That’s exactly what happened to one a man in Washington who spent nine years in prison after being convicted of raping his 11-year-old daughter in 2002.
Thomas Edward Kennedy, 43, has always maintained his innocence, before and after a jury convicted him of three counts of first-degree child rape. He still had six more years to go behind bars when all charges against him were dropped and he was released from Stafford Creek Corrections Center last week.
The reason? His daughter lied.
Cassandra Kennedy, now 23, went to police in January and admitted to detectives that she had falsely accused her father of raping her because she was angry over her parents 1991 divorce and was disappointed with her father’s increasing absence.
Cassandra told detectives she got the idea from a friend whose stepfather was sent to prison for a child sex crime.
“I thought that is what I would do to make my dad go away,” she told police. ”I wanted him away so he would stop hurting me. I took my own vengeance.”
According to the Cowlitz County prosecutor, there are no plans to charge Cassandra for lying because doing so may discourage girls from reporting sexual assaults. Thomas has declined to comment, saying he’s simply trying to get on with his life.
If you are wondering, like I was, how an 11-year-old girl fooled detectives, doctors, teachers, a judge and a 12 person jury – it was quite simple.
Her family wasn”t aware she was already sexually active, explaining the trauma doctors would find to back up her rape claims, and she never waivered from her accusations against her father. She stuck to her story and repeatedly gave detailed descriptions of the sexual abuse using knowledge from her previous sexual encounters.
After battling drug addiction for years, Cassandra Kennedy has been staying at Mountain Ministries, a Christian addiction treatment center. This may have played a significant role in her coming forward to admit she lied.
“I just want him to be out and freed,” Cassandra said to detectives. Then, she explained, “I will be free on the inside.”
It’s stories like this that always keep me from rushing to judgement regarding people who make the news because of child sex abuse allegations — or any allegations where this isn’t an admission of guilt or 100% irrevocable proof the person committed the crime.Tags: Cassandra Kennedy, Crime, Incest, Rape, Thomas Kennedy, Washington