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Sister of man convicted in Conn. home invasion: Parents didn't get them post-abuse counseling
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) ' The sister of a Connecticut man convicted of killing a woman and her two daughters during a brutal home invasion testified Tuesday that her parents didn't get counseling outside of church after he sexually abused her because they feared the state could break up the family.
The sister said her parents worried she or her brother could be removed from the home. Her testimony came in the sentencing phase of the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky, who was convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters in their Cheshire home in 2007. He faces life in prison or the death penalty.
The sister told a jury Monday that Komisarjevsky sexually abused her as a child for years. Her name is being withheld by The Associated Press.
The defense says Komisarjevsky's religious family did not get him proper psychological treatment. His attorneys say he was sexually abused by a foster teen the family took into their home and later as a teen by someone else. Prosecutors say those claims came from Komisarjevsky and emerged years later when he faced prison time for 19 nighttime residential burglaries.
His sister said under cross-examination from prosecutors that she turned out successful even though she was raised in the same house and suffered sexual abuse as well.
The director of a Christian musical tour group testified that Komisarjevsky was an "outstanding" member of the group, which traveled the United States and Western Europe in 1997 when he was about 17. Mark Middlebrooks said Komisarjevsky was very good with his 3-year-old daughter during the two 3-month tours.
Komisarjevsky was the lighting technician for the tours and handled complex technical issues with no trouble, Middlebrooks said.
"Josh was outstanding from Day 1 to the end," Middlebrooks said, adding that he came to rely on him for the lighting and believed he made a significant contribution to the tours.
He said Komisarjevsky was in legal trouble at the time, but he made an exception so he could join the group, called the Continentals. He said he felt "compelled and burdened" to accept him for the tour, a decision he never regretted.
"He responded so well to me and my leadership," Middlebrooks said. "We developed a trust. I didn't have to worry about Josh."
Middlebrooks said Komisarjevsky told him about negative experiences he had earlier with Christian camps. He said he felt rejected by Christians because he was different or acted differently.
"He just felt somewhat discriminated against," he said.