The parents of a young central Iowa woman accused of shooting a man Sunday night say their daughter was confused and desperate. Eighteen-year-old Rachel Marie Huggins of Colo is charged with shooting Peter Sciarotta in the chest on the door step of his home in Lambs Grove, a tiny town near Newton. In 2004, she told local authorities that Sciarotta had sexually abused her, but he was never charged.
Her uncle, Joel Huggins of Pleasantville, today (Wednesday) asked others who may have been sex abuse victims of Sciarotta to come forward. “We would really encourage if there (are) any victims to come out and tell appropriate authorities what actions that were taken against them,” Joel Huggins said. Rachel Huggins is the daughter of Colfax Police Chief Jon Huggins.
The chief issued a written statement today (Wednesday) and his brother, Joel, read it at a news conference. “When our daughter reported she had been sexually victimized over a long period of time, she believed the system we had taught her to trust and believe in had completely failed in providing her justice,” the parents of the accused said in that written statement. The police chief, though, went on to say in the statement that he did not approve of taking the law into your own hands.
“Neither my wife nor I would ever encourage, support, condone in any way the actions (our daughter) is accused of taking,” Huggins said. “We by no means think violence of any kind is appropriate under these circumstances.”
The uncle told reporters his niece was a normal, outgoing teenager and he didn’t suspect she was upset or distraught. “(We) all got together for Christmas,” Huggins said. “She was a normal 18 year old kid and nobody expected this whatsoever.” Rachel Huggins has been charged with attempted murder, willful injury and going armed with intent. Her parents are asking for a review of her sex abuse allegations.
Huggins met Sciarotta in 1999. Sciarotta, who ran a photography studio and hair salon in his home, cut the teen’s hair. Huggins claims Sciarotta took nude photos of her and touched her inappropriately. Jasper County Attorney Steve Johnson says there was not enough evidence in 2004 to charge Sciarotta. Jon Huggins has taken a leave of absence from his job as Colfax Police Chief. His daughter is set to make an appearance in court on Tuesday.