and strange twists
, it probably shouldn't be so surprising that the whole thing ends so unexpectedly, and yet here we are. Two-and-a-half years after six members of the Mohler family were accused of violently sexually abusing their youngest female relatives, forcing abortions on the ones who became pregnant and killing and burying people on the family's Lafayette County farm, prosecutor Kellie Wingate Campbell yesterday afternoon dropped all charges against the five surviving men at the center of the case.
Campbell told the Associated Press that she doubted she could convince a jury of the charges. Despite the now-adult female victims' claims that bodies of people they were forced to kill as children were buried on the farm, no physical evidence of any murders has been found there.
Compounding the case's difficulty has been the accusers' reluctance to turn over their medical records to the Mohlers' defense attorneys. The lawyers argued that with abuse as violent as the victims alleged, there would be evidence of such abuse in their medical files -- and if there wasn't such evidence, it would bolster the Mohlers' defense. The victims feared private information in their records unrelated to the case being made public, although a special discovery judge appointed to review the records prior to them being handed over seemed to allay those fears.
Last week, one of the accusers requested that she be removed from the case. Her request was granted, and as a result Burrell Mohler Jr., the last of the six men still in jail, had his bond lowered and was able to leave prison yesterday
. Today the entire case is dropped, allowing the five surviving Mohlers to get on with their lives.
But how do you move forward with your life after a two-year hitch in prison, knowing that if you are somehow exonerated, you still have to deal with the fallout of having your grandchildren and nieces accuse you of protracted sexual abuse? How do those women move on now, on the other side of that line?
The charges have been dropped, but for the families at the center of the case, now the real trials begin.