New York Magazine has a heartbreaking story about a father who’s stuck in prison even though his daughter has recanted the rape allegations that put him there.
Darryl Kelly of Newburgh, N.Y. has been in prison since 1998 because of a rape allegation made by his then-8-year-old daughter Chaneya. There wasn’t definitive physical evidence of rape, and Chaneya has insisted since 1999 that she made up the entire story.
Recently, both Darryl and his daughter appealed to Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reconsider his conviction. The governor, in turn, asked the state district attorney’s association to review the rape case. The results came out a few weeks ago, and they weren’t favourable to Darryl. From the article by New York Magazine’s Jennifer Gonnerman:
A few weeks ago, Phillips released their 81-page report, “Re-investigation of People v. Daryl Kelly,” signed by 10 prosecutors, including five upstate district attorneys. The prosecutors described Chaneya as a “poised, mature, bright, young woman.” But they did not believe her. As they put it, she “can neither explain why she falsely advanced such a horrible allegation, nor why she adhered to it for so long and repeated it to so many different people.”
That report raises a good question: Why would a small child concoct a story of rape and even testify that her father “stuck his penis in my vagina?” It turns out that it was Chaneya’s mother — a crack addict and prostitute — who first got the idea in her head that Darryl was abusing their daughter.
One day her mum came home, entered Chaneya’s room, and demanded to know whether she’d been in the bathroom with her father. The girl told her no, but her mother didn’t believe her. From New York Magazine:
“Did your father touch you? Did your father put his hands on you?” [the mother asked.]
Surprised and confused, Chaneya simply answered, “No.”
Her mother picked up a belt. “Did your father touch you? Tell me the truth!”
“No, no,” Chaneya kept saying. But after a few moments, seeing that her mother wasn’t appeased, Chaneya finally chose a different answer: “Yes.
It’s still not clear why her mother would want to wrongfully implicate her husband. When Chaneya was 13, she wrote a letter apologizing to him, saying, “You want the truth I’ll tell you the truth. I guess Mummy was drunk or something.”
Darryl Kelly, who’s now 54, is still serving his sentence of 20 to 40 years.
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