Woman arrested after recanting story about Johnson City child rape; boyfriend released

Becky Campbell • Sep 20, 2013 at 9:14 PM

A Johnson City woman who told police earlier this month she witnessed her boyfriend sexually abuse a 3-year-old girl has been charged with filing a false report for recanting her story.

Tabitha Eaton, 19, 6 Trivette Concourse, was arrested Wednesday on the charge as she left the witness stand during her boyfriend’s preliminary hearing, the case investigator said.

Holden Marshall Ledford, 6 Trivette Concourse, No. 2, was charged with rape of a child and had a hearing in Washington County General Sessions Court Wednesday.

Johnson City Police Investigator Debbie Dunn said Eaton told her, “she didn’t want (Ledford) to go to jail.”

The hearing had originally been scheduled for Sept. 12 and at that time Eaton was apparently ready to testify against Ledford. But the case was postponed until this week and by that time, Eaton had changed her mind, Dunn said.

According to a court affidavit, Eaton gave a statement to Dunn on Sept. 5 and said she saw the sexual abuse of the child. There is a videotaped account of what Eaton said she witnessed, according to court records.

But on Wednesday, Eaton got onto the witness stand and under oath gave another statement that “she had fabricated the allegation and stated that she had not witnessed the sexual act.”

Ledford was arrested Sept. 5 after Dunn investigated the report about the sexual abuse and relied heavily on Eaton’s alleged eye-witness account.

After Eaton’s recantation on the stand, the case was dismissed.

“It’s very frustrating. There’s nothing I can do,” Dunn said about the case.

Ledford had been held on a $50,000 bond, but has been released from custody. Eaton was arraigned on her charge Thursday in General Sessions Court and has a preliminary hearing scheduled Oct. 10. Her $5,000 bond was reduced to a $5,000 own recognizance bond.

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