In the third case in which the Kentucky Innocence Project has gotten a conviction set aside, a judge has vacated the conviction of a man sentenced to 55 years in prison for rape and sexual abuse. Six months after Ben Kiper’s stepdaughter said she was lying when she testified against him in 2000, Judge Ronnie C. Dortch last week concluded there was no other evidence to sustain his conviction and ordered him released from prison. Kiper is expected to be set free, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The girl, who was 10 when she testified against Kiper and is now 16, said, “It makes me feel better because the weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It had haunted me for so many years.” On March 23, the Courier-Journal noted that there was no physical evidence, medical exam or testimony from corroborating witnesses presented at Kiper’s two-day trial. He was convicted solely based on the testimony of the stepdaughter. The girl recanted her allegations at a hearing Oct. 25. She said she was prompted to make the false allegations as a result of a custody dispute.