Woman accuses Zimmerman of child molestation

4:05 PM, Jul 16, 2012   |    comments
George Zimmerman in a Sanford, Fla., courtroom for his bond hearing. (CNN File)
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SANFORD, Fl. -- A woman identified only as Witness 9 tearfully told Florida authorities investigating George Zimmerman for the fatal shooting of an unarmed teen that he molested her for 10 years, starting when she was 6, according to a new round of evidence released Monday.

The woman, who was not a witness to the killing of Trayvon Martin, made her explosive statement to investigators for the state attorney in March, a month after the shooting.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon, 17, who was walking from a store to the home of his father's fiancée. The two got into an altercation that ended with the teen's death on Feb. 26.

He is out on $1 million bond. A judge had revoked his previous $150,000 bond in June when prosecutors showed that Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, tried to hide their assets from the court.

The woman's 27-minute recorded interview is part of evidence released by prosecutor Angela Corey's office.

The woman, who said she is a relative of Zimmerman, recounts incidents that she said began when she was 6 and he was 8. She said the sexual abuse began when she and her sister went to stay with Zimmerman and his family.

She said Zimmerman assaulted her numerous times, groping her with his hands, kissing her, fondling her inside her pants and inserting his fingers in her vagina.

"I wanted to make it stop, but I didn't know how," the woman tearfully told investigators. She said she never said anything about the alleged abuse because she was scared.

Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, had argued that the interview should not be released. O'Mara wrote in a motion that the statement "is not relevant" to the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and would "serve to reignite and potentially enhance the widespread public hostility toward Mr. Zimmerman."

The woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, said her family and Zimmerman's family were always together.

She said the last incident occurred when she was 16 and they were both in a house his family owned in Lake Mary, Fla. She said he told her to lay on a bed, then laid down next to her and tried to massage her. She said they were clothed, but she said she felt his erection. She said she ran out of the room and house.

The woman said that in 2005, when she was 20, she told her sister that "something happened," but didn't provide details. Her sister told her parents, who confronted Zimmerman. At the time, he allegedly said, "I'm sorry," but they never discussed it further, she said.

Zimmerman's family wanted to sweep everything under the rug, the woman said. The families still got together, but she said Zimmerman stopped attending many of those functions.

She said she came forward now because, "For the first time in my life, I'm not afraid of him."

Attorney Benjamin Crump, lawyer for the Martin family, said Monday "as the state attorney previously stated, she (witness 9) certainly would be a rebuttal witness very similar to that in the Sandusky trial showing that he (Zimmerman) has a history of violence and manipulation. Zimmerman's mentality is very relevant to this trial."

The woman told Sanford police in a telephone interview released in May that Zimmerman and his family are racist against blacks. In that interview, she refused to identify herself.

"Growing up he and his family always made statements that they did not like black people unless they act white," she told police.

But she said she never saw Zimmerman do anything specific that showed he was racist.

Recordings released Monday included 145 phone calls Zimmerman had while in jail.

In one conversation Zimmerman spoke with an unidentified person who told him that Zimmerman's friend and defender Frank Taaffe said that "he has an interested party" who was willing to pay for his legal defense as long as Jose Baez was co-counsel.

Baez represented Casey Anthony, the Florida woman who was tried and acquitted in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, last summer.

Zimmerman quotes O'Mara as saying, "if you want him to be co-counsel just have him be your counsel because I will excuse myself."

Zimmerman in the recording said, "I told him no, absolutely not."

(USA Today)

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