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August 26, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

My last post was about Elizabeth Paige Coast who was just sentenced to two months in prison for perjury. Five years ago she lied to the police, prosecutors and a jury, claiming that, seven years previously, her neighbor Jonathan Montgomery had fondled her when he was 14 and she was 10. Coast made the whole thing up because her parents caught her viewing pornography online and, as her mother saw things, that must have meant she’d been sexually abused. Coast, seeing what she thought was a good way to avoid punishment for her interest in porn, agreed, and named Montgomery as her assailant.

Coast was 17 when she first made her false allegation and now she’s 22. Even though the whole thing was a hoax, it took her almost five years to come clean. In my last piece, I pointed out that she had no excuse for sending an innocent man to prison and should do as much time behind bars as he did. But the judge gave her barely a tap on the wrist. Coast only has to do two months inside and she only has to serve her time on weekends.

I’d like Coast to take a look at this article (Daily Mail, 8/23/13). It might give her some idea of what a person who actually understands the concept of taking personal responsibility for one’s actions really acts like.

Fifteen years ago, Chaneya Kelly was just nine years old when her drug-addicted mother threatened her with a beating if she didn’t say that her father had raped her.

Chaneya, the Kellys' eldest child, says that one morning before school her mother asked her whether her father had ever 'touched' her.

'I was like, "What do you mean, did he touch me?" And she was like, "Did he touch you in your no-no spot?" And I would repeatedly say no,' the now 24-year-old said.

According to Ms Kelly her mother threatened to beat her if she did not 'tell me the answer that I want to hear'.

She said she told her mother her father had molested her to avoid being beaten, even though it wasn't true.

That gave Mom, the aptly named Charade Kelly, just what she wanted, although why she wanted her husband to go to prison isn’t mentioned in any of the articles on the case. Chaneya’s dad was just in the process of kicking his own drug habit, but Charade’s was getting worse.

In October 1997, while Kelly was living with his wife Charade and their five children in Newburgh, he says he was attempting to rid himself of a drug habit in order to take better care of his family.

But he said his wife's own drug habit had spiraled to the point where she turned to prostitution in order to feed her addiction.

My guess is that Charade was getting nervous that David might divorce her because of her drug habit and prostitution and get the children, so she decided to beat him to the punch. Whatever her motivations, the gambit didn’t work. Yes, she was successful at putting her husband in prison; David was sentenced to serve 20-40 years. But Chaneya went to live with her grandparents instead of remaining with her mother.

And here’s where I want Elizabeth Coast to pay close attention. It took a nine-year-old girl one year to tell her grandparents that the whole thing was a lie. And when her grandparents took her to her father’s lawyer, she repeated her recantation on videotape.

See, Elizabeth? If a nine-year-old can understand the gravity of her wrongdoing, so could you when you were 17. Or 18. Or 19, or 20, or 21.

That was in 1999. A judge looked at the videotape and decided Chaneya had been coerced into recanting, so David Kelly remained behind bars. But Chaneya didn’t give up. She’s continued writing to her father and gone to the news media with her story.

Navy veteran David Kelly, now 54, was found guilty of raping, sodomizing and sexually abusing his daughter Chaneya in their Newburgh, New York home in 1998. He remains at Green Haven Correctional Facility and is only eligible for parole in 2018.

But now his daughter, who is 24, says the attack never happened - and that she lied because her drug-addict mother forced to beat her unless she said her father abused her.

Chaneya, who has battled the courts to release her father ever since recanting her accusations the following year, penned a series of apologetic letters to him.

'I didn’t want to get beat so I made up a lie that I'd take back anyday. I regret everything I said,' she said in one letter from 2002, which has been seen by the New York Post.

'It's just that I didn't want to get beaten by a "drunken" mother.'

She added that she should be the one serving a lengthy sentence, rather than her father.

'I feel guilty when I talk about it. I feel that I should be in prison instead of you,' she wrote.

In another letter from October 2006, which is signed 'Daddy's Big Girl', Chaneya said she wished she 'could change the past'.

Chaneya, if you’re reading this, let me tell you that it’s not you who should be in prison. Yes, you did something wrong, but you were only nine at the time. We all give a break to children that young. The person who should be in prison is your mother whom you were only trying to please.

Speaking to NBC News, Chaneya said: 'I'm 24-years-old and I made this mistake when I was nine-years-old - but it's never too late to try and right your wrong.'

Her father was barred from any contact with his children after being convicted by a jury of multiple counts of rape and serious sexual assault.

Kelly, who has always maintained his innocence, had never been convicted of a felony before.

'All I think is, one day the truth will set me free. All I have to do is hold on,' Kelly told NBC News…

Kelly, who remains in jail to this day, began studying law and has filed multiple appeals.

His daughter visited him in prison when she persuaded the courts to allow her to have contact with him at the age of 15.

'The first thing my dad did was that he hugged me and he told me that he loved me and... that he doesn’t blame me for anything,' she said.

Meanwhile, Charade is no longer using drugs, and admits that what her daughter says is true.

Her mother, Charade, also submitted a sworn affidavit to the court which said she threatened to beat her daughter until she said her father raped her…

Chaneya's mother has said she is now drug-free and confirms her daughter's story, blaming a drug binge for her threats.

Two cases. Two lies that sent innocent men to prison for the crime of sexual abuse. Two recantations by the accusers. But in the first, it took and adult almost five years to come clean while in the second, a child did the right thing almost immediately.

In both cases there was no evidence with which to convict the men except the testimony of the supposed victims. In each case the accused man always maintained his innocence.

In Jonathan Montgomery’s case, his release from prison came fairly quickly after the woman recanted. But David Kelly is still in prison 15 years after his daughter told the truth. Somehow judges and prosecutors just can’t manage to wrap their minds around Kelly’s actual innocence even though both mother and daughter say he committed no crime and there’s no other evidence that one ever occurred.

Now why would that be? Why would David Kelly have such difficulty freeing himself, when, for Jonathan Montgomery, the wheels of justice turned pretty quickly?

When it comes to the judicial system, being black and male looks like a real double whammy.

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