DETROIT (WWJ) – A man who’s been in prison for 27 years for the sexual abuse of two young boys in Detroit is free tonight.
A Wayne County judge last week vacated the conviction of 58-year-old Bernard Young, who’d been charged with criminal sexual conduct. Young has long maintained his innocence.
His lawyer, Soloman Radnor, described his client’s mood, as he was released Wednesday, as “complete joy” like he’s never seen before.
“When we left the prison, the guards were shaking his hands and wishing him well and telling him that they were genuinely happy for him,” Radnor told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill.
Court records say two boys told investigators that Young, a neighbor, sexually abused them a year earlier while babysitting them, on Hendricks Street in Detroit, when they were about 5 and 6 years old.
But interviews before Young’s trial show the boys accused their mother’s then-boyfriend, William Clark, of the abuse. But that information wasn’t given to Young.
“If there’s a statement in which the boys say it wasn’t Bernard Young, it was William Clark, that statement is obviously exculpatory. It requires mandatory disclosure under Brady (U.S. Supreme Court case of Brady v. Maryland), and it should have been disclosed to the defense, and it never was,” Radnor said.
“The defense did not see those documents until August of 2016.”
Young’s attorney asked for a new trial in May 2016, after the accusers signed affidavits saying Clark was the perpetrator. Clark was sentenced to three years’ probation.
Radnor said Young’s wife died while he was in prison.
“This is not a happy ending,” he said. “This was a tragedy, this was an absolute travesty that this man spent almost 30 years in person. He’s almost 60 years old now, and the nightmare’s not over.”
A spokesperson for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy says she plans to appeal and her argument will be in the brief filed with the court.
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