on dozens of counts of sexual assault -- the day she made the allegations to police, and a week later in a "forensic interview" at SunGate, a child advocacy center. The latter session lasted about an hour, with the first ten minutes consumed with ice-breaking chitchat.
The video below is an excerpt from that March 2000 interview, during which a nervous Sacha (note the constant hand movement) gave a graphic, if somewhat jumbled, rendition of the abuse she supposedly endured. In this segment, she's asked what should happen to Farrar -- the possibility that he'd be put away for 145 years doesn't seem to have occurred to her --and what should happen to girls who make up stories.
Can anyone tell from a troubled adolescent girl's demeanor if she's telling the truth or not? Should her word be enough to send a man to prison for life? See for yourself.
More video related to this story: "Charles Farrar on being denied new trial despite victim recanting in sex abuse case (VIDEO)"
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