Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Two more teens lie that they were raped

Court could charge Marshfield girls who claimed they were raped

MARSHFIELD — The girls initially told police that a Marshfield Fair carnival worker raped and assaulted them at one of their homes in Marshfield.

But they changed their stories a few days later. The 14-year-old told police that she had consensual sex with the carnival worker and that her 13-year-old friend was lying when she told police she had sex with him.

Now, four months after the alleged incident, police are asking the court to charge the teenagers with filing false police reports.

On Wednesday, Marshfield police filed an application in Plymouth District Court, seeking a clerk magistrate’s hearing in juvenile court. A clerk magistrate will determine whether to charge the girls, who were 13 and 14 last summer, with filing false police reports.

On Aug. 17, the two girls told police that a carnival worker, Jeffrey Witham of Oxford, Maine, raped them and held them against their will in one of their homes.

Witham, now 19, spent five days in jail on $150,000 bail after his arrest. He was released on personal recognizance after prosecutors dropped some of the charges against him.

A Marshfield Police Department report indicated that the 14-year-old told officers she had consensual sex with Witham. Sex – even consensual sex – with a person that young is a felony in Massachusetts.

The 14-year-old also told police that her friend did not have sex with Witham and was lying in several of the statements she made. One of Witham’s defense lawyers said the 14-year-old told the younger girl to stop lying about it.

The 13-year-old girl maintained that she was raped by Witham, but said she had trouble remembering everything that happened that night.

Witham still faces one count of rape of a child with force, two counts of rape of a child and one count of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14.

Defense attorney Michael Bergeron said Witham is encouraged by the latest development in the case but frustrated because the pending charges have prevented him from getting a job.

Bergeron said Witham, who had no criminal record, has been unable to join the military because of the case. He has been helping out his family around the house.

Bergeron said he plans to ask a judge in January to dismiss the case in district court. Witham has not been indicted in Superior Court. The case cannot be tried in district court because of the nature of the charges, Bergeron said.

“He’s certainly very happy. All he ever wanted is for the truth to come out,” Bergeron said. “He’s horrified this developed into what it has as a result of the girls’ bad decision making. He never envisioned all of this.”

Link: http://www.patriotledger.com/news/x1009175053/Court-could-charge-Marshfield-girls-who-claimed-they-were-raped