The media circus started two years ago.

State Police found Megan Williams at Bobby Brewster's trailer in Big Creek on Sept. 8, 2007. Williams claimed that she'd been kidnapped, raped, and tortured by Bobby, his mother, and their twisted friends.

So it began, and many of the stereotypes Americans have about backward, depraved, inbred hillbillies in West Virginia seem to be confirmed.

Everybody with a shameless desire for self-promotion got into the act, including outside agitators and our own state attorney general, then campaigning for his fifth term.

The fact that the state AG is not authorized to try criminal cases seemed not to matter to Darrell McGraw. He hoped to score points just by offering to intervene.

McGraw said he could take over the case if it became "problematic, even inflammatory."

Inflammatory it quickly became as prosecutors -- who should have known better -– declined to put on the brakes.

Inflammatory can be good for a self-absorbed politician seeking re-election. It ensures lots of free media exposure during the campaign season.

Old Quick-Draw, Jump-the-Gun McGraw didn't get to do his star turn on this one, but it wasn't for lack of willingness to make matters worse.

Before the hubbub died down, seven people went to jail and the reputation of our beautiful state and its residents had been dragged through the mud again.

Now we learn the whole thing was a lie. It never happened. Megan Williams made it all up, embellishing the tale with each retelling as family members and other opportunists egged her on.

"She has decided she has been living this lie for approximately two years and she has decided to tell the truth," her attorney explained this week. "She fabricated the story and she did this in retaliation because she was having a relationship with one of them."

Megan Williams wants to apologize. Good for her. Now maybe Darrell McGraw and the other flame-stokers will follow suit.

Don't hold your breath.

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