Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Story of US daughter who sent her own father to prison for 40 years after lying that he raped her pleads for his release

A woman whose father went to prison when she told police he Molested her as a nine-year-old has said she made up the story to avoid being beaten by her mother. Chaneya Kelly, 24, of Newburgh in upstate New York, is pleading for her father's release nearly 16 years after she accused him of molesting her in 1997. Ms Kelly, who says her mother - then addicted to drugs and alcohol - forced her to make the claim, has said: 'I'm 24-years-old and I made this mistake when I was nine-years-old - but it's never too late to try and right your wrong.' Her father Daryl Kelly, a Navy veteran who ran an electronics repair shop in Newburgh, was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison and barred from any contact with his children after being convicted by a jury of multiple counts of molestation and serious intimate assault. Kelly, who has always maintained his innocence, had never been convicted of a felony before.
All I think is, one day the truth will set me free. All I have to do is hold on,' Kelly told NBC News from the Green Haven Correctional Facility. In October 1997, while Kelly was living with his wife Charade and their five children in Newburgh, he says he was attempting to rid himself of a drug habit in order to take better care of his family. But he said his wife's own drug habit had spiralled to the point where she turned to prostitution in order to feed her addiction.

Chaneya, the Kellys' eldest child, says that one morning before school her mother asked her whether her father had ever 'touched' her. 'I was like, "What do you mean, did he touch me?" And she was like, "Did he touch you in your no-no spot?" And I would repeatedly say no,' the now 24-year-old said. According to Ms Kelly her mother threatened to beat her if she did not 'tell me the answer that I want to hear'.
She said she told her mother her father had molested her to avoid being beaten, even though it wasn't true. Kelly was taken in for questioning on October 29 1997. There was no definitive forensic evidence to prove Chaneya had been Molested, but the little girl and her mother's story - together with some suspect answers Kelly provided during questioning - were enough for officers to charge the father of five. He refused a plea deal that would have made him eligible for parole in six years, and within a year was sentenced to up to 40 years following a trial by jury. His daughter was sent to live with her grandmother, a Pentecostal minister, and six months later Chaneya told her grandmother her father had never Molested her. Pat Thomas took her granddaughter to Kelly's attorney who videotaped the child's recantation. Her mother, Charade, also submitted a sworn affadavit to the court which said she threatened to beat her daughter until she said her father Molested her. A judge refused to vacate Kelly's conviction, deciding the recantation appeared forced. Kelly, who remains in jail to this day, began studying law and has filed multiple appeals. His daughter visited him in prison when she persuaded the courts to allow her to have contact with him at the age of 15.
The first thing my dad did was that he hugged me and he told me that he loved me and... that he doesn’t blame me for anything,' she said.
Chaneya's mother has said she is now drug-free and confirms her daughter's story, blaming a drug binge for her threats.

Frank Phillips, the Orange County District Attorney and chief prosecutor when Daryl Kelly stood trial, has emphasised that Kelly was found guilty by a jury. He said in an interview it was 'not unique' for the victim of a intimate crime to want to protect the abuser by withdrawing their accusation. Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick is leading a re-investigation into the Kelly case. His office and the detective behind the original police investigation in Newburgh both declined to comment.

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