In a newly released interview with the Sanford Police Department, a female cousin of George Zimmerman claimed he sexual molested her over a period of 10 years.
In the almost 30-minute interview taken in March with the woman, who was dubbed “witness 9” throughout court proceedings, she detailed five specific instances where she claimed Zimmerman touched her inappropriately throughout the years.
The instances would occur when their families were together, she said, and began when she was 6-years-old and he was 8. The woman told police she and her sister were sent to stay with the Zimmermans while her parents moved from Louisiana to Florida.
“He would reach under the blankets and try to do things,” she said. “I don’t know how I didn’t say anything but I didn’t know any better.”
The cousin told police there was also another victim, but through their conversations the second victim has refused to come forward and also said she would deny any allegations.
Over the years she said Zimmerman would continue to touch her inappropriately at family gatherings.
“Every time that we that we would go up there I could just look at him and he would give me a certain look and I would know if it was going to happen when we got together for family gatherings,” she said. “Cause he just got this look in his eye like he was going to.”
The final instance, said the woman, was when she was 16 and Zimmerman was living in his parent’s home in Lake Mary alone. She had come over to see the house, she said. After Zimmerman began massaging and groping her, she ran out of the home. Zimmerman was 17 at the time.
“I just wanted it to stop,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to tell anyone.”
The cousin did eventually tell her parents, who met with Zimmerman at a restaurant in Lake Mary to confront him. At the meeting, she said, he simply sat down said “I’m sorry,” and left.
Since then, she said, she has not seen him at family functions because the family now caters to her.
The reason it took her so long to speak out about his actions, she told investigators, was because she was afraid no one would believe her.
“He was a different person to me. He was very intimidating,” she said. “And the fact that he made everyone love him and he made everyone laugh and be so happy around him – I knew that if I said anything he would just deny it.”
She came forward to investigators in March because she said she no longer had to fear him.
On June 18 Zimmerman’s attorney Mark O’Mara filed a motion to block the public release of the cousin’s statement contending, “The content of this statement is not relevant to the issues of this case, and it would not be admissible in the State’s case in chief.”
O’Mara also stated releasing the statement would lead to widespread hostile publicity which would impair Zimmerman’s right to fair trial.
Zimmerman is currently out of jail on a $1 million bond after being charged with the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman shot and killed Martin Feb. 26 at The Retreat at Twin Lakes and claims the shooting was in self-defense after Martin attacked him.
O’Mara also filed a motion Monday stating Judge Kenneth Lester should not have ruled to released the statements, since a motion to disqualify him as judge had been filed. Lester’s order to release the statement and O’Mara’s motion to disqualify him were both issued Friday.
However now that the statement has been publicly disseminated, O’Mara said Zimmerman’s defense team will defend him against the allegations.
“Now that this statement is part of the public record, the defense will vigorously defend Mr. Zimmerman against the allegations,” said O’Mara. “In the next several weeks, there will be reciprocal discovery filed regarding Witness #9’s statement.”
In addition to the accusations that Zimmerman sexual molested the cousin, the woman also told investigators in a separate interview that she was afraid Zimmerman may have shot Martin because he was black. It’s widely known in their family, she said, that the Zimmermans are racists.
“Growing up he and his family said that they don’t like black people if they don’t act like white people,” she said. “They like black people if they act white.”
She also told investigators that during a conversation about then presidential candidate Barack Obama Zimmerman’s mother proudly said she was a racist.