Child Abuse Cases

Sexual Abuse without Murder, Age 13 and Under

62 Cases

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AL - Montgomery - Robert Doyle 1991

AZ - Pima - Larry Youngblood 1983

CA - Kern - Kniffens & McCuans C1983

CA - Kern - John Stoll 1984

CA - Kern - Bakersfield Seven C1985

CA - Kern - Jeffrey Modahl C1986

CA - Los Angeles - McMartin Preschool 1983

CA - Los Angeles - Leonard McSherry 1988

CA - San Joachin - Peter Rose 1994

FL - Dade - Richard McKinley 1983

FL - Hillsborough - Alan Crotzer 1981

FL - Pinellas - Raymond Baugh 2002

GA - Whitfield - Wayne Cservak C1997

IL - Cook - Ronnie Bullock 1983

KY - Kenton - Timothy Smith A2000

LA - Caddo - Calvin Willis 1981

LA - East Baton Rouge - Gene Bibbins 1986

MD - Baltimore - Kenneth Barnes 1996

MA - Berkshire - Bernard Baran (1980s)

MA - Berkshire - Robert Halsey 1993

MA - Middlesex - Fells Acres Day School 1984

MA - Middlesex - Ray & Shirley Souza C1993

MA - Suffolk - Arthur O'Connell C1935

MA - Suffolk - Marvin Mitchell 1988

MA - Suffolk - Guy Randolph 1990

MI - Oakland - James Perry 2005

MI - Gary Lee Morris 1994

MN - Hennepin - Edward & Karri LaBois 1984

MS - Chickasaw - Cameron Todd 1997

MO - Franklin - Jerry Parker 1989

MT - Yellowstone - Jimmy Ray Bromgard 1987

NV - Churchill - Broam & Manning C1990

NJ - Essex - Kelly Michaels 1984-85

NY - Bronx - Bronx Five 1984

NC - Brunswick - Sylvester Smith 1984

NC - Chowan - Little Rascals Day Care 1989

NC - Forsyth - Joseph Abbitt 1991

NC - Union - James Bernard Parker 1990

NC - Wayne - Dwayne Dail 1987

OH - Franklin - Robert McClendon 1990

OH - Hamilton - James Love 1988-89

OH - Lorain - Smith & Allen 1993

OH - Montgomery - Aldridge & Wilcox C1985

OH - Summit - Jimmy Williams 1990

OK - Tulsa - Timothy Durham 1991

OR - Deschutes - Robert Hernandez 2008

OR - Yamhill - Pamela Sue Reser 1999

PA - Lehigh - Felito Mendoza 1992

TX - Dallas - James Waller 1982

TX - Harris - Carlos Coy 2001

TX - Harris - Ricardo Rachell 2002

TX - Hays - Thomas Harris 1996

TX - Hutchinson - Ronnie Mark Gariepy 1991

TX - Lubbock - Jay Van Story C1989

TX - Montgomery - Arthur Mumphrey 1986

TX - Tarrant - John Michael Harvey 1992

WA - Chelan/Douglas - Wenatchee 43 C1994-95

WA - Clark - Ross Sorrels C1995

WA - Clark - Daniel L. Sanders 1997

WI - Milwaukee - David Sanders C2008

England - Roger Beardmore 1991-93

Australia (QLD) - Frank Alan Button 1999




Date of Alleged Crime


Montgomery County, AL Robert Doyle 1991
Robert Doyle was convicted of the sexual abuse of his two young daughters.  His conviction was later vacated due to the withholding of exculpatory evidence.  (FJDB) (JDB)  [12/09]


Pima County, AZ Larry Youngblood Oct 29, 1983

Larry Youngblood was convicted of abducting 10-year-old David L. from a church carnival and repeatedly sodomizing him.  David said his assailant had a disfigured eye.  Youngblood fit this description and the traumatized child identified Youngblood in court as the perpetrator.  Youngblood lived alone, had a history of mental illness, and had had previous run-ins with the law.

Youngblood appealed his conviction because the state had collected semen samples left by the assailant both in and on the victim, but had failed to perform tests on the samples to determine the blood type of assailant.  It had also failed to refrigerate the samples so that tests could be performed at a later date.  Such tests might have completely exonerated Youngblood.  The Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with Youngblood that he had been denied due process and overturned his conviction.  The state appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court which reinstated Youngblood's conviction in 1988.  This decision was later recognized as an important precedent which limited the rights of criminal defendants.

In 1998, Youngblood was paroled from prison, but was reincarcerated the following year for failing to register his new address as required by sex offender laws.  However, by this time, advances in DNA testing technology allowed DNA tests to be performed on the degraded semen samples.  In 2000, Youngblood was exonerated of the crime after such tests were performed.  In 2001, the DNA profile obtained from the tests was found to match a Texas inmate, Walter Cruise, who was subsequently convicted of the crime.  (IP) (JD13) (Arizona v. Youngblood)  [8/09]


Kern County, CA Kniffens & McCuans Convicted 1983
Scott and Brenda Kniffen and Alvin and Debbie McCuan were convicted of child abuse and given centuries long sentences.  There was no physical evidence that any child abuse had occurred.  Prosecutors promised the children that testified against the four adults that if they lied they would be reunited with their parents.  The children recanted after they realized the prosecutors did not intend to keep their promises.  The convictions of the four defendants were reversed in 1996 and they were released after 14 years of imprisonment.  (RT)  [7/05]


Kern County, CA John Stoll 1984

John Stoll was convicted of 17 counts of child molestation involving six children including his five-year-old son.  Two of Stoll's codefendants won their state appeal 15 years before he did.  His own appeal was denied in part because of a mistake his lawyer had made during the trial—failing to introduce a psychologist's finding that Stoll showed none of the telltale traits of a pedophile.

Of the six kids who had testified against Stoll then, five—now grown— recanted at a hearing.  Only his son Jed continued to insist that his father had molested him, though under questioning he could give no details.  Stoll's conviction was overturned after he served 20 years of a 40-year sentence.  His charges were dropped.  (JD02)  [6/05]


Kern County, CA Bakersfield Seven Convicted 1985
In August 1985 Ricky Lynn Pitts, Marcella Pitts, Wayne Dill, Jr., Grace Dill, Wayne Forsythe, Colleen Forsythe, and Gina Miller were convicted of 377 counts of child abuse and conspiracy.  A total of 2,619 years of imprisonment was handed out to the defendants in sentences.  All convictions were reversed in 1990 because the trial and closing arguments were marred by prosecutorial misconduct that was unprecedented in the Court's experience.  By 1994, all of the child witnesses had recanted and claimed their testimony was coerced.  (Wash. Post) (People v. Pitts)  [7/05]


Kern County, CA Jeffrey Modahl Convicted 1986
Jeffrey Modahl was convicted of sexually abusing his 9-year-old daughter.  Modahl's daughter, Carla Jo, now alleges that two Kern County sheriff's detectives tricked and forced her into testifying that her father, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, and others molested her.  Carla Jo said two cousins molested her, but from there the investigation mushroomed to wrongly include other family members.  She told a reporter, “They took me to lunch every day, they let me play with the computer and promised to take me to Magic Mountain when I was done testifying.  They called me their star witness.”  The conviction was eventually vacated, and the DA declined to retry.  Modahl served 15 years of a 48-year sentence.  (JD01) (JD05) (Website) (Rolling Stone)  [6/05]


Los Angeles County, CA McMartin Preschool 1983 (Manhattan Beach)

In 1983, a mentally unbalanced woman named Judy Johnson enrolled her two-year-old son, Matthew, in the McMartin Preschool.  She became obsessed with Matthew's rectal problems and began thinking they were a result of sexual abuse.  Soon Judy was making accusations against Ray Buckey, 28, the only male who worked at the school and who was the grandson of Virginia McMartin, 79, the school's founder.  Matthew denied abuse at first, but soon Judy was making more accusations against Ray based on what Matthew allegedly said.

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Los Angeles County, CA Leonard McSherry Mar 1988 (Long Beach)
Leonard McSherry was convicted of the kidnapping and rape of a 6-year-old girl.  McSherry was a previously convicted sex offender with several arrests for loitering.  Police kept McSherry under tight scrutiny and were predisposed to believe he was the assailant even though he did not match descriptions of the assailant.  Witnesses identified him anyway.  DNA testing identified the real assailant as an inmate serving a life sentence for a 1997 assault.  McSherry served 13 years of a 48 years to life sentence.  He was awarded $481,200 for his wrongful incarceration.  (IP)  [6/05]


San Joachin County, CA Peter Rose Nov 29, 1994 (Lodi)
Peter Rose was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl.  For three weeks, the victim maintained that she did not know who her assailant was.  Then after a three-hour taped interrogation, police told her she was lying and threatened to dismiss the case if she did not identify her assailant.  Family members who disliked Rose, who was their neighbor, pressured her into identifying him.  Rose's blood type did not match the semen on the victim's underwear, but the semen sample was deemed too small to conclusively rule him out.  Rose served 9 years of a 27-year sentence before DNA testing exonerated him in 2004.  In 2005, Rose was awarded $328,200 for the 3282 days that he was wrongfully imprisoned.  In 2007, Rose was awarded an additional $1 million combined from the local, county, and state governments.  (IP)  [7/05]


Dade County, FL Richard McKinley Jan 1983 (Homestead)
Richard McKinley was convicted of raping an eleven-year-old girl.  Prosecutors told the jury that recovered semen matched his blood type.  A police officer testified that he saw McKinley on top of the victim with his pants down.  DNA tests later showed that semen and hair evidence could not have come from McKinley.  McKinley was reportedly being released after serving more than 20 years of imprisonment.  (PC)  [10/05]


Hillsborough County, FL Alan Crotzer July 8, 1981 (Tampa)
Alan Crotzer and his alleged accomplices were convicted of robbing a Tampa family at gunpoint and of kidnapping and raping a 38-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter.  A victim picked Crotzer out of a photo lineup.  An alleged accomplice said Crotzer was innocent.  In 2006, after 24 years of imprisonment, Crotzer was freed.  DNA tests showed he was innocent.  (AP News) (IP) (JD31 p7)  [9/06]


Pinellas County, FL Raymond Baugh Jan 13, 2002 (St. Petersburg)
Raymond Andrew Baugh was convicted in 2002 of the capital sexual battery of a 7-year-old girl, identified as C. P.  Baugh lived with Rachel, the girl's mother.  C. P. said he molested her behind a locked bedroom door.  She subsequently told investigators that Baugh had molested her 12 previous times. There was no physical evidence supporting the molestation. A month later, C. P. told her mother that she had lied.  She said she was mad at Baugh and wanted to get him in trouble, but not too much trouble.  She claimed she initially maintained her story about Baugh because she was afraid of what her mother might do if she found out that she, C. P., had lied.  At trial, C. P. testified there was never any molestation.  However, the prosecution presented the girl's previous statements that she had given.  Baugh was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.  The 2nd District Court of Appeal subsequently upheld Baugh's conviction, based on prosecution claims that the girl's original accusation was more believable than her recantation.  However, in 2007 the Florida Supreme Court quashed Baugh's conviction on the grounds that such claims were simply inadequate to support a conviction.  (Baugh v. Florida) (SP Times)  [10/08]


Whitfield County, GA Wayne Cservak Convicted 1997 (Dalton)

Wayne Cservak was convicted of molesting his girlfriend's 13-year-old-son.  The boy testified that Cservak had molested him night after night for almost two weeks. He said the sexual assaults happened regularly between 3 and 4 a.m. as he slept on the living room sofa.  One juror, Jim Thomas, thought the boy's testimony seemed contrived.  The boy stated he was sleeping on the sofa because he thought there were ghosts in his room. Then he said he was in the living room because his mother had rented out his room for a week to a cousin.  Testimony revealed that investigators had already caught the boy in one lie.  The boy's attitude also gave Thomas pause.  When asked why he didn't immediately report the allegations, the boy wisecracked, “Go figure.”  In contrast to the boy's testimony, Thomas felt that Cservak's testimony was real and believable.

However, despite believing Cservak innocent, Thomas was eventually browbeaten into convicting him after eight grueling hours of jury deliberation.  Thomas spoke at Cservak's sentencing hearing and his testimony helped convince the judge to give Cservak only 10 years out of a possible 100-year sentence.  Then Thomas spent thousands of dollars hiring an attorney to appeal Cservak's case.  During the appeal process, the boy recanted his story and told prosecutors that he had lied.  Apparently, the boy's mother and Cservak were talking about marrying and the boy did not like that idea.  Cservak was incarcerated for close to a year.  (JD01)  [10/08]


Cook County, IL Ronnie Bullock Mar 18, 1983 (South Side)
Ronnie Bullock was convicted of raping a nine-year-old girl.  Bullock was identified by the victim and lived in the area where the rape occurred.  DNA tests exonerated him in 1994.  (IP) (CWC) (DNA)  [9/06]


Kenton County, KY Timothy Smith Charged 2000 (Covington)
Timothy Smith was convicted of sodomy after his teenage daughter, Katie, claimed repressed memories of abuse.  His other daughters had denied such abuse.  In 2006, his conviction was overturned because of failure of his counsel to challenge the prosecution expert who backed up Katie's story.  The expert had obtained a doctorate in an unaccredited online school.  Katie Smith died in 2005 after attacking Sarah Brady, who was 9-months pregnant, with a knife.  Brady managed to grab the knife and turned it on Smith.  Police concluded Brady acted in self-defense.  (AP News)  [9/06]


Caddo Parish, LA Calvin Willis June 1981 (Shreveport)
Calvin Willis was convicted of raping a 10-year-old girl and sentenced to life without parole.  Willis was convicted because he is a type O secretor as is a large percentage of the male population and because he wears a cowboy hat as did the rapist.  The assailant left behind a pair of size 40 boxers, but Willis only wears a size 30.  DNA tests exonerated Willis in 2003.  (IP) (InjusticeBusters) (TruthInJustice) (GQ)  [10/05]


East Baton Rouge Parish, LA Gene Bibbins June 25, 1986 (Baton Rouge)
Gene Bibbins was convicted of raping 13-year-old Kenya Canty.  The victim initially described her assailant as wearing jeans and having long curly hair.  Bibbins was arrested less than an hour after the attack.  He was wearing gray shorts and had short, cropped hair.  The victim was assaulted in her apartment and the assailant took her radio when he left.  Bibbins was in possession of the radio, and said he found it as he exited his apartment building.  He lived in a different building than the victim but it was in the same apartment complex.  DNA tests exonerated Bibbins in 2003.  In 2006, Bibbins became the first person in Louisiana to be awarded state compensation for wrongful imprisonment.  He was awarded $150,000.  However, as of this writing, there is no money in the compensation fund to pay him.  (IP) (JD31 p22) (Bibbins v. City)  [10/05]


Baltimore City, MD Kenneth Barnes 1996

Kenneth Barnes was charged with sexual assault after the 8-year-old sister of his girlfriend claimed he had raped her.  In 1998, prior to trial, Barnes' mother (and court-appointed guardian) met with his attorney, Warren Brown.  Brown explained a prosecution offered plea agreement in which Barnes did not have to admit guilt for which he would receive no jail time, only probation.  It seemed like a good deal so Barnes took the plea.  However, the defense attorney never explained that Barnes would be branded a sex offender for life and have his name, picture, and address placed on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry.

In 2005, Barnes, who is mentally ill, was given a suspended sentenced for being days late in failing to register a change of address.  Months later he was jailed for a year and a half for maintaining a separate address.  In 2007, Lydia Fitzsimmons, the owner of a Tropicool Italian ice stand on Falls Road in Roland Park, found that Barnes lingered near her business before and after ordering an ice and then sat in his car watching customers.  Many of the customers were children.  Barnes may have been watching the young mothers, though no one really knows.  He denies having a prurient interest in children.  After being told by a customer that Barnes was on the sex-offender registry, Fitzsimmons called the police.  Since watching customers was not a crime, police could not do anything, but Fitzsimmons wrote a letter to Barnes' parole board asking them to incarcerate him.  Parole officials complied on the grounds that Barnes was in a “pre-contemplative state of re-offending.”

Later that year, the girl who made the rape allegation against Barnes was located and she admitted Barnes did not rape her.  The girl, named Marian, then age 20, said she accused Barnes because she was jealous of her older sister's closeness to him and wanted to break them up.  Those who support Barnes are seeking to get his conviction overturned so that it cannot be used as an excuse to incarcerate him at will for alleged non-crimes.  (City Paper) (2) (3) (4)  [12/09]


Berkshire County, MA Bernard Baran Arrested 1984
Bernard Baran, a gay 19-year-old, was an aide at Pittsfield's Early Childhood Development Center and was caught in the wave of false abuse allegations that swept the nation in the early 1980s.  In 2006 his conviction was overturned and charges against him were dropped in 2009.  ( (JD08)  [3/05]


Berkshire County, MA Robert Halsey 1993 (Lanesborough)
Robert Halsey, a school bus driver, was convicted of sexual assaulting children, because of the testimony of the children.  After extensive interrogation by counselors, the children said Halsey detoured their school bus on the way to school to a nearby lake and engaged in wild and bizarre activities with them that included things that could not possibly be true or showed an ignorance of human anatomy.  Such detours allegedly occurred numerous times over the course of two years.  No record exists of Halsey ever being late on his bus schedule.  When testifying, the children did not seem frightened or upset, only well rehearsed.  Sometimes they seemed to forget what was apparently rehearsed and ended up speaking about alleged events in a nonsensical context.  (CrimeMagazine)  [1/07]


Middlesex County, MA Fells Acres Day School 1984 (Malden)
School officials Gerald Amirault, his mother Violet, and his sister Cheryl got caught up in snowballing sex abuse allegations and hysteria and were eventually accused of abusing more than 40 children.  Children apparently were led into creating abuse stories after being badgered many times by investigating case workers (and some parents) looking for abuse.  Many child witnesses unsaid on cross-examination what they had said on direct examination.  No corroborating evidence was ever found.  The school's insurance company paid more than $20 million to 16 families.  The three defendants were convicted and their convictions were never permanently overturned.  The longest serving defendant, Gerald Amirault, was paroled in April 2004.  Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, which had never taken such a stand, called the case a “travesty of justice.”  (American Justice) (Website)  [5/05]


Middlesex County, MA Ray & Shirley Souza Tried in 1993 (Lowell)
The adult daughter of Ray and Shirley Souza went to counseling and was encouraged to read The Courage to Heal, a book about recovering memories of incest.  The book apparently teaches that if you are unhappy or have problems coping with life, it must be because your parents sexually abused you as a child even if you do not remember any abuse.  To heal yourself, you have to recover the memories of such abuse.  This daughter read the book and recovered alleged memories of abuse that occurred when she was a child.  She then spread the gospel of recovered memories to her siblings, some of whom were using their parents, Ray and Shirley, to baby-sit their children.  Subsequently, the siblings “recovered” memories of abuse and questioned their children repeatedly until the children remembered being abused.  Ray and Shirley were charged and opted for a judicial trial rather than a jury trial.  Judge Elizabeth Dolan, who presided over the Fells Acres abuse case, heard the case.  She convicted the Souzas and sentenced them to 9 to 15 years in prison.  Eventually the Souzas were allowed to serve 9 years under house arrest.  Author Mark Pendergrast profiled them in the 1996 book Victims of Memory.  (JD01)  [11/05]


Suffolk County, MA Arthur O'Connell Convicted 1935 (Boston)
Arthur O'Connell was convicted of a sexual attack on a 13-year-old girl.  The conviction was based on the testimony of the victim and her 13-year-old companion.  A month after the conviction the companion confessed that they had perjured themselves “just for fun.”  O'Connell had merely stopped to talk to the girls for a moment.  O'Connell was released after a month's imprisonment.  (BUSL) (Not Guilty)  [10/05]


Suffolk County, MA Marvin Mitchell Sept. 22, 1988
Marvin Mitchell was convicted of abducting an 11-year-old girl from a Dorchester bus stop and raping her.  The victim initially described her assailant as clean-shaven and cross-eyed, but Mitchell was neither.  DNA tests exonerated Mitchell in 1997.  (BUSL) (IP)  [10/05]


Suffolk County, MA Guy Randolph Dec 1990

Guy Randolph was convicted of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl.  The girl did not initially recognize Randolph as her assailant.  However, a few minutes later, after talking to her aunt, she accused Randolph.  During a grand jury investigation, the girl described her assailant in ways that did not match Randolph, including his clothing and height.  There was also no physical evidence connecting Randolph to the assault.

At his lawyer's request, Randolph entered a Alford plea in which he did not have to admit guilt in exchange for a time served sentence of 4 months plus 10 years of probation.  Randolph later failed to show up for an alcohol counseling session, a condition of his probation.  A judge then incarcerated him for the remainder of the 10 years.  Following Randolph's release, he had to register as a sex offender.  In 2008, after prosecutors said the case against Randolph was so weak it should not have been pursued, a judge exonerated Randolph of all charges and declared him innocent.  (Boston Globe)  [6/08]


Oakland County, MI James Perry Oct 2005 (Oak Park)

James Perry, a kindergarten teacher at Key Elementary School in Oak Park, was convicted of sexually assaulting two boys, ages 4 and 5 based on the boys' testimony.  The complaint began when the mother of the 5-year-old complained her son had been “tea-bagged” – slang for oral sex.  She also said her son had been the victim of a similar assault in Chicago.  Under questioning, the 5-year-old identified Perry and said he was only fondled, but said another boy, the 4-year-old, had been “tea-bagged.”  The 4-year-old initially denied being assaulted.

At trial, the boys claimed to have been pulled from a lunch line and assaulted in an empty Special Education classroom during lunchtime.  However, post-conviction interviews with school personnel indicate that the classroom always contained students who do not go out for lunch, and at least one teacher to watch over them. 

Because of the discrepancies, which were reported in the Detroit Free Press, Perry's conviction was overturned and he was retried in Mar. 2008.  The trial resulted in a mistrial with 11 jurors favoring acquittal and one juror holding out for a conviction.  Charges against Perry were dropped in Aug. 2008.  (DFP 2008)  [3/07]


Oakland County, MI Gary Lee Morris 1992-93
Gary Lee Morris was convicted of sexually assaulting his 13-year-old granddaughter.  Morris had evicted his daughter from a trailer owned by his mother.  His daughter had paid the rent for years but fell way behind after she began hanging out with a drug-using boyfriend.  Shortly after her eviction, his daughter's daughter brought these charges against Morris.  Morris's granddaughter claimed he raped her, but a medical exam showed that her hymen was still intact and that she was a virgin.  Morris is serving a 20 to 40 year sentence.  (JD27) (DOC)  [9/05]


Hennepin County, MN Edward & Karri LaBois 1984 (Minnetonka)
Edward and Karri LaBois operated a child day care in their home and were accused in 1984 of abusing their four-year-old daughter.  After learning of the accusation, they fled the state with their daughter.  In 2003, an informant tipped off police that the couple was living in a Salt Lake City suburb.  The couple was arrested on Nov. 10, 2003.  As a four-year-old, the daughter testified on videotape that she was abused after being asked leading questions.  However, as a 19-year-old she remembered no such abuse.  Parents who sent their children to the LaBois's daycare remember no allegations of abuse by their children.  On Nov. 26, prosecutors dropped charges.  Allegations of child abuse were a fad in 1984, but were no longer so in 2003.  (AP News)  [12/05]


Chickasaw County, MS Cameron Todd 1997
Cameron Todd, a police officer, arrested three adults and three teenagers for setting fire to a trailer.  One of them, a 13-year-old girl accused him and others of raping her.  Todd was charged with Capital Rape (in 1997) and was linked in press hysteria as being one of the ringleaders of a major child prostitution, drug, and pornography operation.  The girl who made the initial accusation has since recanted.  (MS Justice) (Todd v. Mississippi) (DOC)  [3/05]


Franklin County, MO Jerry Parker Aug 10, 1989 (Gerald)

Jerry Lynn Parker was convicted of sexually molesting three girls, K.B., age 10, H.R., age 11, and B.C., age 13.  He was sentenced to 195 1/2 years of imprisonment.  The girls said they were kidnapped at gunpoint from a gazebo in Gerald City Park and forced to walk to a woman's rest room about a block away where they were molested.  The girls' story contains numerous implausible or impossible details.  A deputy indicated that he did not believe the story.  Police undertook no further action on the girls' report until two weeks later when Parker became a suspect.  At trial, on cross examination, the Gerald Police Chief conceded his office received over 50 leads and the names of three suspects regarding the alleged assault but Parker was the only person ever questioned about it.

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Yellowstone County, MT Jimmy Ray Bromgard Mar 20, 1987 (Billings)
Jimmy Ray Bromgard was convicted of raping an 8-year-old girl.  The victim said she was “60%, 65% sure” that Bromgard was her assailant after seeing him in a lineup and said, “I am not too sure,” when asked if he was her assailant at trial.  Crime lab technician Arnold Melnikoff testified that hairs found at scene matched Bromgard and that there was only a 1 in 10,000 chance of them being from another person.  DNA tests exonerated Bromgard in 2002.  (IP)  [10/05]


Churchill County, NV Broam & Manning Convicted 1990 (Fallon)
Jack Ray Broam, 38, and his co-worker, Jay Cee Manning, 37, were convicted of sodomizing Broam's 9-year-old son, Neal.  Both were sentenced to life in prison.  Neal testified that the two sexually assaulted him as many as 50 times in one night.  In 1998, the then 17-year-old Neal told a judge that his mother, Broam's ex-wife, locked him up and starved him until he was willing to falsely testify against the two.  (Broam v. Bogan)  [10/05]


Essex County, NJ Kelly Michaels 1984-85 (Maplewood)

Margaret Kelly Michaels was convicted in 1988 of 115 counts of sexual abuse against 20 children and sentenced to 47 years in prison.  After working seven months as a teacher at a Wee Care Day Nursery, her troubles began on April 30, 1985 when when a four-year-old boy who was a student of hers said, when a nurse put a thermometer in his rectum, “That's what my teacher does to me at nap time at school.” When asked what he meant, the boy replied, “Her takes my temperature.”  That one comment led to a criminal investigation and Michaels being charged with 131 counts of sexual abuse against 20 children.

During Michaels' trial, the judge questioned the children in his chambers while the jury watched on closed circuit TV.  He played ball with them and held them on his lap; sometimes he whispered in their ears and asked them to whisper answers back to him.  The children alleged Michaels raped and assaulted them with knives, spoons, and Lego blocks.  They also contended she licked peanut butter off of the their genitals, played a piano in the nude, and made them drink her urine. All of this abuse allegedly occurred over the many months Michaels worked at Wee Care and went unnoticed by other teachers, parents, or administrators.

Michaels' conviction was overturned on appeal in 1993.  The appeal judges singled out one witness's testimony as being inappropriate, because she was used to tell the jury to believe the children, when it was the jury's job to decide which witnesses to believe.  The judges were also critical about the initial interviews of the children, describing them as coercive, highly suggestive, and inept.  Michaels was subsequently freed on bail, and after a year and a half prosecutors dropped charges against her.  (Famous Trials) (CrimeMagazine) (State v. Michaels)  [4/10]


Bronx County, NY Bronx Five 1984
In 1984, five men were arrested and subsequently convicted for sexually abusing 20 toddlers at three New York City funded day care centers in the Bronx.  All the convictions were overturned on appeal.  Police investigations used techniques on children to produce false testimony and implanted memories.  One defendant, Alberto Ramos, was convicted in 1984 after police used torture to extract a confession.  He was cleared in 1992.  He later filed a lawsuit and was awarded $5 million in 2003.  In 1986, Rev. Nathaniel O'Grady was also convicted of child abuse.  At his trial, one of the child witnesses apparently had not been coached enough and he identified the judge as his abuser.  O'Grady's conviction was overturned on appeal in 1996.  Albert Algarin, Franklin Beauchamp, and Jesus Torres, were also convicted of child abuse in 1986.  Their convictions were overturned on appeal.  (Gauntlet) (Religious Tolerance) (FJDB)  [11/07]


Brunswick County, NC Sylvester Smith Mar 1984
Sylvester Smith was convicted of raping Gloria Ogundeji and Janell Smith, ages four and five.  The victims were the daughter and niece of the woman with whom Smith had been staying.  The conviction was based on the testimony of the girls.  In 2004, the girls came forward and revealed that their grandmother, Fannie Mae Davis, had pressured them into accusing Smith in order to protect the actual perpetrator, their 9-year-old cousin.  Smith was released, but in 2005, Gov. Mike Easley had the opportunity to pardon Smith, but refused to.  In 1984, he was the District Attorney who prosecuted Smith, and apparently, it is hard for him to admit that he made a mistake.


Chowan County, NC Little Rascals Day Care 1989
During winter 1988-89, Edenton police attended a Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) seminar.  Shortly thereafter accusations of mass child abuse began to surface involving the Little Rascals Day Care in Edenton.  More than 90 children accused 20 adults including the mayor and the sheriff with 429 instances of child sexual abuse.  Seven adults were eventually charged.  Charges were dropped against three.  Two were allowed to plead no contest.  Two, Bob Kelly and Dawn Wilson, were found guilty of multiple charges of child sex abuse and given long sentences.  The convictions were overturned on appeal and new trials were ordered.  The cases were finally settled in 1999 when all charges were dropped against Kelley.  (Religious Tolerance)  [7/05]


Forsyth County, NC Joseph Abbitt May 2, 1991
“Joseph Lamont Abbitt was wrongly convicted on June 22, 1995, of two counts of first-degree rape, one count of first-degree burglary and two counts of first-degree kidnapping in the 1991 sexual assaults of a 16-year-old girl and her 13-year-old sister in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Abbitt was convicted based on the eyewitness testimony of the two girls, and he was sentenced to life in prison.  In 2009 DNA testing unavailable at the time of his trial excluded him as the girls' assailant.  Abbitt filed a motion for a new trial based on the new forensic evidence.  On September 2, 2009 Abbitt's conviction was vacated by a Forsyth Superior Court judge and he was released later that day.  Arrested in 1991, Abbitt was jailed four years awaiting trial, and spent another 14 year in prison, for a total of 18 years of incarceration. Abbitt was the seventh convicted man in North Carolina exonerated by DNA evidence.” – FJDB


Union County, NC James Bernard Parker May 1990 (Monroe)
James Bernard Parker was accused of molesting 19 children and convicted of molesting four boys, ages 5 to 12.  The alleged assaults purportedly occurred near the Icemorlee Street Apartments in Monroe.  Few children initially told their parents. The stories came out only when school counselors began asking questions.  Parker was sentenced to 3 life terms plus 60 years.  No physical evidence linked him to the alleged crimes and he was charged even though children told stories of being tied to trees and fed poisoned ice cream.  They also gave a wide range of descriptions of their attacker.  In 2002, an investigation begun by a UNC journalism student brought forth 15 reported victims and witnesses who said the crimes never happened or that Parker was not the attacker.  The only three boys who testified against Parker have since signed affidavits saying Parker did not commit the crimes.  In 2004, Parker, who maintains his innocence, was coerced into pleading guilty to reduced sex crime charges in exchange for release from imprisonment.  (Article)


Wayne County, NC Dwayne Dail Sept 4, 1987
Dwayne Allen Dail was convicted in 1989 of entering a Goldsboro home and raping a 12-year-old girl who lived there.  The girl initially described her assailant as having shoulder-length light brown hair and a beard.  Dail and others later testified that at the time of the attack his hair was bleached and cut in a “Billy Idol” style, and that he was incapable of growing anything more than patchy facial hair. Nevertheless, the girl identified Dail as her assailant and an expert testified that hairs found at the crime scene were microscopically consistent with those of Dail.  Dail reportedly turned down an offer to plead guilty in exchange for three years of probation.  A jury sentenced him to two life terms plus 15 years.  In 2007, DNA tests proved that Dail was not the girl's assailant, and he was released and pardoned.  (IP) (Goldsboro News-Argus)  [10/07]


Franklin County, OH Robert McClendon Apr 25, 1990 (Columbus)

Robert McClendon was convicted of raping his 10-year-old daughter, Rahshea Knaff.  Knaff reported that she was abducted from her backyard by a man who tied a sock over her eyes.  The man then took her to a abandoned house nearby and raped her.  Afterwards the man took her to a convenience store and went inside, leaving her alone in the car.  While he was inside, Knaff jumped from the car and ran home. 

Knaff did not tell her mother about the assault until the next day, when her mother noticed she was acting and walking strangely.  According to her mother's testimony, Knaff identified her assailant as her biological father, Robert McClendon.  Knaff was taken to a hospital which confirmed she had been assaulted.  When asked who assaulted her, she said, “I think it was my dad but I may be wrong because my eyes were covered.”  Testimony indicated that Knaff had only seen her father once in her life before the assault.

McClendon was convicted due to his daughter's testimony and due to the state's allegation that he had failed a polygraph test.  Years later in 2008, DNA tests were performed which showed that another man committed the assault.  McClendon was subsequently exonerated.  (IP) (Columbus Dispatch)  [6/09]


Hamilton County, OH James Love Dec 1988 - Mar 1989

In Feb. 1996, 18-year-old Sarah Jane Adams filed a police report, accusing James F. Love of orally raping her six, seven, eight years earlier.  After being charged with five rapes, Love filed a notice of alibi, stating that he was out of the United States during a large portion of the time period mentioned in his indictment.  His lawyers requested more specific dates and times of the alleged rapes, but the prosecutor repeatedly denied that any dates were available.

At Love's trial in June 1996, Adams testified that the first rape occurred “the week after Christmas 1988.”  She testified next three rapes occurred “at least once a month each month after the first time.”  Which would have been January, February, and March 1989.  Regarding the fifth rape she testified, “I can't remember when the last time was.”  Love told his attorneys he was in Mexico during the time period Adams said she was raped.  He obtained his mother's telephone records, which showed his mother had received collect calls from Mexico in late 1988 and early 1989.  The prosecutor argued that there was no proof the collect calls to Love's mother had been made by Love.  The jury convicted Love on four of the five rape charges.  Love was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences.  Love will be eligible for parole in 2036 when he is 85-years-old.

Since Love's conviction, he has assembled abundant evidence proving that he was in Mexico, before, during, and after the period in which the alleged rapes occurred.  In Nov. 2006, Love's conviction was overturned.  Love has written numerous articles on wrongfully convicted persons.  Many of those articles are posted on the Innocent Inmates of Ohio website.  (JD30 p5)  [9/07]


Lorain County, OH Smith & Allen 1993

Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen were convicted of child abuse.  Smith, a Head Start school bus driver allegedly drove students to Allen's house where the students were molested.  Smith, a white woman, and Allen, a dark complexioned black, were an unlikely pair and denied ever having met each other.  The two were convicted on the testimony of child witnesses whose testimony changed over time, and on the testimony of adults who were facing unrelated criminal charges.  School attendance and bus records show the crimes to be impossible.  Smith was sentenced to 30 to 90 years in prison and ordered to pay the costs of prosecution.  Allen was sentenced to five consecutive life terms.  No physical evidence existed that any child was molested.  (Crime Magazine) (JD29 p3)  [2/07]


Montgomery County, OH Aldridge & Wilcox Convicted 1985
Robert Aldridge and Jennifer Wilcox were convicted of child abuse.  After an investigation by Ohio Observer editor Martin Yant, it was discovered that exculpatory evidence was not turned over to the pair's defense attorneys at the time of their trial.  This included medical reports that none of the children allegedly molested showed any signs of sexual abuse.  In addition Yant obtained recantations by three of the six child witnesses who said they were coerced into giving false testimony against the two.  The witnesses, John, Jason, and Justin Chronopoulos, said they did not even know who Aldridge and Wilcox were until the two were pointed out to them in the courtroom.  Subsequent to the investigation, Aldridge's and Wilcox's convictions were vacated in 1996 after they served 11 years of imprisonment.  (Ohio Observer)  [9/08]


Summit County, OH Jimmy Williams 1990

Jimmy “Spunk” Williams was convicted of the rape of a 12-year-old girl.  An attorney, appointed to represent him at a parole hearing in Dec. 2000, set up a meeting with the father of the victim.  Three months later the victim recanted her identification of Williams.  The victim originally claimed she was raped after her parents confronted her about sucker marks, which were on her neck.  The victim and a girlfriend testified they had been experimenting with sexual activity, and the girlfriend, who was also 12, had made the sucker marks.  At trial, doctors could not say that the victim was raped.  They could only say the victim was not a virgin.  The victim apparently still maintained she had been raped, but stated in court that she did not see her assailant's face.  Williams was released in 2001 and awarded $750,000 by the state of Ohio in 2005.  (AP News) (Dredmund)  [9/07]


Tulsa County, OK Timothy Durham May 31, 1991
Timothy Durham was convicted of raping an 11 year-old girl, Molly M., and robbing her house.  Durham had 11 alibi witnesses who placed him at a skeet shooting competition in Dallas, TX at the time of the attack, but he was convicted anyway and sentenced to over 3,100 years imprisonment.  His trial featured a dubious forensic analyst who implied Durham's hair matched hair left by the attacker.  DNA tests exonerated him in 1997.  (IP)  [10/05]


Deschutes County, OR Robert  Hernandez 2008

Robert Hernandez was convicted in 2009 of child abuse charges against a 6-year-old girl and sentenced to 31 years in prison.  Hernandez lived with his girlfriend Tamara Denetclaw.  The alleged victim was Denetclaw's cousin whom the couple had been raising since the child was 2.  The couple raised the child because her mother lived on the streets and couldn't take care of her.  The mother was also legally married to a registered sex offender and there are two registered sex offenders on her side of the family.  When the child was 6 the mother decided she wanted her back.  Since Hernandez and Denetclaw did not have custody, they had to comply.  Many weeks later the mother brought back the child back saying she couldn't take care of her.

At an interview at the Kids Center, a child abuse organization, the child reportedly gave a taped statement that she was abused.  The Center sent the child home with Hernandez.  They later claimed they did not know what else to do.  The Center also told the child's mother what was said, but never mentioned Hernandez.  They later claimed that they did not tell her Hernandez was the abuser because they were afraid the mother would beat Hernandez up.

The Kids Center told the mother they taped a medical evaluation of her child.  They had her sign a paper saying they would not use their child's statement for teaching purposes and that the reason they taped her child was so that her child would not have to testify in court.  However, at Hernandez's trial, the Kids Center claimed that they did not tape the child; that it is not their policy to tape medical evaluations; and that they took notes.  But when asked to see the notes, they said they did not keep them; they shredded them.  The child testified for two days, but never mentioned Hernandez.

The medical examiner said he could not diagnose or confirm any abuse.  Hernandez gave a confession to the alleged charges which he contends was coerced.  A psychologist testified that Hernandez tested in the 95 percentile of being a person who says what people want to hear.  The psychologist was the only trial witness the defense was allowed to call.  The District Attorney, Mike Dugan, was one of the founders of the Kids Center.  Dugan was voted out of office in 2010 and the new DA fired the original prosecutor in the case.  (Source: Relative of Hernandez)  [2/11]


Yamhill County, OR Pamela Sue Reser 1998 (McMinnville)
Pamela Sue Reser was convicted of raping her four small children and sentenced to 116 years in jail.  Her children alleged that she forced them to have sex with her, each other, and her boyfriends.  Apparently, their foster mother put them up to this, because they all later recanted.  Reser was incarcerated for more than three years before release.  (Justice: Denied)  [7/05]


Lehigh County, PA Felito Mendoza Feb 25, 1992 (Allentown)
Felito Mendoza was convicted of child molestation.  His common law wife, Mercedes, had disciplined her child, which led to physical abuse charges against Felito.  Their children were taken away.  Later he was charged with sexual abuse after a case worker got a mistranslation of a Spanish word a child used and after one child tested positive for gonorrhea, even though neither Felito or Mercedes tested positive.  Mendoza suspects the child was assaulted by Mercedes brother, now in a psychiatric hospital, who had formerly lived in the house with the children and had sexually assaulted Mercedes and her sisters.  In addition, the children were pressured and bribed by prosecutors to testify.  Defense witnesses, particularly Mercedes were pressured into not testifying.  (JD01)  [6/05]


Dallas County, TX James Waller Nov 2, 1982

James Waller was convicted of raping a 12-year-old boy, identified as Jay S.  Jay initially described his assailant as a black man, 5 foot 8 inches tall and weighing 150 lbs.  He said a red bandanna concealed his assailant's face.  Later that day at a 7-Eleven, Jay heard his assailant's voice, and turned to see Waller.  Waller is nearly 6 foot 4 inches tall and was heavy.  Waller's family was the only black family living in Jay's apartment complex.  At trial, Waller presented witnesses stating he was home at the time of the assault, but Waller was convicted anyway.  Waller was paroled in 1993.  DNA tests exonerated him of the crime in 2007, making him the 12th person in Dallas County to be exonerated by DNA tests.  (NY Times)  [2/07]


Harris County, TX Carlos Coy Sept 1, 2001
Carlos Coy, a rapper whose stage name is South Park Mexican, was convicted of the sexual assault of a 9-year-old girl.  The girl had been invited over to Coy's house by his 6-year-old daughter.  She claimed Coy touched her inappropriately during a supposed sleepover while a Scooby Doo tape was playing on the VCR and Coy's daughter had fallen asleep next to her.  No physical evidence corroborated her accusation.  During initial questioning at trial, the girl said she wasn't sure what had happened and thought it could have been a dream.  She also said she did not remember the incident clearly.  Given the girl's youth, she was highly susceptible to persuasion by relatives who may have wanted to target Coy because of his money and fame.  Coy has at least six music albums with collective sales topping 1.5 million.  The trial judge sentenced Coy to 45 years in prison.  Three months after Coy's sentencing the girl's family filed a civil suit against him seeking unspecified damages.  (Chronicle) (SPM's Music Videos)  [10/09]


Harris County, TX Ricardo Rachell Oct 20, 2002

Ricardo Rachell was convicted of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old boy.  The boy, lured by a bike-riding stranger promising him $10 for help cleaning up trash, was sexually assaulted in a vacant home south of downtown Houston.  The next day, the boy's mother saw Rachell riding a bike on Cullen Blvd.  She drove her son to the location and the boy subsequently identified Rachell as his assailant.  Testimony from the boy and one of his friends who saw the assailant served as the core of the case against Rachell.

During deliberations, jurors asked about the boys' testimony, sending written questions to the judge.  At least two wanted to know how the mother asked her son to identify his assailant and how the boy responded to her question.  The boy appeared to know Rachell not as a stranger, but from seeing him around his neighborhood as a man whose facial deformity, from of a shotgun blast years before, made him drool and appear “scary-looking.”  The two boys never mentioned that their assailant had an obvious facial deformity.

After Rachell was incarcerated, similar assaults occurred on at least three young boys lured by a man who promised them money in exchange for performing a task.  Rachell's defense attorneys said they were never told that biological evidence existed in the case, but were later made aware of it.  DNA tests of this evidence confirmed Rachell's innocence in 2008, leading to his release after more than 5 years of imprisonment.  Rachell became blind from glaucoma during his incarceration.  He was officially cleared in 2009.  (HC #1)  (HC #2)  [5/09]


Hays County, TX Thomas Harris Aug 1996
Thomas Harris was accused and convicted of molesting his youngest daughter.  His wife acknowledged to two witnesses that the accusation was not true.  The alleged victim also acknowledged that accusation was not true and said Susan Miller (the divorce attorney of Harris's wife) and Trine Rodriquez told her to lie.  Harris has a long but interesting story including details such as his wife poisoning his food.  (JD02)  [6/05]


Hutchinson County, TX Ronnie Mark Gariepy Oct 5, 1991
Ronnie Mark Gariepy pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his 13-year-old stepdaughter after authorities persuaded him that he might have committed the crime during an alcoholic blackout.  The alleged victim recanted her allegation 18 months after he was sentenced to 12 years in prison.  After Gariepy was paroled in 1999, Gov. George W. Bush granted him a pardon based on innocence.  (CWC)  [7/05]


Lubbock County, TX Jay Van Story Convicted 1989
Jay Van Story was convicted of the aggravated sexual harassment of his 7-year-old cousin.  He allegedly had lain naked on top of her.  Van Story was sentenced to 15 years to life imprisonment.  In 2000, the cousin had gotten married and become a Christian.  She wrote to Van Story asking for his forgiveness.  The real abuser had originally forced her into naming Van Story.  When she told the truth to Children's Protective Services, they told her she would never see her mother unless she cooperated in the prosecution of Van Story.  Van Story is a prison graphics worker who designed the Texas state license plate and is still imprisoned in 2005.  (JD27) (JD45:3) (II) [9/05]


Montgomery County, TX Arthur Mumphrey Feb 28, 1986 (Dobbin)
Arthur Mumphrey was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl.  He was convicted because of the testimony of his co-defendant, Steve Thomas, who testified in exchange for a reduced sentence.  The victim claimed two men had raped her, but could not identify Mumphrey as one of them.  DNA tests later implicated Thomas and an unknown male as the rapists.  Mumphrey was released and pardoned in 2006 after 18 years of imprisonment.  Because of Texas law, the pardon does not erase his rape conviction.  Mumphrey is eligible for about $500,000 in compensation under Texas law.  (IP) (JD31 p4)  [12/06]


Tarrant County, TX John Michael Harvey 1989
John Michael Harvey was convicted of molesting the 3-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend.  The victim, identified as S. R. and now 17, denied that Harvey was her molester and only named him under pressure from the prosecutor, Lisa Mullen.  In a sworn statement the victim said, “I am also very angry with the prosecutor.  I feel that she took advantage of me because she wanted to win her case.”  [10/05]


Chelan County, WA Wenatchee 43 Convicted 1994-95
Between 1992 and 1995, 43 adults, mostly women, were arrested on 29,726 charges of child abuse.  The alleged abuse involved 60 children and resulted in 22 convictions.  All of the alleged abuse occurred in the city of Wenatchee (in Chelan County) and East Wenatchee (in Douglas County).  The allegations started when two children under the foster care of detective Robert Perez began accusing their parents.  (One soon ran away from Perez and recanted.)  Many defendants were coerced into confessing by the same detective.  The last imprisoned defendant was released in Dec. 2000.  To date, more than $7 million in civil settlements have been awarded to the defendants.  (RT) (Wash Times)  [7/05]


Clark County, WA Ross Sorrels Convicted 1995
Ross Sorrels was convicted of raping a five-year-old girl.  His 1995 trial attracted wide publicity because he was the former director of a group for troubled teenagers, America For Youth Foundation.  The actual rapist was convicted in 2002 of raping both the five-year old and her two sisters while living with the girl's mother.  (Seattle Times)  [10/05]


Clark County, WA Daniel L. Sanders June 1997

Daniel L. Sanders was convicted of child molestation. In late May and early June of 1997, Sanders stayed with his former girlfriend, Patti Kelley, to spend time with his 14-year-old son, Gabe. Kelley also lived with her three-year-old son, Tyler, who was not Sanders' child. After Kelley accused Sanders of molesting Tyler, Sanders said she was retaliating against him for threatening to call Child Protective Services after Tyler had gotten got into Kelley's stash of methamphetamine. Kelley had told police that Sanders had masturbated and ejaculated in Tyler's face. During a preliminary hearing, Tyler stated, “My mom told me to say these things about [Sanders],” and he would not, or could not, identify Sanders in the courtroom. The judge found Tyler incompetent to testify.

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Milwaukee County, WI David Sanders Convicted 2008 (Milwaukee)

David Sanders, a Franciscan Brother and schoolteacher, was convicted in 2008 of molesting an altar boy more than 20 years earlier.  The victim who knew his molester as “Brother David,” picked Sanders out of a photo array and remembered him as the man who taught him First Communion rites at St. Vincent's parish.  The victim also said he visited his molester in Delaware.  Sanders 1980s address was in the address book of the victim's family.  At trial Sanders' defense argued that Sanders had never administered the victim's First Communion nor, as far as anyone could prove, had ever been to Delaware. Sanders had worked at a number of Milwaukee area parishes as a music teacher, but never at St. Vincent's.

Following Sanders' conviction, the victim's grandmother found a letter written by a different “Brother David,” named David Nickerson, which implicated that man in the assault.  When confronted, Nickerson admitted he molested the victim.  Sanders was subsequently exonerated after 5 months of imprisonment.  Authorities were debating whether to charge Nickerson, in part, because the victim is far from an ideal witness.  In 2008 the victim was 30 years old and was himself in prison for molesting a child.  (WIP) (MJS)  [11/08]


England (Stafford CC)

Roger Beardmore 1991-1993
Roger Beardmore was convicted in 1998 of pedophile rape after being accused by an 11-year-old girl.  At the time of the alleged offense, Beardmore was living at a farmhouse 15 miles from Stoke-on-Trent.  The girl told her mother that between the ages of three and six she had been raped and interfered with when visiting Beardmore's farm.  Three years later the girl admitted that she made the whole thing up to gain the attention of her mother.  She said, “I have put a man in prison for no reason.”  The girl now says she never wants to see her mother again.  She expressed the wish to right a wrong which had been keeping her awake, crying at night.  Following the girl's admission, Beardmore's conviction was quashed and he was released from prison.  (Innocent)  [10/08]


Australia (QLD) Frank Alan Button Feb 17, 1999
Frank Alan Button was convicted of raping a retarded 13-year-old girl.  The victim said she had been assaulted during a party at her mother's home in Cherbourg.  She identified Button, but her testimony was confused and contradictory.  Button's nephew, Lester Malone, claimed Button had confessed to the rape while they were in a park shortly after Button had been charged with the crime.  However, Button went straight to jail after being charged and the confession in the park couldn't have occurred.  Malone later withdrew his statement and claimed the investigating detective had intimidated him and put words in his mouth.  Following Button's conviction, DNA tests were done which showed the assailant to be a prisoner who was doing time for another rape.  Button became the first Australian convict to be exonerated of a crime due to DNA evidence.  He was released after serving 10 months of his 6 year sentence.  (JTC) (Police Reform)  [11/10]