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HEIDELBERG, Germany — The defense rested Wednesday in the case of a Heidelberg noncommissioned officer charged with sexual abuse of a minor child and possession of child pornography.

A 30-year-old female defense witness — who testified that the alleged victim in the case was lying — admitted under cross-examination that she, too, had once accused Staff Sgt. Christopher Barberi of molesting her.

"…You reported it, then recanted," said prosecutor Maj. Jacqueline Tubbs.

The witness responded that she had lied in an attempt to live apart from her mother, then reconsidered.

But then why fabricate an allegation against the defendant, and not her mother, Tubbs asked.

"It seemed easier," said the woman, now 30 years old and the mother of three.

Her testimony came on the second day of Barberi’s court-martial. The alleged victim in the case testified Monday that Barberi frequently had her perform oral sex on him and told her that it was normal. The girl’s mother also testified for the prosecution.

However, the 30-year-old woman — a relative of the alleged victim — testified that she thought the teenager was "untruthful," that she never believed Barberi had sexually molested her and that the teen had also asked her to lie to implicate Barberi.

But under Tubbs’ cross-examination and reference to the woman’s sworn statement to the Criminal Investigation Command (CID), it appeared that the accuser had instead asked the woman to disclose her own purported abuse, which the girl had heard about.

"What she said was, ‘You know he did this to you, too,’ " Tubbs said.

Defense attorney David Court, however, suggested that although the woman lied about Barberi years ago, she was now telling the truth.

Barberi’s defense presented three more witnesses to attempt to damage his accuser’s credibility before resting their case.

One was a younger relative of the girl, who testified that she told him she was going to accuse Barberi and that he believed she lied.

The two others were social workers — one who said that in 2006 the girl did not disclose any abuse or display any symptoms — and another who sat in on a CID interview of the girl and thought it had been conducted improperly.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
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