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Texas high school football star Greg Kelley and Jonathan McCarty weren’t just close friends; they also lived together for a while and even looked alike.
Those facts became points of contention when Kelley, at 17 years old, was wrongly pinpointed as a child molester — and McCarty was overlooked as a potential suspect.
Showtime’s new five-part docuseries “Outcry” examines Kelley's wrongful conviction for child sexual abuse, and spends a fair portion on the close bond he shared with McCarty. Both played football for Leander High School. Kelley even referred to McCarty, one year his junior, as his “little brother,” Kelley’s mom, Rosa Kelley, said in the docuseries. The pair looked so much alike, in fact, that they could've been twins.
And for a while, they actually were like brothers. When Kelley’s parents fell ill in 2012, McCarty’s family offered to take Kelley into their home, out of which they also ran a daycare center.
During the summer of 2013, all appeared to be going well for high school junior. By June, Kelley had received a scholarship offer to play football at University of Texas at San Antonio. But soon his his college football dreams — and his entire life — fell apart.
That summer, a 4-year-old boy who attended the McCarty's daycare accused Kelley of molesting him. A second boy also came forward, but later recanted his accusation against Kelley. The McCarty family helped arrange a lawyer for Kelley and much of the community rallied to support the popular student, who maintained his innocence. Despite that, Kelley was convicted of two counts of super aggravated sexual assault in 2014 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
As “Outcry” noted, Kelley’s lawyer and prosecutors failed to investigate Johnathan McCarty, Kelley's lookalike. Not only did evidence show that Kelley wasn't even present at the home when the abuse took place, but it also indicated McCarty was. The initial victim, in addition to talking about Kelley, also spoke of McCarty by name.
As questions swirled around the the case, even after Kelley's conviction, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick — who was elected after Kelley was sent to prison — stated publicly in 2017 that his office had failed Kelley. Dick said he wouldn't have even tried Kelley, noting there wasn't enough evidence. He expressed disgust that McCarty wasn't even interviewed initially, despite his resemblance to Kelley and his presence in the home where the assault occurred.
Authorities ultimately reopened the case in 2017 after uncovering evidence that pointed to McCarty as the "alternative suspect," KVUE reported at the time. Two years later, Kelley’s conviction was officially overturned and vacated, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.
By 2017, McCarty was serving time for drug charges. When he was arrested for said drug charges, investigators said they found child porn on his phone.
Where Is Johnathan McCarty Now?
In 2017, McCarty was arrested on drug charges. During that arrest, investigators allegedly found child porn on his phone and home computer, according to documents cited by KVUE. That's what led authorities to examine him as a possible suspect in the Kelley case, though he was never officially charged.
He does have a documented criminal history, however. A woman came forward in 2018 to claim that McCarty had drugged and sexually assaulted her at a frat party in 2015 when he was 18 and she was 15, according to KXAN. During the course of that investigation, authorities learned he'd been accused of sexual assault by women in four different Texas counties.
McCarty ended up pleading guilty to unlawful restraint and drug charges last year in connection to frat party assault allegation, KXAN reported. He was sentenced to four years in prison, though he's currently out on bond pending an appeal of his case, KVUE reported last year.
McCarty will likely never face charges in the Kelley case due to a lack of evidence, Fox7 reported in 2017. Dick told the outlet that unless McCarty confessed or “extraordinary evidence” was brought forward, “I don't see it possible for us to try Jonathan McCarty for this offense.”
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