KGUN 9News


Daughter said "He's nice, but he beats us"

Posted at 5:41 PM, Nov 24, 2015

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - "He's nice, but he beats us." That's how a child psychiatrist quoted one of the three daughters of Fernando and Sophia Richter.

Just before Thanksgiving two years ago, two of the girls climbed out a window and ran away from this house in midtown Tucson.
The girls said Fernando Richter threatened them with a knife.  Police found a third girl still inside.
Why did the girls stay and endure the abuse?  They were able to unlock their bedroom door and window, but they didn't.
Psychiatrist Doctor John Leipsic described psychological imprisonment where locks and keys don't matter.
Talking about the youngest girl, 12 at the time, Leipsic said, "the traumatic entrapment manifests in terms of submission appeasement, conciliation and pacification."
Leipsic says the trauma like the Richter girls suffered creates a survival mechanism that can actually build hostages affection for their captors and make them reluctant to give evidence against them.
Earlier the psychiatrist described physical scars consistent with beatings the girls testified about.  Looking at pictures he described scars on the back of the 12-year-old.
"And that is consistent with trauma from a belt, or cord or a wire or a stick."
He says the girl's skin and teeth showed she rarely bathed or brushed her teeth.
The psychiatrist told the jury the youngest girl showed all the signs of a trauma repeated over and over.  She had nightmares, and worried someone wanted to murder her.
Leipsic is expected to be the last prosecution witness.
Then the defense begins.
Fernando Richters lawyer says he'll put his client's mother on the stand to testify she often visited the family and found the girls lived in freedom and comfort.