Daughter Recants Statement Alleging Father's Sexual Abuse
Sixteen years ago a young girl's claim that her father raped her sent him to jail. Now, she's saying it never happened. INSIDE EDITION speaks to the father and the daughter.
A man was in the 16th year of a prison sentence after his own daughter told authorities he raped her when she was a little girl.
But now, she said her accusation was just a lie.
INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd asked Chaneya,"If what you're saying is true, your father has been in prison for nearly 16 years because of your lie."
"Yes," Chaneya replied.
Chaneya, who's 24, said she was just nine years old when, out of nowhere, her mother asked her if her father was sexually abusing her. Chaneya says she repeatedly told her mom 'No.'
"I remember her getting a belt and she said, 'Listen, if you don't tell me the answer it is that I want to hear, I'm going to beat you. Did your father touch you?' And at that point in time, I knew that she wanted to hear 'Yes,' so I went ahead and said, 'Yes.'"
Chaneya's father, Daryl Kelly, a Navy veteran, was convicted of sexual abuse on the strength of his young daughter's testimony. There was no physical evidence against him.
He's now serving 20 to 40 years in Green Haven State Prison in New York.
Chaneya actually recanted a few months after the conviction—a cute dog on her lap to put her at ease. She was recorded on video by her father's lawyer. Chaneya's grandmother was at her side.
"Did your father at any time do the things that you said he did? Did he ever do that to you?" asked Kelly's lawyer in the recant video.
"No," replied Chaneya.
INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd asked, "Did your father ever touch you inappropriately?"
"No," replied Chaneya.
"Did he sexually assault you?" asked Boyd.
"No," replied Chaneya once more.
"Did your father ever rape you?" continued Boyd.
"No," replied Chaneya a third time.
Chaneya's mother even fessed up to the lie, saying in a sworn affidavit that the charges against her husband were "fabricated."
"I was under the influence of drugs and alcohol," she said.
But even with the evidence falling apart, Daryl Kelly's fate remained unchanged.
"What happened when you first saw your father in prison?" asked Boyd.
Chaneya sadly replied, "All I could do was cry. There was no words to say. Nothing to say. My dad, he wouldn't even allow me to say sorry, it was just that much emotion between the two of us."
Daryl Kelly told INSIDE EDITION, "I told my daughter that I love her very much, and that everything that happened to me was not her fault."
Although he has no ill will for the daughter who put him behind bars, Kelly said his 16 years in prison have taken their toll,"It's a 'loooong' time. I'm weary, I'm weak, and I'm tired."
So, why is Kelly still behind bars?
An appeals judge said the change of heart by Chaneya and her mother seemed "coerced." Prosecutors also think Chaneya may be protecting the abuser as sex-crime victims sometimes do.
Even so, authorities are now taking a fresh look at Kelly's conviction.
His lawyer, Peter Cross, spoke about the matter, saying, "I'm hoping that the district attorney will do the right thing. I think everyone who's looked at this case knows that there's an innocent man in prison, and I hope he's out soon."
"You probably would have been paroled a long time ago if you had just been willing to take that plea deal and be labeled a sex offender at some point," said Boyd.
"I did not commit this crime and until the day I die, I will not confess to something I did not do," said Daryl.
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