Saturday, November 22, 2014

Man in prison 19 years for child molestation freed after alleged victim admits making story up to get more attention from her mother

A man who had been in prison for nearly two decades was released from custody Thursday, two years after his supposed victim recanted allegations that he molested her.

Jerry Lee Brock, 55, had been in prison since his conviction for first-degree molestation in 1995. In 2012, the alleged victim, Regina Rush, came forward to say she made the whole thing up, partly as a way to get more attention from her mother.

Last week, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Erik Price ordered a new trial after finding the recantation credible, and on Thursday, he signed an order vacating Brock's conviction. The order stated that Brock "shall no longer remain in the custody of the Washington State Department of Corrections."

"He was all smiles," said Brock's lawyer, public defender Patrick O'Connor. "His brother was there to pick him up and take him home. It was very satisfying to see."

Brock was released with a few conditions, including that he remain in the state, not possess firearms and not use drugs. A new trial was scheduled for February, but it wasn't clear prosecutors would proceed with it, given that the girl's story was the primary evidence against him.

Rush was 11 years old when she accused Brock, a friend of her mother, of molesting her while she was sleeping. She repeated the allegations at trial, and Brock was convicted. He was sentenced to life in prison under the state's "three-strikes" law; he also had convictions for burglary and promoting prostitution.

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