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Sex conviction overturned: Detective made up evidence, court says

11-21-2004 Kentucky:

A molestation case that sparked outrage by parents in a Central Kentucky town took a stunning turn yesterday when an appeals court threw out the conviction of a church day-care worker because police made up evidence.

In clearing Joey Dean Herndon, Kentucky's Court of Appeals heaped criticism on Richmond police Detective Ellen Alexander for building a case "on a foundation of incompetent, unreliable and even manufactured evidence."

"The investigation was supported or carried out with outright lies," Judge Wilfrid A. Schroder said. "Children were told what to say. Even though the investigation found no corroborative evidence of abuse, the matter was taken to trial where the investigating detective continued lying to mislead the jury."

Herndon was convicted in 2000 of sexually abusing a young boy who attended Lighthouse Child Care Center in Richmond and sentenced to five years, though he was released on bond pending his appeal.

The three-judge appeals panel said the case was investigated amid a backdrop of "outrage and hysteria," including protests by angry parents outside the jail where Herndon was held. ..more.. Bruce Schreiner | Associated Press

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