After a Texas high school football star was wrongfully convicted of being a child molester, public shame was cast upon those who helped convict him.
The conduct of law enforcement, prosecutors, the jury, and even the high schooler's original attorney all received their fair share of blame.
Leander High student Greg Kelley was arrested in 2013 after a boy claimed he had molested him while Kelley was living at his lookalike friend Johnathan McCarty’s home — which also served as an in-home daycare facility. Kelley fought the allegations but was convicted in 2014 of two counts of super aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
McCarty, who was initially dismissed as a suspect and not charged, would go on to be accused in a number of similar sex crimes.
While it initially seemed like the end of the road for the football star, Showtime's new docuseries “Outcry” goes on to show how Kelley found justice in his case. Not only was Kelley’s conviction overturned in 2019, but the sitting district attorney publicly expressed disgust over how his case was handled at all levels — beginning with the Cedar Park Police Department.
Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick told Oxygen.com that the police did a "truly deficient" job of investigating the allegations as they neglected to look into other suspects, including McCarty.
The lead investigator on the case was Cedar Park Police Officer Chris Dailey, who was widely criticized for seemingly feeding leading questions to the child victims. In an interview with a second child accuser — included in “Outcry” — Dailey enters the interview room in full police gear and seemingly pushed the boy to admit to abuse after he denied that anything happened.
This second boy later recanted his accusation against Kelley.
“Outcry” also examined Texas Ranger Cody Mitchell's role in the case. Kelley's supporters initially thought he was on their side; he even publicly hugged Kelley's distraught mother after he was asked by Dick to review the case in 2017. He took to the stand in August of that year, as Kelley’s lawyers tried to convince a judge that Kelley was wrongfully convicted, to rip into local police's investigation of the case, the Austin-American Statesmen reported at the time. He too decided that Kelley's investigation was weak, and he said that Kelley was denied due process, according to a lawsuit against Cedar Park brought forward by Kelley, the Glen Rose Reporter reported in May. He testified that Cedar Park police fabricated the dates of the assault in order to turn Kelley into a better suspect, according to the outlet.
"I would be scared to death that I could end up in the same position with no evidence whatsoever and no investigation done and be convicted of something I may or may not have done," Mitchell said on the stand, according to WFAA.
However, his support of the football star only stretched so far. During that hearing, Mitchell also stated that he believed Kelley couldn’t have been ruled out as a suspect. Then, later that month, Mitchelle filed court documents in which he called Kelley “dishonest” and “evasive." In them, he claimed Kelley had developed an unusual interest in porn around the same time of the molestation claims, CBS Austin reported in 2017. Kelley's defense argued that sure, Kelley did look at porn but the more deviant sites came from porn site cookies and not his actual searches.
What happened to the officials involved in Kelley's case?
Just last week, Dailey resigned from his post. City of Cedar Park spokesperson Jennie Huerta told Oxygen.com previously that Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale and City Council member Mike Guevara “sent a letter and a criminal complaint to Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick seeking an investigation into Officer Dailey’s alleged misconduct.”
Former Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix, who oversaw the department during Kelley’s investigation, was also criticized over the years by Kelley's supporters. He retired this past January, a decision he partially attributed to treatment for an unspecified cancer, KVUE reported. However, he was nearly set to take another top cop position this summer.
After making a finalist list along with three other candidates, Mannix was set to become the Burnet Police Department's new police chief on Monday this week, according to KVUE. However, he withdrew his acceptance citing a personal decision before he was sworn in.
Kelley supporters had planned to protest outside of the police department and Kelley himself planned to protest.
"It's completely unacceptable and it's despicable to think that this man can continue to wear a badge and we're going to make sure that we let our voices be heard and we are going to continue to fight to make sure that this man never wears a badge again," Kelley said in a video posted on the Greg Kelley Foundation's Facebook page.
"GOOD JOB #FIGHTERS!" the Greg Kelley Foundation posted on Facebook, following Mannix's withdrawal from the position.
Mannix is one of the defendants in Kelley’s ongoing lawsuit, which alleges that the former chief was ultimately responsible for Dailey's police training and conduct — "all of which he failed,” KXAN reported.
As for Mitchell, he is still a Texas Ranger who works for the agency's Protection of Children Program, which he helped found in 2010.
"His training and investigative experience have made Ranger Mitchell a subject matter expert for the Texas Rangers for cases involving crimes committed against children and crimes involving deviant sexual offenders," the Texas Rangers' Facebook page noted last year. "Ranger Mitchell has spent a large portion of his career concentrating on the motivations and behaviours of at risk children as well as the motivations and techniques used by those who offend against them."
Mitchell declined Oxygen.com's request for an interview or comment.
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