Ray Spencer a one time police officer in Vancouver, Washington who was wrongly convicted of molesting his children in 1985 has been awarded 9 million dollars. Mr. Spencer who spent nearly 24 years in jail was released in 2009 when it learned his wife at the time coerced her children into lying about the molestation.
When Spencer arrived in prison, he did not believe that he would actually survive. With the combination of being a police officer and a convicted child molester, he thought he was destined to die in prison at the hand of his cellmates. His children did speak out against him at the beginning of the trial in 1985. However, it came to light that his wife at the time was having an affair with the detective in charge who was also coursing the children to make up stories about their father as they did not know any better.
With the new evidence that came out, he was released in 2009 and, five years later, has received the $9 million for spending the time in prison. He has said that no amount of money is worth the time he lost away from his children, but that he does plan on using the money to pay for his children’s college funding. He also plans on spending time with his wife who Spencer married in 1987 and has worked two jobs to fund his appeals.
While this is not the only case that has ever happened where an individual who wrongfully spent time behind bars received money for doing so, he is one of the few individuals who actually served as part of the legal system before going to prison. He just hopes he can have a normal, peaceful life now.
Patrick Donovan is a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts.