Let’s be clear RIGHT from the start, I am an innocent man. Like 110% innocent. I know, everyone in prison says they are innocent, they say it so often and persistently that it holds no meaning, and if you really are innocent, no one believes you. But I could never commit the crime I was convicted of, nor would I want to, not in a million years. There was zero evidence against me, no evidence any crime took place, yet I’m serving a 54 year sentence. And I’m the most affable, good-natured person you could meet, incapable of harming anyone, least of all the people I love most in this world.
Basically, I fell in love and married a lesbian. We were together about nine years, had two children (two boys), and then she left me for another woman. As if that wasn’t sad enough, in what I can only imagine was a fit of male-hating hysteria, later they accused me of sexually abusing my sons. I was promptly arrested and while I lingered in county jail, my ex-wife dumped our kids off with my dad so she could take a three-month vacation with her girlfriend in Vermont.
She didn’t even take them to a hospital first, just ditched them with my dad and left town. Is that what you would do if you seriously thought your kids were molested, drop ‘em off with the father of the person you suspect and abandon them for three months? I wouldn’t wanna let them out of my sight!
I should mention that a) my wife was herself molested when she was 6-years-old and b) she had done a stint in a mental institution shortly before I met her.
Due to the total lack of evidence, the judge let me out on bail. I had a really fair, intelligent judge but tragically he retired during the two years it took for my case to go to trial. They were two of the worst years of my life, as I was unable to see or talk to my boys that whole time, which was heart wrenching.
I turned down the plea bargains I was offered. I could have easily fled the country with my valid passport but had a moronic, naive faith in the system.
Overall, I was still in the dark as to how this had happened in the first place. The detective who questioned me, informed me repeatedly that “oh, your kids were raped alright.” Jeezis. She was a cloying caricature who clearly idolized that Law and Order actress, affecting a studied imitation of her interrogation techniques.
I didn’t know what to think until I saw the safe house interviews months later. I wish the jury could have seen these tapes. I have never gotten a straight answer as to why they weren’t shown in court. I mean this was what got me arrested in the first place after all!
Any expert professional could surely have seen a lack of veracity in the footage, no psycho-trauma or terror, an occasional flash of mirth. I wish my sons could see these tapes, to see that they clearly were not victimized wrecks. Even with all the leading questions (Did anything come out of your dad’s Penis?”) there was nothing but monosyllabic, non-confirmative responses (‘No”).
Then, after several unsatisfactory responses, the interviewer turned the camera OFF. And when they resumed he got the answers he wanted, still sans elaboration (just uh-huh’s).
It all started with my 4-year old, who had a fever, wet his bed. Crawling into bed with his mom and her girlfriend one night, he purportedly told them “don’t get on me.” From that, my ex-wife suddenly knew I’d molested him.
That’s it. That one phrase put it in her brain and destroyed all of our lives.
During those months my dad spent with the boys, he and my stepmom came to the firm conclusion that I didn’t do it. For one thing, when the boys ‘disclosed’ to them, they were laughing and jumping on a bed chanting “my dad put his penis in me” like it was a joke.
The new judge did not allow them to testify to this, however. This judge also prohibited us from using the term “coached,” even though my ex and the prosecutors had two years to install a narrative into their heads. My boys claimed I “made bad choices” with them, not a term one naturally associates with children (indeed they picked it up from the girlfriend who testified that she had taught them the phrase). What else did they parrot from her? On the stand, my younger son – when asked if he’d been instructed to say these things – answered “yes.”
Despite this, and the efforts of my roommates and stepmom, the trial was a disaster. My lawyer was woefully incompetent and the prosecution brilliant at obfuscation. Trials are all about show business and have little to do with truth or reality – much like our presidential elections. It’s all about which side gives the flashier performance.
We don’t have time or space to list all the distortions perpetrated by the prosecutors but it was exasperating. If I were truly guilty, what need then for such trickery and deception? How do these people sleep at night? … swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, my ass. THEY don’t. The lack of oversight disgusts me.
I’d been charged with six counts of criminal sexual penetration, CSP. When I was arrested, I was told the crime occurred on a specific date over Memorial Day weekend. “That’s impossible, our house was packed with guests that weekend,” I said. It’s true, I was never alone with them for one second that whole weekend. The next thing I knew, the charging period was over several months with no specific time or day.
As verified by my ex-wife, I never harmed our children the whole time we lived together. Nor did I abuse them after the divorce when I lived alone in an efficiency apartment with various visitation days and ample opportunities. No, only after I moved into a home with four other occupants (a small house with thin walls, no locks on the doors and no secrets) only then did I decide to become a sexual predator.
During deliberation, the jury asked some good questions, like requesting clarification of the timeline. They were denied this timeline as the prosecutors argued they got all the info they needed during the trial, and the judge agreed (my lawyer didn’t even try to object).
It still surprises me I was indicted in the first place. The police had dug up our backyard searching for photos my 4-year old said I “buried under the strawberries.” My roommate attested that she maintained our garden and would have noticed if I’d buried anything in the strawberry patch. Needless to say, they found no child pornography anywhere on the premises (though they confiscated a hundred video tapes, but the most disturbing thing they found was a John Waters movie, “Female Trouble”).
My older son said I made bad choices with him on the rocks in our yard. We had one of those front lawns covered with rocks instead of grass, so presumably I raped him in plain sight of the street and all our neighbors. These declarations were so obviously proven to be untrue and fantastical, why then did they choose to believe any of it? One of my sons testified I cut his hand with a piece of glass. Had this happened surely their mom would have seen it, there would have been some sort of proof, a hospital visit for stitches or at least a band aid, something.
To those who are quick to condemn without conclusive evidence, to those who say “why would these kids say such things unless it was true?” I direct you to Wall Street Journal scribe Dorothy Rabinowitz “No Crueler Tyranny.” Sadly, there are many such documented cases as mine.
The jury deliberated for the three full days before returning with a verdict, finding me guilty of 3 of the six counts of CSP. (And not guilty of the other 3 counts of CSP.)
But I either did it or I didn’t do it. So I can only assume that, unsure, the jury decided to split it down the middle as a concession, preferring to lock up an innocent fellow then allowing a monster to go free.
It’s all arbitrary and proves nothing. Had I been found not guilty of all six counts, would that prove irrefutable innocence? Of course not. So shouldn’t the reverse be true? Do you think O.J. did it? How do you sit with all those folks who have been executed only to later be found innocent by DNA testing? In the end all that matters in the eyes of the law – is the verdict.
The prosecutors will never comprehend the damage they have done, denying my children a loving father and the support of extended family. They will never admit to their mistake. My only consolation is that my boys are alive (and thankfully were not abused, though you could argue there’s been psychological abuse).
I can only pray they are happy, wherever they are. I have pretty much lost all faith in our judicial system, but I haven’t given up hope. I am still optimistic that someday I will be exonerated and freed. Meanwhile, all I dream about is seeing my sons again.
Dylan Jeffrey #63507
OCPF 10 McGregor Range Road
Chaparral, NM 88081