Man freed after spending 29 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit

FAN Editor

A man walked free on Monday after spending nearly three decades behind bars for a rape he didn’t commit. 

Patrick Brown was convicted in 1994 of raping his then 6-year-old stepdaughter, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office in Louisiana said. The sexual assault survivor did not testify at Brown’s trial and, beginning in 2002, she repeatedly asked for the case to be reviewed, insisting Brown wasn’t her attacker, the district attorney’s office said.

But the case was not investigated again until recent years.

“It is incredibly disheartening to know that this woman was dismissed and ignored, no matter how inconvenient her truth, when all she wanted was the real offender to be held responsible,” Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams said in a statement Monday. “When someone is wrongfully convicted, not only is it an injustice for the person who has years of their life stolen, but it is an injustice for the victim and the people of New Orleans because the real perpetrator is left to harm others.”

Williams said that the office’s civil rights division “conducted a thorough investigation and the evidence corroborated the victim’s account, which has remained steadfast for over 20 years.” Williams did not provide details on the exonerating evidence. 

The office asked the court to vacate Brown’s conviction and Judge Calvin Johnson presided over a hearing Monday, after which Brown was released.

Civil Rights Division Chief Emily Maw said she hoped Monday’s news brought some closure to both Brown and his stepdaughter.

“This victim has endured not just the deep trauma of child sexual assault, but the trauma of knowing the wrong man has been imprisoned for almost three decades while the man who raped her walked free,” Maw said in a press release. “This is a very sad case, but we are hopeful that this will bring some closure to the victim and that she, and Mr. Brown, can move forward in healing.”

Prosecutors have not shared details regarding the man the woman says raped her as a child. CBS News has reached out to the district attorney’s office for additional details.  

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