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Three years later victim's family still waits for justice

Published On: Sep 12 2011 02:05:07 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 15 2010 08:37:12 AM CDT
COEUR D'ALENE -

Almost three years ago a Coeur d'Alene man was charged with molesting nine neighborhood girls. Three years later Robert Critchfield has yet to go to trial.

Critchfield was arrested back in January of 2008 after one of the victim's families tipped off investigators to the alleged abuse. He was accused of molesting nine girls that lived in his old neighborhood.

The family of one of those victims is speaking out and is clearly frustrated at the pace the case has taken to get through the court system. They asked to remain anonymous to protect their privacy.

?I just get angry, when it sort of burns inside of you and it eats at you, every day, every day, non-stop,? the father of one of the victims said.

?We trusted this person, he lived right across the street, we let our daughter go over there because she was friends, best friends with his daughter? the mother of one of the victims said.

Critchfield allegedly abused the family?s trust by sexually assaulted their daughter several times inside his home. Police reports show Critchfield would masturbate in front of their daughter and other young girls. Court papers also accuse Critchfield of inappropriately touching the girls and making them watch pornographic movies.

?We never would have thought in a million years that right across the street it was going on under our nose,? the victim?s mom said.

Ever since they learned of the abuse at the hands of their former neighbor the family has been devastated not just by what happened but by how long it has taken for the case to go to trial.

?We share the frustration of the victims and the families,? Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh said. ?This has been going on a long time. They want to put it behind them, they want a resolution, so do we. So, yes, it is very frustrating."

Critchfield's trial has been delayed at least six times mainly by his attorneys.

?We don't forget about these cases, especially cases where we have victims and a case like this where it?s important to see it finished,? Prosecutor McHugh said.

As the months go by, the family of one victim is trying to keep the faith in our legal system and hoping their daughter won't lose hope.

?We'll never give up. Even if our daughter is the only one left on the stand. That's all that matters to us,? the victim?s mom said.

?This happened over two years ago and still going on. He's out loose,? the victim?s dad said.

Critchfield?s new attorney could not be reached for comment on this story. Critchfield moved from his Coeur d?Alene home. Records indicate he now lives somewhere in Post Falls.

He is charged with nine counts which range from sexual abuse of a child and lewd conduct with a minor under 16.

His trial is currently set to begin on October 12th.

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