On April 3rd Showtime is launching a five-part documentary, Outcry, about the 2013 arrest and conviction of a 17-year-old Texas high school football star, Gregory Kelley, on charges of sexually assaulting a young boy.
Every week, right after each episode, we will publish our thoughts, insights, and much more as we follow this case every step of the way . . . because, for us and a great many of our clients, it hits so close to home.
It also ‘has it all.’
Gregory Kelley was a senior headed for a football scholarship at the University of Texas, San Antonio when he was arrested. At the time he lived with a classmate’s family while both his parents dealt with serious health issues.
His friend’s home doubled as a childcare facility from 9 to 5, times Kelley was almost always away for school or working out or visiting his parents. In July 2013, the mother of a four-year-old boy accused Kelley of sexually assaulting her son.
From there it went quickly: another child made the same claim; the local police – untrained in child sexual assault investigations and interviewing children – arrested Kelley on a slew of charges.
The prosecution offered Kelley a plea deal: plead guilty to a single count of indecency, register as a sex offender for 20 years, and be on ‘deferred adjudication’ for 10 years, no jail or prison time.
Kelley rejected it and went to trial. The trial was a mess, the children never testified in person, the charges from one child were thrown out mid-trial as ‘ridiculous’, evidence emerged implicating someone else though it was never followed up by the police, Kelley’s attorneys had an undisclosed conflict, and much – much – more.
Kelley was convicted, at least one juror said they pressured to convict. Kelley received a 25-year prison sentence with no possibility of parole.
New attorneys started Kelley’s appeals. Through the initial stages and two lower courts it is a nightmare.
In August 2017, Kelley was released from prison on bond after a judge recommend the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturn his conviction on the basis of ‘actual innocence.’
That process took over two years. Kelley was officially cleared last November.
This is a disturbing story on many levels. We’ll be covering it every week through Outcry’s run.