SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Washington state man convicted of child molestation nearly two decades ago was freed from prison on Thursday after a judge ordered a new trial because his accuser recanted her story, court officials said.
Jerry Lee Brock, 55, was convicted in 1995 of first-degree molestation charges stemming from the accusations of an 11-year-old girl who said she was sexually assaulted in her sleep, according to court records.
He was given a life sentence under Washington’s persistent offender law, in which individuals convicted of three serious crimes are incarcerated without the possibility of parole. Brock had two previous felony convictions for burglary and promotion of prostitution, court records show.
The woman who accused Brock of molesting her as a child came forward in 2012 and said she had made the story up to get her mother’s attention, according to court documents.
Last week, Thurston County Judge Erik Price held a motion hearing on the new evidence and on Thursday released Brock based on the woman’s latest statement and ordered a new trial in 90 days, court records show.
Prosecutors could choose to drop Brock’s case ahead of a new trial in February.
Brock had previously appealed his case, records indicate.
His public defender could not immediately be reached for comment.
Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Curtis Skinner & Kim Coghill