A record $2.59 million settlement has been awarded in Ohio to Ray Towler for serving nearly 30 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Towler will report for work this morning in a corporate Cleveland mailroom, where he plans to remain through this summer even after his money arrives in about a week. Towler, 53, who works for Medical Mutual of Ohio, says, “I don’t want this money to change who I am or what I become. I was lucky to find a job when I got out, and I’m not going to just run out on them.”
A state board approved the settlement yesterday, nearly one year after Towler was released from prison. Only a handful of the 268 men who have been exonerated nationally by DNA testing have served more time than Towler. Towler was the third man to be proved innocent in connection with a Columbus Dispatch investigation, “Test of Convictions.” Towler was serving 12 years to life for rape, felonious assault and kidnapping for a 1981 abduction. The victims, a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy, said a man lured them into the woods. DNA testing proved that semen found in the girl’s underwear was not Towler’s.