Charles Farrar: Appeal denied in sex-abuse case despite "victim" recanting

charles-farrar-prison-interview.jpg
Charles Farrar.
"My options are narrowing," says Charles Farrar, phoning from the Sterling Correctional Facility.

And so they are. Farrar has just learned that his handwritten appeal of his 145-year sentence for child sexual abuse -- a series of crimes that his accuser now insists never happened -- has been rejected by Arapahoe County Judge Valeria Spencer.

Spencer's ruling is brief, dismissive and a bit impatient, stating that many of Farrar's arguments have already been considered and rejected in previous appeals. At one point it states that the facts support Farrar's claims of prosecutorial misconduct, when the judge clearly meant to say that the facts don't support such claims.

To Farrar, the ruling seems as hasty and sloppy in its rush to dispose of the matter as the rest of the justice system's dealings with him and the life sentence he received.

The subject of last year's feature "Beyond Belief," Farrar's case is a stunning illustration of how serious child abuse cases can hinge almost entirely on the credibility of the victim -- even after that credibility has been thoroughly demolished. In 2002, Farrar was found guilty by a jury of multiple counts of sexual assault on his stepdaughter Sacha, who accused him and her mother of forcing her into sexual encounters from the age of eleven until she was fifteen. There was no physical evidence in the case and minimal investigation by authorities, who relied almost entirely on Sacha's testimony. But a few months later, after refusing to testify against her mother, Sacha returned to court and recanted her story, saying she'd fabricated the entire tale in order to go live with her grandparents.

Judge John Leopold refused to grant Farrar a new trial, concluding that Sacha's recantation wasn't any more credible than her original testimony. Colorado case law urges courts to regard recantations in sex abuse cases skeptically, since victims might be pressured by family members to withdraw allegations. But Sacha has stood by her recantation for the past eight years and wasn't living with family at the time she admitted perjury. A narrowly divided Colorado Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 2009.

Westword's investigation found that Sacha had a history of making up stories and threatening to accuse people of serious crimes, and that key family members who knew about her efforts to recant even before Farrar's trial were never interviewed by investigators. In his latest appeal, known as a 35 (c) petition, Farrar contends that his own attorneys failed to conduct an adequate investigation of Sacha's claims and that prosecutors violated his rights by failing to disclose critical information that could have acquitted him.

In denying the petition, Judge Spencer scarcely addresses the latter contention, merely noting that "this issue has been addressed at great length by the Court's [sic] in its order denying Defendant's motion for a new trial. It will not be addressed again."

Farrar had hoped to obtain a new hearing, as well as appointment of a new attorney, to pursue his claims. Outside supporters are now trying to raise funds to hire an attorney. "I do have people advocating for me," Farrar says, "and if we can get legal representation, perhaps we can get someone to look at the evidence."

Those supporters, including Sacha, regularly weigh in on the Facebook page Justice for Charles Farrar. They've also set up a non-personal account to raise money for a legal defense fund; donations can be made at any TCF Bank branch, directed to the account Justice for Charles Farrar.

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Preview: Meet Charles Farrar, serving life for sex crime that never happened (VIDEO)."


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18 comments
fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

All players in the criminal justice system should take an accuser's recantation seriously - but they are focused on 'closing' cases rather than 'solving' cases.

Teri Roe
Teri Roe

This is sickening and makes me sooo sad.." Judge John Leopold refused to grant Farrar a new trial, concluding that Sacha's recantation wasn't any more credible than her original testimony." If her recantation isn't any more credible than her original statement then why is he in jail in the FIRST place!!?? It has been 8 years of his niece trying to get him out of jail, and admitting that she made up the story. It was a horrible mistake on her part and i can't imagine the guilt she must be feeling. But she has been trying in vain to get him out and some of these "judges" statements are just baffling to me.this issue has been addressed at great length by the Court's [sic] in its order denying Defendant's motion for a new trial. It will not be addressed again." What the hell do you mean it will not be addressed again? Maybe not by you, but I hope the family goes higher than you and finally finds a way to free this man. What a cold and heartless bitch, knowing that she is keeping an innocent man in jail and doing it so mercilessly. If there is anything i can do to help i would be more than glad to. Cases like this should stop and make us all think, just how good is our "justice system" and just how safe are we? This could happen to any of us. I could not imagine sitting in jail for 10+ years, just to have a "judge" rule about my case in such an unproffesional manner. GOD, i am so pissed about this!

Bonnie Havis
Bonnie Havis

He doesn't need a new trial.  They simply need to open the cage and set him free.  This is outrageous.

woefatcat
woefatcat

Taking your story to law blogs would be a good start. The people at jonathanturley.org are a wonderful bunch of people who may help point you in a good direction. Good luck.

Sacha Bruce
Sacha Bruce

i thank every one for their help and support trying to free my dad. i am getting ready yo try and tweet all the major news papers but running out of ideas.

Justiceforcharles
Justiceforcharles

JUSTICE FOR CHARLES FARRAR - if anyone has any ideas or suggestions to get attention to the Legal system, media or any fund raiser ideas for the legal fees, please put on the Justice for Charles Farrar Facebook page.   We are asking for any help possible along with support to help free Charles, as he has already been in prison for 10 years.  Lets all help get Charles out of prison and make sure Justice is Service.  Thank you in advance for your support and help!!

Tinamarieholman
Tinamarieholman

This is truley sad, it was a sad day for us all to hear about my brother's 35(c) being denied.  Charles has missed so much since being in prison.  The graduation of his two oldest boys, the birth of grand children, the birth of nephews and nieces, the death of our father, and the reconnection of his children by a previous marriage.  Yes, they have been in touch through letters but that is not the same as being able to embrace your child/children.  It is hard hearing the phone ring knowing it is him calling and that you'll only be able to talk for 20 minutes if you are lucky.  It is hard wanting to tell him things that are going on but not wanting to put a damper on his day.  People take things and life for granted, a million things I wish I could tell my brother and I find myself only telling him half.  Even though he sits in prison he has and will always have an open heart, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on.  If he was out he would lend a helping hand and I know that it is killing him to not be able to do things himself.  Relying on other people is hard and he has had to learn to do that.  This is hard for a man that is very independent, has a strong work ethic, and always wants to provide for his family.  Please people it is hard to ask, it is hard to ask any of you for a donation being that we are a proud family, but we are not money rich, only RICH IN LOVE.  I support my brother 100% and hope that some of you may lend a helping had.  Thank you for reading my comment, your time is much appreciated. Tina (Farrar) Holman.  Don't take life for granted, make a change.

arfierro
arfierro

Why is this man still in prison?  So Sacha recants and he still sits in prison?  What is wrong with our Justice System?  Charles has already lost ten years of his life.  Somebody please help this innocent man and make sure Justice is served.   Do we all need to go to the Governor? 

Graymare
Graymare

Sure sounds like reasonable doubt to me.  Where's the evidence if the victim has recanted?  I hope this guy finds justice and soon. 

Been there
Been there

This is an absolutely horrid example of failed justice in our increasingly flawed police state.  Stories like these make me embarrassed to be a resident of Colorado.  Advocate to change the laws NOW, for your fellow man, before it is too late.  It may already be too late.

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

" Judge John Leopold refused to grant Farrar a new trial, concluding that Sacha's recantation wasn't any more credible than her original testimony."

Paging George Orwell ....

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Farrar and thousands of others should be freed, and the fascists making bad laws, running our courts, and administering the Gulag need to be interned permanently.

Audrey Fierro
Audrey Fierro

I know this is sickening and we need to fight strong if you would like to help and support us please look me up.  My name is Audrey Fierro and I am in Aurora Colorado.

Bev
Bev

Have you thought about starting an online petition on change.org?

Clwiseley
Clwiseley

They make money off him while he is in prison. They would probably have to pay him for the ten years of his life he's lost if they released him. It's not a justice system. It's a business.

JusticeforCharles
JusticeforCharles

Thank you Bev!!!   We will look into it.  This is a very good suggestion!!!

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