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Greg Kelley’s life has not been simple. As a teenager, his high school football hero status and promising future quickly evaporated when he was falsely accused of being a child molester.
After he was convicted, a crowd of supporters surrounded him but a cloud of uncertainty about his future continued to follow as shown in a new docuseries about the flawed case against him — and his eventual freedom.
In 2012, Kelley had moved into his friend Johnathan McCarty’s home — which also served as an in-home daycare facility — when his own parents fell ill. At the time, he was a popular football star for Leander High School in Cedar Park who received a scholarship in June of 2013 to play football at University of Texas at San Antonio. He was just a junior at that point.
But, when one of the children at the McCarty daycare accused Kelley of molestation, his college football dreams — as well as his entire life — fell apart.
That summer, a 4-year-old boy who attended the McCarty daycare accused Kelley of molesting him. A second boy also came forward but later recanted his accusation against Kelley. Jake Brydon, who led the movement to get Kelley exonerated, told Oxygen.com that the prosecutor's office offered Kelley 10 years of probation with no jail time but he refused to take the deal, proclaiming innocence.
“If you’re that sure he did it you’ll give him no jail time, but if he is that adamant about not pleading guilty, you’ll give him a 25 year sentence?" Brydon said.
Kelley fought the charges but was convicted in 2014 of two counts of super aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
As Showtime’s new docuseries “Outcry” shows, many in the community had their doubts about Kelley’s guilt despite his conviction. Kelley's then-girlfriend and current wife Gaebri Anderson Kelley noted that McCarty was the first person to come to mind when she heard about the accusations. Kelley's other defenders pointed out that both the high schooler's original lawyer and the prosecution made missteps by not looking at all the evidence — including neglecting to interview McCarty, who happened to look just like Kelley.
As "Outcry" points out, McCarty's initial lawyer was close friends with the McCarty family and she declined to look at him as a potential subject. Furthermore, an investigator used questionable tactics to interview the children. In the docuseries, child testimony expert Dr. Kamala London points out that investigators' interviewing techniques were flawed: the kids were asked leading questions. Kelley’s supporters rallied to show their support of the convicted teen, and to point out the apparent holes in the case.
And after Shawn Dick took office in 2016 and became the Williamson County district attorney, even the prosecutor's office sided with Kelley and his supporters. Dick stated publicly in 2017 that his office had failed Kelley, The Austin American-Statesman reported that year.
Kelley's case "clearly was the perfect storm of all aspects of the criminal justice system failing," Dick told Oxygen.com. He contended the police did a "truly deficient" job, claimed that Kelley's initial defense attorney "had a conflict of interest," argued that the prosecution "had blinders on," and said the jurors didn't all go with their gut.
Dick said he would not have even tried Kelley if he was in office at the time, noting that there was not enough evidence to prosecute in his view. He told Oxygen.com that the prosecutors' office didn't get "any legal blame in any of this," which he said was unfair. "They just excluded any other possible theories about what else could have happened," Dick said of his predecessors.
"Trying to go recreate a case involving small children years later, memories fade, change and it’s just almost impossible to go back and actually do justice in that case," he continued, explaining how a flawed prosecution can rob victims of true justice.
There has not been another arrest in connection with Kelley's case specifically, though McCarty has been arrested — and later convicted — for other sex crimes.
A judge recommended to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that Kelley’s conviction be vacated in 2017 after a long and difficult battle from Kelley's supporters, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Kelley's conviction was vacated in November 2019.
Where is Greg Kelley now?
As “Outcry” shows, Kelley moved to New York City with his longtime high school sweetheart turned wife Gaebri, who supported him throughout the whole ordeal, before his conviction was officially vacated while she attended the Broadway Dance Center. He had proposed to her in 2017 just a day after a Texas judge ordered to vacate his conviction, KXAN reported at the time. The couple married in January 2019.
Brydon told Oxygen.com that the Kelleys have since moved back to the Cedar Park area following their wedding. He said he has given Kelley some office space on his property for Kelley's new endeavor — a company called Tomahawk Targets, which makes custom axe throwing boards and corn hole sets.
"He’s a young inspiring entrepreneur," Brydon told Oxygen.com. "He’s doing very well. He’s living the American dream. He’s a productive member of society."
Kelley is also continuing with his education. He's currently enrolled as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, KVUE reports.
Will he ever get to play football again? He's determined to.
Kelley participated in a walk-on tryout for his school's football team in the spring, Texas Athletics officials told KVUE.
"Greg has been training with the NFL athletes and waiting for the opportunity to play for UT," Gaebri tweeted on Thursday. "He is a student there and ready to take the field. He tried out and is still waiting on a decision from the coaches."
Additionally, Kelley is looking for reparations for the injustice he experienced. He filed a lawsuit against Cedar Park earlier this year for his wrongful conviction, the Statesman reported in March.
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