Washington man spent 19 yrs in jail on fake child molestation charges

Washington man spent 19 yrs in jail on fake child molestation charges
A man in Washington state was freed Thursday after serving 19 years behind bars on child molestation charges that turned out to be fake. His accuser came forward two years ago to admit she made up the accusations to receive more of her mother’s attention.

Convicted on child molestation charges back in 1995, Jerry Lee Brock has been in jail ever since. The case against him centered primarily on allegations brought forward by young Regina Rush, who was 11 years old when she said Brock – who was her mother’s friend – molested her as she slept. She originally testified against Brock in court, which led to his conviction.

Since Brock had previously suffered from “two strikes” – he had already been convicted for burglary and promoting prostitution – his “third strike” meant he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Now, however, Rush says the allegations are untrue, the Associated Press reported. In 2012, she told authorities in a six-page letter that she made everything up. Rush said the reason she did so was to get more attention from her mother, since she was concerned about Brock’s drug abuse and influence.

Two years later, Brock, now 55 years old, has been freed. A judge ordered a new trial on November 10 following Rush’s recantation,the Olympian reported.

"Ms. Rush testified that she realized just how wrong it is to make such serious false accusations," Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price wrote in his order, as quoted by the AP. "The dishonesty was eating away at her inside and she didn't want to carry that burden any longer. ... She simply wanted to clear her conscience."

According to Rush, she had been removed from her mother’s care once before due to her drug habits and accused Brock of wrongdoing in order to prevent it from happening again. While prosecutors claimed Rush may have recanted because she doesn’t believe Brock should be in jail for the rest of his life, the judge said the woman – now a 31-year-old mother – wasn’t even aware Brock was imprisoned.

"The Court concludes that Ms. Rush's recantation was not motivated by anything other than her stated desire to tell the truth," Price wrote.

READ MORE:Two wrongfully convicted New Yorkers awarded $9mn after serving 16 years in jail

With Brock now free pending another trial, prosecutors must look over the leftover evidence and decide whether or not to proceed with the case.

Although Brock is now free, he must stay in Washington state, stay away from drugs, and refrain from possessing a gun. Still, the fact that he was let go was good enough to draw a smile out of him.

"He was all smiles," said Brock's lawyer, public defender Patrick O'Connor. "His brother was there to pick him up and take him home. It was very satisfying to see."