Vindication: Better late than never?
A man who suffered 29 years in prison for the rape of his stepdaughter has finally been freed with the help of a local district attorney—and the victim, who had campaigned for his innocence for 20 years.
The case went like this. Patrick Brown, a stepfather of a 6-year-old girl, was found guilty of her rape in a Louisiana courtroom absent the victim’s own testimony. Instead, adults testified “to what they believed she [the victim] had said.”
Since 2002, the victim had repeatedly requested the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office to review the case and prosecute the actual perpetrator. Despite this, no investigations into her case were ever done until DA Jason Williams took office and launched the Civil Rights Division.
A thorough investigation followed, exonerating Mr. Brown. Williams then asked the court to rectify the case.
“Listening and engaging victims and survivors of sexual assault is a top priority in this office. It is incredibly disheartening to know that this woman was dismissed and ignored, no matter how inconvenient her truth, when all she wanted was the real offender to be held responsible,” said District Attorney Williams.
Brown was released on Monday with just a small box of possessions. The family set up a GoFundMe to help him get back on his feet. So far, it’s raised $16,000 of a $25,000 total.
MORE WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS ENDED:
The Civil Rights Division, said one law professor, is the only group in Louisiana actively taking the concept of “Justice” seriously, evidenced, she says, by the fact that they listened to the testimony of the victim and acted on it while others had failed to do so for so long.
“The State is actively reviewing the viability (of) charges against the actual perpetrator,” Orleans Parish Williams told CNN in a statement. “To say more on that at this time would not be prudent as it could jeopardize the case.”
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