MARYSVILLE, Ohio — A former Ohio National Guardsman who was convicted of sexually abusing three adopted daughters has appealed, citing ineffective legal counsel and other issues.

An attorney for the 43-year-old Marysville man said the court wrongly denied funding for an expert witness and that the evidence didn’t support the conviction.

There was no physical evidence, and all of the child witnesses recanted their accounts at some point, according to the appeal filed last week. It suggested that two victims who were known to have suffered abuse from a sibling may have transferred details from those experiences to their father, and that some of the children may have been influenced by a girl who came to live with the family.

“In total, the evidence weighs more heavily on the theory that these children were victim to a troubled child who manipulated them into either making up or believing that (the man) committed acts against them,” wrote the man’s attorney, Elizabeth Mosser.

The defendant, who was accused of abusing girls younger than 13, was sentenced last year to life in prison without parole on charges including rape and sexual battery.

He denied abusing his adopted girls, and his wife testified that she never saw signs of such abuse.

She was sentenced in July 2015 to 18 months in prison on charges of intimidation and obstructing justice.

The Associated Press isn’t naming the couple to protect the children’s identities.

Prosecutors alleged the father touched the girls in inappropriate, sexual ways and forced two of them to perform sex acts on him. They alleged the couple abruptly sent another girl who had been living with them out of state in July 2012 after she learned of the abuse and reported it to relatives.

The couple denied that and said they’d been planning for several days to return the girl to her adoptive parents in Idaho because she was disruptive and intimidated the other children.

VIAThe Associated Press
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.