Accusations recanted in Erbacher hearing

Accusations recanted in Erbacher hearing »Play Video
Justin Erbacher, left, during his hearing for a new trial, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008.
Three young victims are changing their stories as a man convicted of molestation tries to get a new trial. In their changed testimony, the victims say it was only the father of Justin Erbacher who abused them.

Erbacher, 24, was convicted in August of child molestation and could be sentenced Dec. 23 to more than 100 years in prison.

Thursday, in the second day of a hearing to determine if Erbacher should get a new trial, three victims recanted their accusations against Erbacher.

The victims were foster children that were ages 9, 10, 11 and 14 when Erbacher was arrested in 2006. Now, three of the girls say they were lying when they testified that Erbacher molested them, but they are telling the truth now.

"Justin never touched me," one girl told the court. Based on their original testimony, Justin Erbacher was found guilty of nine felony counts of molestation. The sisters said the abuse happened over a period of years.

In court, one girl read a letter she wrote to Erbacher after the trial. It said in part, "I'm sorry for what I said about you. It wasn't you."

Another sister had written a statement saying in part, "I made a mistake about my brother, he didn't do anything to me. It was my dad."

The victims told a judge Thursday that they were confused and also scared to accuse Steven Erbacher, because Steven Erbacher threatened to kill himself if the girls reported the molestation.

Steven Erbacher made good on his threat, committing suicide as the investigation started in 2006.

The prosecution and defense are trying to establish what the sisters said to each other about the allegations of Justin Erbacher's molestations, and when?

And, why did they accuse Justin Erbacher originally, if they now say it was only the father? One girl said she was scared -- that's why she lied.

Another sister said she was confused. "I realized it was dad when I was looking at pictures and gave it some thought," she said. The girl said that was some time after the end of the summer trial.

Testimony in the hearing is expected to continue on Friday.