(WETM) — A Tioga County N.Y. woman serving 11 years to life after a 2016 predatory sexual assault case has been granted a hearing after an appellate court ruling, according to the New York State Appellate 3rd division.
According to court documents the two victims, who are sisters, previously made allegations against Julia Werkheiser stating that she had sexually abused them numerous times. The allegations led to the filing of charges, and Werkheiser was convicted of two counts of predatory sexual assault of a child, and sentenced to 11 years to life.
After the trial, Werkheiser supplied statements from six different people stating that the younger of the two victims had taken back their testimony that she had been molested. According to the statements supplied, the older of the two victims coached the younger one to say she was molested by Werkheiser.
In the statements supplied by Werkheiser, the younger victim said that her father and stepmother forced her to testify against Werkheiser and that the stepmother told her if she ever changed their stories, they would go to jail. The statements also said that the older victim, the father, and the stepmother all threatened to cut off the younger victim from their family if she came forward and took back her testimony that she was molested.
Werkheiser also submitted a report from a child psychologist and neuropsychologist, who provided an analysis of the younger victim’s story that said it is consistent with other evidence suggesting that she was coerced into fabricating her original allegations against Werkheiser.
Court documents stated that Werkheiser had made a sufficient showing to warrant a hearing on the issue of whether trial counsel was ineffective for failing to call an expert witness to testify on the case.
Attorney Anna Czarples, from Welch, Donlon & Czarples PLLC, said that Werkheiser will get a county court hearing to determine if she should get a new trial, due to the original trial being based on potentially fabricated evidence or fraud. According to Czarples, the judge can overturn the conviction and the DA would have to start a new trial.