Girls say they lied about being raped

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio (AP) - Three sisters have testified they lied in 1996 when they said they had been raped repeatedly by their father and his girlfriend.
They appeared Thursday before the same Knox County Common Pleas Court judge who presided over the trials in which Howard Fuson and Denise Monk were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
"It was a lie. It was made up," Vanessa Fuson, 16, said of her testimony in 1996.
Vanessa and her sisters testified Thursday that their mother's boyfriend had manufactured the lies and reinforced them with beatings.
Their mother since has married the man.
Vanessa and her sisters -- Amy, 17, and Melissa Bullock, 20 -- have waged a nearly two-year campaign for Fuson and Monk's release.
After county Children Services workers removed their mother's boyfriend from their home in 1998 they felt safe enough to tell the truth, the sisters testified.
Their mother agreed with her boyfriend and turned the girls over to the child-welfare system.
Authorities refused to take them seriously about recanting their stories, they said.
Ana Aebi, assistant Knox County prosecutor, dismissed the
sisters' latest testimony as attempts "to manipulate the court's time and evidence.
"If those allegations were true," Aebi said, "they would have been heard way before now."
The hearing on Fuson and Monk's requests for new trials was
ordered in December by the 5th Ohio District Court of Appeals, which ruled that Common Pleas Judge Otho Eyster overstepped his authority when he rejected the motions before hearing from the girls.
Eyster said he expected to issue a decision by the end of the month.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)