I am 32.

When I was 25 I was accused by the daughter of a family friend, who was 14 at the time, of sexual assault. She was profoundly disturbed (had been in and out of mental health facilities for years) and made up a story in which I came over to her house while her parents were out, got her drunk and high and raped her repeatedly. She told her parents this story and her mother believed her, her father had his doubts.

I was arrested and the trial came down to her word versus mine. My "alibi" was viewed as suspect (I was at home and lived alone at the time). The DA was running for mayor at the time and wanted to appear "tough on crime." I was offered a deal where I would serve no time but I refused, so they went for jail time.

I served 3 years in protective custody. For 2 years I was on the sex offender registry. Last year the girl, now in her 20's, confessed to making up the whole story.

I sued her and her family and received a six-figure settlement. I cannot sue the cops or DA under state law (unless I can prove collusion).

My life was destroyed. I lost my job, my career (I'm a teacher) my fiance, my family abandoned me. I live in another state, changed my name and literally speak to no one I knew in the first 30 years of my life.


** EDIT: It's 11pm CST and I'm going to log off for a couple hours. I will try to reply to every question. Thank you all for your kind words and support and thoughtful suggestions. A few notes **

  • Yes, I sued the family of the accuser. I have no interested in suing anyone else. It's a horrible process and I'd rather never see another courtroom as long as I live.

  • Please don't call her a "bitch" or any other derogatory words. I don't have hate in my heart.

  • Thank you again.

** Edit 2: Hey, it's 1:15 CST and I'm headed to bed. Lots of reposted questions, please check upthread if I didn't get to you. Thank you all for being so welcoming and letting me talk a bit. Today is the 7 year anniversary of my arrest and I spent it talking about it with the good and decent for of Reddit. Thanks everyone. **

Comments: 1723 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

Mellowde367 karma

Damn, this is seriously one of the most depressing AMA's I've ever read. I'm really sorry man, I hope something great comes into your life to balance out this awful experience. Thoughts go out to you man.

wronglyconnd143 karma

Thank you.

wewaysawin236 karma

how do you feel about the phrase "innocent until proven guilty?

wronglyconnd327 karma

Truer words, rarely spoken.

zau6498 karma

They seemed to treat you more like "guilty until proven innocent." And from other posts you said your attorney was useless. Do you think that your attorney thought you were guilty?

wronglyconnd165 karma

Actually, yes.

He was older, had been a prosecutor and then became a public defender (which I learned later is a very odd career move for a lawyer) and he seemed almost dis-interested in my case.

zau6453 karma

Wow, that is terrible! Did you try requesting a new lawyer? If so, what grounds did they provide, if any, to not give you one?
Somewhat off topic: I am considering pursuing a career as a school teacher, but I see more and more cases like yours every day and it kind of makes the idea stressful.

wronglyconnd209 karma

I did not request a new lawyer, honestly I was barely holding it together and praying that someone would see how insane this was and make it stop.

Being a teacher had nothing to do with this. It made for lurid headlines, but I was a highly valued teacher. My school and union abandoned me INSTANTLY. The lesson for you is this, do not believe anything the unions or school districts tell you about "having your back" They are terrified of getting sued and bad press, they will work together to drop you like a hot rock.

[deleted]87 karma

I am a 30 year old male in my third year of teaching and I'm scared to fucking death of this. I keep my door open ALL the time. This kind of thing makes want to get out now.

wronglyconnd116 karma

Seriously, don't drop your guard.

I know that's awful but people are so fucking crazy about pedos that one raised eyebrow and your career is over. It's so very stupid.

smarterthanyoda148 karma

What was the legal grounds you had to sue the family? From what I've seen, the parents usually say, "I was just believing my kid. It's not my fault." What did the parents do that was illegal?

wronglyconnd312 karma

They knew about her confession to the therapist and didn't report it. Sued under emotional damages. They settled out of court for a lump sum. They wanted it over.

brotato75231 karma

what the fuck, how is that even possible...why would they stand by their sick daughter when they know her lie will ruin a man's life

wronglyconnd291 karma

I wish I knew.

ButtonFury180 karma

Is the therapist the one that turned the girl in?

wronglyconnd223 karma


masterlich61 karma

Wow, what possible reason could they have had for not reporting it? What did they gain from you going to jail for something you didn't do? That makes absolutely no sense, that just seems callous to the point of evil.

wronglyconnd82 karma

The mother believed it. I think her dad got scared. It was a big big local story (lots of lurid details, so the local news went apeshit) and I think they just got caught up in the crazy.

nullCaput26 karma

when this all first transpired what was it like watching the news or reading the paper? sounds like you got the tabloid journalism/action media treatment.

wronglyconnd89 karma

It was like being in a really shitty movie. The media made me out to be a monster. The one prior I had was for shoplifting soda when I was 19 and trying to impress some friends (dumb). The local news had "sex offender expert" who said that this was a "warning sign".

I watch comedies on tv now and read get my news from The Guardian and Reddit.

sje4656 karma

I've never seen anybody considered a "sex offender expert" say anything which approaches reality. These people made nearly every parent in the US fear pedophiles in every bush.

wronglyconnd33 karma

Amen brother.

0firefly045 karma

How long after the initial accusation was this confession to the therapist?

wronglyconnd55 karma

Almost 5 years.

Brows111 karma

I served 3 years in protective custody

What does this exactly mean?

And I'm sorry, this is a awful story.

wronglyconnd220 karma

22 hours a day I was in my cell, alone. Took my meals in my cell, had a small radio and some books. No contact with other inmates. Pedophiles, especially high profile ones, have the life expectancy of a fruitfly in jail.

1 hour of exercise, 1 hour supervised library/visitor time.

Exercise was walking around a walled in courtyard with a basketball and a dodgeball to play with. No hoop, no net.

HeikkiKovalainen124 karma

This is a serious question, how did you keep your sanity? I'm a bit of a book person but I don't think I'd be able to live without being able to do anything else for the majority of my day.

wronglyconnd410 karma

I got in shape. I as kind of a fat-ass before, so I started doing tai chi chuan. I got my MA in education, learned Spanish, wrote a really extensive journal. I made a project every day, every week, every month, every six months, every year (Tolstoy's advice) and kept plugging away.

One of the guards became a friend. He and I would talk during exercise periods. He used to joke that I was Andy Durfresne and that they should check my cell for a rock hammer. Took that as a compliment.

HeikkiKovalainen119 karma

That's really awesome! You are truly an inspiration and an asset in the classroom.

Could you give us some examples of the projects you undertook? Also I expect you relate a lot to Andy, what are your thoughts on the movie before and after this conviction?

wronglyconnd175 karma

That movie is HUGE in prison. I know I love it.

I relate because I never gave up. I was innocent, I knew it, and I would not let that be taken from me.

I learned Spanish (using Rosetta Stone software and the computer in the library), learned tai chia, read nearly nearly 1500 books, kept a detailed journal of all that I read, plus my life story. Learned meditation, took classes via the state college which earned me my MA in education.

BackdoorDan78 karma

publish the journal?

wronglyconnd84 karma

It's over 1000 pages long. Really rambling too.

WarmTaffy26 karma

You ever read Kerouac's journals?

wronglyconnd78 karma

Dude, I am no Kerouac. ;)

Also, I didn't have teletype paper and fistfuls of speed to go on.

alice-in-canada-land36 karma

Lol; "tai chia" - an art form perfected by the ShaoLin monks, it involves deceptively slow and gentle movements to bring forth grass from bare rock.

wronglyconnd34 karma

Cha-cha-cha Chia!

njjc118 karma

I have extreme and utmost respect for you making the best of an unspeakably horrible situation. "Adversity introduces a man to himself." I wish you all the best.

wronglyconnd63 karma

That's a great quote. Thanks.

the_onanist38 karma

Do you think the guards can tell who is innocent and who is guilty? Did you meet anyone in prison you thought was also innocent?

wronglyconnd67 karma

Didn't meet too many people. My interactions were very regimented.

I think it's pretty clear who think s they belong there and who does not, even subconsciously. I think guards can read that.

sharkiest34 karma

Do you still speak to that guard?

wronglyconnd63 karma

A letter a few months ago.

Imez109 karma

What made her confess? Do you forgive her? Did you have any chance to confront her either recently or after the accusation?

wronglyconnd218 karma

She had a therapist who she confessed it to. She also confessed to her therapist back during the trial, but that therapist didn't come forward.

I have a restraining order against her in that state. After my exhonoration she tried to contact me several times and left increasingly bizarre voicemails.

gmanp108 karma

Is there any recourse against the therapist that knew the truth but let you spend three years in jail?

wronglyconnd133 karma

Not really. The law gets murky and it could cost me way more than I'd ever recover. Not worth it.

Imez69 karma

What were the voicemails like?

wronglyconnd191 karma

Rambling. She apologized, begged me to forgive her. Asked me to promise to tell god I loved her when I died. That's when I got scared and went to court.

[deleted]14 karma

Can you sue the Therapist?

wronglyconnd23 karma

Not worth it, financially.

skyqween74 karma

Did the money make things feel worth it?

How many of your friends believed you? Family? Does anyone who knows you now know about your past and the accusations?

wronglyconnd227 karma

No. It's a stunningly small amount (they're not rich people and they had to sell their house to pay the judgement) and considering what I traded...no.

My mother died when I was a teenager, my father was ashamed and after paying my bail told me to not contact him again. He's deeply religious and remarried after my mom died to a woman with whom he has "built a new family". He viewed what was happening to me as a "threat."

My extended family was fairly small and the girl's story was lurid and violent (at one point i was charged with "forcible sodomy" for supposedly using a candlestick on her) so they were repulsed. Friends just ran in terror. Most of my friends were teachers, again I was seen as a threat, a leper.

My GF now knows. She's a cop and fucking wonderful. No one else knows.

skyqween65 karma

What happened with your at the time fiancée?

wronglyconnd194 karma

She stuck with me through the trial. I went right to jail from my sentencing and she sent me a letter that arrived at my cell just a day or so after I did.

She didn't believe the accusation, but she couldn't bear the thought of being the "wife of a convict". Yeah, fuck her.

skyqween35 karma

Wow.... Shitty. Really shitty.

What do you do now? Is there still a record or anything that isn't supposed to exist but does?

wronglyconnd145 karma

I'm still a teacher actually. My record was expunged in the state where this occurred. It got a bit of media coverage too.

REInvestor59 karma

Have you alerted the people from you previous life what has happened? Just a letter or something to try to clear your name?

Thanks for a very interesting AMA, and I am wicked sorry you had to go through this.

wronglyconnd114 karma

It was a big local story, they all know.

Thanks, I'm glad people find it interesting. I'm wriitng responses while watching NBC comedies and eating pizza rolls (I'm off tomorrow and the GF is out of town, I'm not a forever alone) and finding this oddly theraputic.

uptoolate71265 karma

I'm a male who hopes to one day become a teacher, so these kind of stories kind of scare me. Looking back, do you think there is anything you could have done to prevent this, or handled it differently so it didn't spin out of control? Or were you really helpless in the situation?

wronglyconnd135 karma

Don't be scared of kids. I never touched this girl (really, she freaked out if anyone but her parents touched her, and even then she would hit them from time to time) and was never alone with her. Be mindful of being alone with kids and document any incidents fully. If anything bad comes up, get a good lawyer and don't trust your school or union to help you.

I love teaching, but I teach adults now. I don't like being around kids anymore. I was a HS teacher, and a fucking good one (Golden Apple scholarships, Teacher of the Year state awards 2 years running) but I just can't take the chance. I don't trust kids anymore.

[deleted]52 karma

Have you contacted your family to let them know the truth came out?

wronglyconnd138 karma

It was all over the local papers. My father and I talked once, but the damage he did by walking away...too much damage done, that relationship is just dead.

He "congratulated" me too. Fucking weird.

TimmyFTW51 karma

Can you remember roughly how the conversation went?

wronglyconnd132 karma

I called him, asked if he'd see the news (this was a month after the story broke) he said he did. He "wanted to call" but his wife thought it best to "let me find my own way".

She's a big born-again. Very much into the Gospel of Wealth.

He congratulated me. At that point I said I had to go. That door is closed.

[deleted]38 karma

I'm sorry to hear that your dad gave up on you in regards to this. I would have never given up on my son if I had one, and especially not after going through what you have. I hope one day he realizes his grave error.

wronglyconnd50 karma

I hope so. But I doubt it.

finder9046 karma

I had an aunt (she died a few years back). I always hated her even when I was little and I didn't know why. As I got older I realized everyone else in my family hated her too. It wasn't until after she died that I found out what a truly terrible person she was. One of the many many horrible things she did was very similar to this.

My grandparents and their next door neighbors were best friends. My aunt was about 14 and the neighbor's son was about 25 just like you. My grandparents and the neighbors went out on NYE leaving the neighbor's son to watch my aunt and the other kids. My aunt had CONSENSUAL sex with him, got pregnant, didn't want to explain what she did, wanted an abortion, and so she told everyone that he raped her.

No charges were brought against this guy, but his life was utterly ruined. No one believed him. He had to move away and basically start a whole new life. No one knows what happened to him. She did a lot of awful things, but this was truly one of the most despicable. She never admitted it and no one ever found out she was lying about it until after she was dead when my other aunt (her sister) told people that she knew the truth.

I can't even understand it. No one really seemed to react. No one was like "OH MY GOD we believed our lying bitch of a daughter (who we knew to be a lying bitch) and ruined the life of, not only some random guy, but the son of our best friends". It blows my mind. Rape is disgusting, but accusing someone falsely of doing it is equally disgusting. I'm glad you proved your innocence, but as you know, that doesn't really change anything. I'm so sorry dude.

wronglyconnd69 karma

Rape is disgusting, but accusing someone falsely of doing it is equally disgusting.


Thanks for sharing that story. Kind of interesting to know I'm not alone in this.

[deleted]43 karma

the big question for me is, why did she do this? you've said she's disturbed, but that doesn't explain why she picked you.

what was going on at the time? did you blow her off in some way?

wronglyconnd75 karma

I was close to her Dad (we grew up together) and I was like a big brother to her. I was always over at their place, my friend was a few years older than me and owned a nice big house. I had keys to the place (something the DA POUNCED on again and again) as well.

She and I were friends. I never babysat for her or anything, but I'd been alone with her before (again, the DA went right for that) and we got on well.

She was always making up crazy stories. One time she said the house had been robbed. She threw away a tv and a bunch of electronics to make it look like it happened. This was just another story to her.

TimmyFTW34 karma

Have you thought about contacting the DA who prosecuted you? If not just to see if they have any comment on what happened?

wronglyconnd104 karma

I wrote him a letter and it ran in our city paper. He was running for mayor (lost) and was not longer DA but in private practice. He never responded. Fuck him.

TimmyFTW26 karma

Without any direct quotes from the letter as that might get you found out in a google search, what was the general message in the letter?

(please let me know if I am asking too many questions)

wronglyconnd116 karma

I found out his salary as DA and his salary at his new firm. I quoted it an compared it to what I was paid by the state and what I got from the girl's family, plus what I would have earned as a teacher. He made more in six months than I did in all that.

I also pointed out that he spent several times as much on his (failed) election bid.

IkLms40 karma

Was there any evidence of anything happening to her at all or was it really just a "he said, she said" issue?

I find it really disturbing that someone can be convicted as a sex offender without any evidence just because they can't prove where they were at the time.

wronglyconnd69 karma

She had bruises, but she almost always did from her own self-abuse (cutting, throwing herself down stairs). She claimed I wore gloves and a condom. She also claimed I used household obects on her. She actually did...insert things in herself. A candle, a candlestick, a broom handle.

SuperHappyHaikuGuy103 karma

Framed in the bedroom
With gloves and a candlestick?
A bad game of Clue.

(Sorry - that was *wrong. It was my very first thought. And not a nice one*)

wronglyconnd72 karma

Oof. That's pretty cold man.

ramblinwreck4539 karma

I read your post in one of the above threads and I am curious about your relationship with the guard, as well as your other experiences in jail. What was your relationship with him like? Although you knew you were fully innocent, it seemed like you lost most of your relationships outside of prison due to the accusations. What was it like being in that situation? What was the other offer given to you that didn't involve going to jail?

wronglyconnd177 karma

He was a nice guy. He asked me day one "Did you fuck her?" and I said no. He believed me. "Most of these fucks are shitty liars." He's a decent guy, sent me a letter about six months ago, I've invited him to visit, I doubt he will just cause it might be kind of weird for him. He was decent, funny and a nice guy.

The deal was I plead guilty, make a full confession, pay a huge fine, get something like 1000 hours of community service, live in a half-way house for sex offenders for six months, and live on the registry for life.

I couldn't confess to something I didn't do. Simple as that.

AnnArchist34 karma

Did they ever pay the settlement?

wronglyconnd49 karma


TimmyFTW34 karma

Did anything prompt the girl to admit she made it up?

wronglyconnd123 karma

It was a new therapist.One with a conscience.

princessmonkey33 karma

have you seen "capturing the friedmans"? i recently watched this and was completely torn by the outcome. im sorry this happened to you, im glad you have started living again and i hope for the best. (having an understanding SO must be a relief for you, i wish you 2 the best)

wronglyconnd121 karma

I have seen that, very weird flick.

She's amazing. I told her everything on our second date (we'd been friends for months) and she laughed actually. One of her fellow officers had run a background check on me and given her the whole story when I'd asked her out. Kind of creepy, but cops are really protective of female officers.

We've been together a year this march.

[deleted]66 karma

She's a keeper. Have a good rest of your life man. Hopefully life doesn't shit on you anymore.

wronglyconnd119 karma

I take it a day at a time, not unlike an addict. Funny thing, I've never smoked, drank or taken a drug in my life. Still, one day at a time.

togenshi30 karma

Did you talk during the interrogation?

wronglyconnd80 karma

No. I asked for an attorney. The cops screamed at me, called me a faggot and baby raper over and over and over. One of them said I was going to get "fucked with a knife" in jail.

tsgmob26 karma

Why did her dad not help you out at all? It seems like he was at fault just as much as she was, since you implied that he knew the truth.

wronglyconnd66 karma

Going against your daughter, your wife and all that societal conditioning that tells us to completely trust kids and that pedo are hiding around every corner.

TimmyFTW25 karma

You can probably tell by now I am just captivated by this story. Have you had much dialog with her father since? You said you sued the family so maybe there was a transaction of words there?

wronglyconnd79 karma

Saw him once at a deposition, he didn't even look me in the eye.

I will admit, I drilling my eyes into him. One thing I learned in prison, eye contact scares people. The few times I was around other prisoners you could tell the guys who were truly in charge because they could stare a hole in a wall. I don't look away from people when I talk, I have to remember to take it down a notch, lest it freak people out.

I wanted to make him uncomfortable. It's about as close to revenge as I will get.

Keido21 karma

Did her parents find out about her confession to the therapist before or after your trial?

And how did you find out?

wronglyconnd82 karma


Her new therapist went to the police and the DA as well as the legal aid firm that got me out. She is a wonderful, wonderful woman.

AlexHimself29 karma

Do you stay in contact with the therapist who turned her in?

wronglyconnd77 karma

Yes. I told her she's coming to my wedding.

WillieR25 karma

Is there anyone in your past that you miss talking to?

wronglyconnd80 karma

I missed my fiance. We'd been friends since high school, dated for 4 years. But her cutting me off the way she did, that was just fucking cold.

I miss my Dad actually. Y'know the boss on "Parks and Recreation"? Ron Swanson? That's my dad. Totally masculine, really old school tough. Taught me how to fish, hunt, woodworking, camping. He was a great manly influence. Then my mom died, and he was adrift. He wanted to start over with the new wife, and by then I was in college. When this shit went down I think it gave him permission to just reboot.

I do miss him.

eyeWired18 karma

Have none of these people tried to apologize after the conviction was overturned? I mean...I can't imagine my dad disowning me, finding out I was falsely accused and then just continuing to ignore me. I mean your former fiance just has no desire to even apologize?

Did none of them believe you? Man...so sorry. :-(

wronglyconnd32 karma

A couple friends sent e-mails. Kind of hollow after 5 years. I'm not one for nostalgia, we all gotta move on.

hallbuzz25 karma

Do you have a link to a news article about your case?

wronglyconnd50 karma

I'd rather not. I'd happily verify to a mod if that's an issue. I'm not trolling. Which I guess a troll would say. I've been on reddit a year, this is a throwaway account, obviously.

angelozdark21 karma

Well, you do have Reddit in your life ! Oh wait...

wronglyconnd144 karma

Solitary confinement=Forever...Alone?

(Can't believe I can make that joke. That felt good.)

s_m_c21 karma

In hindsight, if there was one thing you could change about how you dealt with the situation, what would it be?

wronglyconnd87 karma

I would have gotten my own attorney. When I was cleared it was by a legal aid not-for-profit group. When I sued I had a proper attorney who was a profesisonal, not some half-asser. Get a good lawyer. Period.

azwethinkweizm14 karma

How do you recover from something like that? You said you changed your name but how can you apply for a teaching job when your degree says John Smith and you're Mike Jackson?

wronglyconnd34 karma

I'm taking it one day at a time.

My university registrar allowed me to change the name on my diploma. I made the legal change then requested the univerity make the change as well. They could have said no I suppose, but the circumstances were pretty clear.

[deleted]12 karma


wronglyconnd40 karma


Wrongful accusations are part of the adversarial nature of the justice system.

Better public defenders and DAs who are barred from running for office while serving would have helped.

deadlast27 karma

DAs who are not elected, period.

wronglyconnd21 karma

Yeah, that would be nice.

[deleted]10 karma


wronglyconnd25 karma

She claimed I used a condom and gloves, so no fingerprints/dna. She also had physical damage consistent with violation. Self-inflicted though.

I had a key. She was drunk and had consumed pot. My "alibi" was being home alone.

Infinity_Wasted10 karma

curious: what kind of evidence was submitted by the prosecution? wouldn't the burden of proof be on them? how can be it be allowed that you were convicted on circumstantial evidence, since you're supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty".

how do you think the Jury perceived you? I've read that both judge and jury are more likely to move to acquit especially charismatic people.. Jury perception is one reason why some legal scholars think that the idea of "Professional Jurors" sitting among the jury might not be a bad idea.

wronglyconnd20 karma

The meat of the DAs case was her story and the objects she claimed I used on her. They painted me as a teacher who betraryed a child's trust (playing on the idea that a man who wants to teach kids is suspect).

Baukelien7 karma

You say you can't sue the cops and the DA but can't you sue the state for compensation of wrongful imprisonment? It's standardized to €x/day here which isn't much but will at least leave you with something if you have been in prison for years.

wronglyconnd33 karma

I got that money as well. It's not as much as you'd think.