AUSTIN (KXAN) — Greg Kelley, the man who was wrongfully convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2014, is suing the City of Cedar Park and two law enforcement officials over the conviction, for which he served more than three years in prison.
Back in November, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Kelley’s conviction for aggravated sexual assault against a child. Kelley, of Leander, was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2014.
FULLY EXONERATED: Greg Kelley conviction overturned
According to Kelley’s lawsuit, the City of Cedar Park, former Cedar Park Police Detective Christopher Dailey and former Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix “committed numerous acts and knowing omissions which led to wrongful conviction and imprisonment.”
The lawsuit states that Dailey never talked to Kelley before arresting him on the charges and because of his lack of effort to contact Kelley, never learned that he hadn’t been living at the home daycare where the allegations originated for almost a month before the incident even occurred.
Kelley’s attorneys also say Dailey never talked to any of the other adults at the daycare, including another adult male who would have been present at the same time — who they say “bears a striking resemblance to Greg Kelley.”
The lawsuit claims that Dailey’s only focus was getting a conviction of Kelley, saying:
“Detective Dailey ignored all evidence to the contrary and made the facts fit his belief.”
Mannix meanwhile, the lawsuit claims, was directly responsible for Dailey’s training and investigative techniques and duties — the failure of which led to Kelley’s conviction.
Other claims within the suit are that Dailey fabricated evidence, violated policies by deleting emails regarding the investigation, and also influenced another child from the same daycare to accuse Kelley of indecency by asking leading questions.
The lawsuit also alleges that even though the second child denied that “Greg” did anything to him and asserted that the aforementioned other teenage male had done something inappropriate, Dailey never questioned him and completely disregarded the claim.
The lawsuit also claims Dailey disregarded advice from the district attorney’s office to seek input before moving to arrest, but Dailey reportedly did so anyway.
“Nothing was going to stop Detective Dailey from proceeding with baseless allegations against Greg Kelley, not even the District Attorney’s office,” the lawsuit reads.
Additionally, Kelley’s attorneys say that once it became clear that the investigation was being so mishandled, it was taken to the Williamson County DA’s office and was assigned to the Texas Rangers to investigate — who found that there was “absolutely no evidence supporting the offense date range provided by Detective Dailey and that the Cedar Park Police Department “backtracked” the dates to fit their only theory, that Greg Kelley was the assailant.”
The Texas Ranger who investigated asserted that Kelley “definitely” was denied due process.
Finally, in the spring of 2017, Kelley’s defense team was able to successfully argue their suspect who could have been responsible for the crime. Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick agreed, finding it was “credible evidence” — all of which would ultimately lead to Kelley’s complete exoneration in 2019.
But the lawsuit claims that Kelley wasn’t left alone once he’d been found innocent, saying: the Cedar Park Police Department “continued to persecute and torment Greg Kelley by sewing misinformation and falsehood about him in the community with knowledge of their falsity.”
An example of this, the lawsuit says, is that in February, Mannix compared Kelley’s innocence to that of O.J. Simpson.
Kelley is suing for damages and demanding a trial by jury.
According to the lawsuit, Kelley missed out on some of his most formative years because of these actions, saying:
“Greg Kelley endured great suffering in confinement for 1,153 days. He was on bond and under restraint for 1,149 days more. He cannot get any of them back. All of them should have been joyous ones for a senior in high school, for a new high school graduate, and for a young man in college hoping to continue and further a football career. Detective Dailey and the Cedar Park Police Department took that from him.”
KXAN reached out to the City of Cedar Park for comment, and they replied Wednesday “it is our policy not to comment on legal matters.”