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CA- Molestation Suspect, Suspect's Father, Kills Himself

4-20-2006 California:

BAKERSFIELD -- The case of a child molestation suspect has taken a turn: His father, Steven Erbacher, has killed himself.

Bakersfield police said they were headed to the home on Redwood Hills Court on Thursday morning to arrest Stephan Erbacher on multiple counts of child molestation involving two female children under the age of 14. But when they arrived, they found that Erbacher had killed himself. Coroner's officials said he died from a gunshot wound to his head.

His son, Justin Erbacher, is facing 23 charges of sexual assault on five separate young women. He was in superior court on Wednesday, when his case was delayed to May.

A teenage girl also faces charges in the case. She will be in a juvenile courtroom in May. ..News Source.. by KERO23 ABC

Accusations recanted in Erbacher hearing

12-12-2008 California:

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. ..Source.. by Carol Ferguson


Long-running molestation case ends with 101 year sentence

6-18-2009 California:

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- The long-running molestation case against Justin Erbacher came to an end Thursday.

Erbacher was sentenced in Kern County Superior Court to 101 years in prison with no parole. His sentencing came one day shy of the 10-month anniversary of his conviction on nine charges of felony child molestation.

Multiple delays and efforts for a new lawyer and new trial proved unsuccessful in keeping Erbacher out of prison.

Erbacher was convicted of molesting four foster children ages 9, 10, 11 and 14. He was arrested in 2006 — about the same time that his father and fellow suspect Steven Erbacher committed suicide.

After the sentence was delivered, prosecuting attorney Kimberly Marshall said the Erbacher trail, "Is one of the most difficult cases I've ever prosecuted. It was horrendous."

Marshall said initially there were a total of seven victims in the case, but only four were prosecuted. Three of victims, who were Erbacher's foster sisters, recanted their testimony because, according to Marshall, their mother was upset about Erbacher's sentence.

"It was very difficult for them to realize that, even though their brother did this to them, that he would spend the rest of his life in prison," Marshall said. "That is why we believe he recanted."

Even with the recanted testimonies, Erbacher was found guilty of nine counts of molestation.

Marshall said she was satisfied with the decision.

"The family of one of the victims is very happy that we have reached this stage, but they still see it not as an ending but just a change of circumstance, because we have to go through the appeals process," Marshall said.

Marshall said the sentence was a victory, but she said it does not make up for what Erbacher did. Marshall said one victim will never recover.

"She's received therapy, but it's not going to (help)," Marshall said, adding that that victim isn't expected to live much longer due to health problems.

An appeal of the sentence will be handled by the attorney general and an appellate attorney. ..Source.. by Sabrina Rodriguez

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