Chaneya Kelly’s testimony in 1997 put her father Daryl in prison for rape. But now, at age 24, Chaneya said that her claims were false.
Chaneya was 9 years old when she said that her mother, Charade Kelly, at the time addicted to drugs and alcohol, had pressured her to make the claim. Chaneya allegedly lied to avoid being beaten by Charade.
“I'm 24 years old, and I made this mistake when I was 9 years old,” Chaneya told NBC News, “but it's never too late to try and right your wrong.”
Chaneya's mother has said she is now drug-free and confirms her daughter's story.
While living with her parents in Newburgh, N.Y., Charade allegedly always asked Chaneya if her father was touching her. When Chaneya would answer no, Charade would threaten to beat her until Chaneya falsely answered yes.
Charade then called the police and had Chaneya repeat the lie. Although there was no physical proof the girl had been raped, NBC reported that the similarities between the mother’s story and Chaneya’s was enough to convict Daryl.
After refusing a plea deal, Daryl Kelly was sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison. Six months after the conviction, Chaneya admitted to her grandmother that her father’s conviction was based on a lie. Her mother also signed an affidavit stating that she had threatened to beat Chaneya unless she told cops her father raped her.
However, the judge believed the statements to be "coerced" and Daryl’s conviction was not overturned. Over the past 16 years, Daryl has studied law while in prison and filed several appeals, but they have all been denied.
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(Photo: NBC Nightly News)