Mark Cleary, 46, of Michigan was convicted 16 years ago of raping his daughter, Rachael, when she was 6. Now he is being released from prison “because Rachael said she had made it all up,” reports the Detroit Free Press. Cleary says he was the victim of a witch-hunt, based on the uncorroborated testimony of a little girl who got in trouble. “I’m missing 16 years of my life for something I didn’t do and I don’t think I could ever be repaid for it,” he said.
The Free Press recounts the story of how the wrongful conviction occurred. Against the advice of his lawyer, Mark took the stand during his trial. “I don’t know where Rachael gets her stories from,” he testified. “I don’t know if she has been molested by somebody else, but I know I didn’t do it.” The prosecutor, Kathleen Beard, told jurors that the details reported by the child would not be expected “unless she actually had been there and experienced this type of behavior.”