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An Innocent Veteran Faces Life in Prison

George Ferenz
George Ferenz

A terrible injustice has occurred. As you read this, a US Army Veteran is sitting in a jail cell in Riley County, Kansas. He is awaiting sentencing for a crime which he did not commit. George’s story is one that deserves justice and equality, and in order for this to be possible we must pressure the Kansas courts to allow for a retrial of his case.

George Ferenz joined the military in 2009 as a 19K M1 Armor Crewman. He served a combat tour in Afghanistan, fighting on the ground for 9 months and earning the Combat Action Badge. He completed his service in June of 2013. His friends, family, and neighbors all know him to be an upstanding, honest, and hardworking person with no criminal record whatsoever. The allegations against him are in no way representative of George.

George’s ex-wife has alleged that he sexually abused her daughter on October 21st, 2012. The alleged victim’s mother has a history of fabrication, false allegations, alcohol abuse and attempted suicide. Riley County police reports list two occasions when she was intoxicated and tried to commit suicide. On the second occasion she was babysitting four children including her infant son. On numerous occasions she contacted George’s army superiors alleging that he was being unfaithful and abusive, only to later recant and admit that her goal was to get George into trouble with the authorities. The officers put in charge of the investigation completely ignored George’s claims of false accusation and focused solely on securing a conviction. A primary detective in the case made false statements on her affidavit for the original arrest warrant.

The Army conducted an inquiry into the allegations and reviewed the criminal case evidence from Riley County. After a thorough investigation, sworn testimony from all parties involved, and a military administrative board hearing to determine if he should be discharged for commission of a serious offense, the verdict reached by the officials was that George Ferenz was innocent of all charges.

George Ferenz left the army with honor and dignity. That honor and dignity was stripped away from him on September 12th, 2013. The trial itself was a mess of misconduct. The prosecutor overstated the probative value of testimony and evidence. The mother gave inconsistent testimony and perjured herself on the stand. One medical expert witness for the prosecution gave testimony that directly conflicted with her original examination report. Most important of all, the alleged victim’s testimony did not correspond with her recorded statements from the original forensic interview and testimony at the preliminary hearing. At one point in the preliminary hearing she stated that she might have “imagined it all.” By the time the prosecution rested their case the lack of evidence was such that the judge dropped one of the charges entirely.

So how is it the jury still found him guilty? The jury ignored the lack of any physical evidence and other testimony, along with evidence introducing reasonable doubt, and from all appearances convicted him solely because of the alleged victim’s statement. Under Kansas law, the jury was not aware that a guilty verdict for any count meant a mandatory life sentence.

George Ferenz is the victim of an incompetent law enforcement investigation, lies from witnesses, and a broken justice system. Now he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars because of those lies. His sentencing date is set for October 21st, 2013, where we will file a motion for a retrial. We refuse to allow an innocent, honorable man to spend the rest of his life in prison. We must fight this injustice and the Riley County Courts must grant George Ferenz the retrial that he deserves.

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