Quite often when talking about sexual abuse in California, we tend to focus on cases where the innocent victims are children. And while it is certainly always disturbing to hear of cases where children are abused, it's important to keep in mind that when adults are the victims of sexual abuse there is the same kind of shame and hesitance in reporting as with any other victim of abuse.
This is exactly why the Butte County district attorney's office is pressing forward with charges against a 29-year-old Northern California man. He was arrested after police claimed he had drywall sealed his wife into the attic. However, while the woman was at one point cooperating with police, she has since recanted, saying she does not want to testify against her husband.
When looking at what happened, the husband was arrested on Monday. Police had gone to his Oroville home to check on the condition of another woman also living there. At that time, the 29-year-old said he had not seen his wife since in August.
However, at the time sheriff's deputies noticed the man was covered in drywall and that there was an area in the kitchen where the drywall was still wet. Sensing something wasn't right deputies ended up breaking down the wall and found the woman in the attic.
The wife claims that she had been held captive for two weeks and was physically and sexually assault by her husband during this time. She also claimed the reason she was held captive in the first place was in order to prevent her from testify against her husband about a sexual assault and other crimes he supposedly committed.
He was arrested and charged with false imprisonment, torture, spousal rape, domestic battery, witness intimidation and violation of court order.
However, since telling law enforcement what happened, the wife has changed her mind and told prosecutors she does not want to testify. She has also recanted her original story and claims she was hiding in the attic so her husband would not get in trouble with his parole officer. There was already a domestic violence restraining order that had been issued against the husband earlier in the year.
Whether the accusations against her husband are true or not, the district attorney said it's not unusual for victims of domestic abuse to change their story around. However, going forward the district attorney is still continuing to prosecute the husband.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Woman found in attic recants story of abuse by husband, D.A. says," Dec. 7, 2012