Prosecutors on Thursday dropped their case against a former foreign exchange student from Spain accused of molesting her younger sister along with her host dad, whom she married before he killed himself last summer.
The charges against Marta San Jose, 21, who was arrested along with student-sponsor Dale Leary on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, were dropped because her younger sister didn’t want to return to the United States to testify, the Miami Herald reports.
Claiming she had already “suffered enough,” the girl’s mother decided not to subject her to taking part in a trial, especially since she believed “these crimes only happened because Dale manipulated Marta into committing them,” according to a prosecutor’s memo obtained by the newspaper.
The development follows Leary’s suicide last year, just days after he was released from jail. He was found inside a car along with his ex-wife, Claudia Leary, who survived. The couple had separated in 2014 when Leary left her to marry San Jose soon after her 18th birthday. Her younger sister, identified as R.S. in court documents, was then allegedly abused during visits with the couple, according to the Herald.
San Jose convinced her sister to believe she was molested by her parents and to allow Leary to examine her vagina after she believed her story, according to arrest affidavits. That led to Leary and San Jose performing other sex acts on the girl and taking lewd photographs of her, prosecutors said.
San Jose’s attorney, Jorge Viera, said outside of court Thursday that his client was clearly victimized by her late husband.
“My client’s legal nightmare is finally over,” Viera told NBC Miami. “She was manipulated over years, brainwashed over years and abused over years.”
Viera also criticized the student exchange agency that placed San Jose with Leary. She has not decided whether to stay in Florida or to return to Spain, he said.
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