Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Judge Throws Out Sexual Assault Conviction

http://www.wisn.com/news/21998361/detail.html

I would love to know if there was any evidence, other than a 12-year-old girl's word, that was used to convict Mr. Burrowes. At least in this case, the prosecution stepped up when they learned that the girl lied and pushed for his exoneration. While I don't believe prison is the answer, there does need to be a very stiff punishment handed down. Three years in jail, based on your lie, merits something.

Prosecutors: She Told False Story To Protect Another Man

A Milwaukee man who served three years in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl is a free man after a judge threw out the conviction and ordered him removed from the sex offender registry.

Prosecutors said the accuser blamed the wrong man to protect another, and in a remarkable move, the district attorney's office asked a judge to throw out the conviction.

"It was a nightmare. Honestly it was," Chris Burrowes said.

Three years ago, police dragged Burrowes from his home as his 3-year-old daughter Christiana looked on.

"I never wanted her to have to go through seeing something like that especially her being so young and being her father, she loves me so much," Burrowes said.

A 12-year-old girl who lived near the basketball courts where he played told police she had sex with Burrowes at his north side home.

Prosecutors offered him a plea deal. He refused and a jury returned a guilty verdict.

Burrowes served three years in prison, and until Thursday, appeared on the sex offender registry.

"I've never been known to do anything the girl alleged me of doing, so I was shocked myself when I heard about it, and the fact that they found me guilty and tried to put me on the sex offender's list was like, 'I don't know.' It was just like, 'Whoa, like (the) sex offenders list -- that's like ruining my life, my reputation, my work, my career everything you know,'" Burrowes said.

Wednesday, a judge threw out Burrowes' conviction after the district attorney said the now-16-year-old girl had recanted, saying she had blamed Burrowes to protect a relative she was having sex with."

She was in love with him and didn't want to tell on him so he would go to jail, so she pinned it against someone else. She pinned it against me," Burrowes said.

Relatives at the girl's home said they couldn't comment, and Burrowes won't comment on the girl. He's just thankful he's been exonerated -- especially for Christiana, whom he's just getting to know again.

"It matters a lot for her to know that she got a good daddy, and I'm going to be there for her and I'm not the type of guy that they tried to play me out to be," Burrowes said.

Burrowes had no prior criminal record. He's now working and going to school to become a barber.

As for the girl, the district attorney's office said it learned the girl recanted when they interviewed her as part of another investigation. It must now determine whether to charge her with perjury.

No one from the district attorney's office was available to talk on camera.

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