Stepdaughter Insisted He Didn't Do It; It Took 29 Years to Free Him

Louisiana man served 29 years behind bars for rape he didn't commit
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2023 1:19 AM CDT
Updated May 9, 2023 5:22 AM CDT
His Stepdaughter Said He Didn't Do It. Decades Later, He's Free
Patrick Brown, center in blue, raises his arms as he walks out a free man from Criminal District Court on Monday, May 8, 2023 in New Orleans after 20 years in jail for a rape the victim/survivor says he did not commit.   (Chris Granger/The Advocate via AP)

For more than 20 years, Patrick Brown's stepdaughter insisted to prosecutors that Brown did not rape her when she was 6 years old—but nothing was done until Monday, when the Louisiana man was finally released after serving 29 years in prison for the crime he did not commit. "Thank you for listening, finally," the survivor, known publicly only as LB, said in court Monday, where the judge signed an order releasing Brown. "Thank you for hearing me. ... Thank you for helping our family heal. Thank you for giving me my dad back." She and Brown embraced, and he apologized to her for what she was put through, reports. During the hearing, she tearfully told the court about the attempts she'd been making since age 14 to let authorities know it was another relative, named publicly only as LW, who had actually raped her, the Guardian reports.

"I’ve written over 100 letters … mailed them to the DA’s office," she said. "I’ve shown up unannounced to talk to someone and been turned around." Notes found in files in the DA's office also indicated prosecutors knew another relative had confessed to the rape. During Brown's trial, LB, then only 7, was quickly removed from the witness stand when her nose started to bleed and she ultimately never testified; Brown was convicted on hearsay testimony and inconclusive evidence. It wasn't until last year that the civil rights division of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office investigated the case and determined Brown was innocent; their attorneys joined him in his request for relief from the judge Monday. The DA's office is looking into whether LW could still face charges; he is accused of harassing the victim recently and even trying to get photos of her baby. (More Louisiana stories.)

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