Link to Dr. Phil show about our case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgrWyhJMplcUpdated:
12 February, 2014
JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FERENZ?
A terrible injustice has occurred. As you read this letter, a US Army Combat Veteran sits in a jail cell in a state prison in Kansas. He has been sentenced for a crime that he did not commit and might spend the rest of his life in prison. My son George's story is one that deserves justice and equality, and in order for this to be possible my wife and family believe we need to let everyone know about this situation. A wrongful conviction is bad for everyone, no matter where you live. We are filing an appeal that will be handled by the Public Defender attorneys of the Kansas Court of Appeals. But meanwhile, our son sits in a jail cell. My wife Cindy and I are asking for your help and support in our search for justice.
George Ferenz joined the military in 2009 as a 19K, M1 Armor Crewman. He served a combat tour in Afghanistan,fighting on the ground for 9 months and earning the Combat Action Badge. He completed his service in June of 2013. George comes from a family with a tradition of military service. One of his grandfathers served in WWII in the Army Air Corps, another served as a B-52 Radar-Navigator in Vietnam and the Cold War;his younger brother served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and spent a year in Iraq. I served twenty-one years as a Navy Officer and my sister served as an Army Officer. His fellow soldiers, friends, family, and neighbors in Kansas, Texas and Virginia all know him to be an upstanding, honest, and hardworking person with no criminal record whatsoever. The allegations against him are in no way representative of George.
George's ex-wife has alleged that he sexually abused her daughter on October 21st, 2012. The alleged victim's mother has a history of fabrication, false allegations, alcohol abuse and attempted suicide. On numerous occasions she contacted his army superiors alleging that he was being unfaithful and abusive, only to later recant and admit that her goal was to get George into trouble with the authorities. The Army did not investigate and took no action. Riley County police reports list two occasions in 2012, (April 1 and October 1) when she was intoxicated and tried to commit suicide. On the second occasion on October 1, 2012 she was babysitting four children including their infant son. Riley County Police did not investigate and took no action.
George's marriage had been in trouble since he returned from his deployment to Afghanistan in January of 2012. Several times after arguments his wife would indicate that she planned to take both children and leave. George told her that she could leave with her daughter, but not their son. After the October 1st incident, George and his then wife had agreed to seek a divorce and discussed how George would keep their son and his wife would keep her daughter. I sent George information about divorce law in Kansas and urged him to contact Army legal services immediately.
After the allegations were made, October 22, 2012, my son was barred by legal order from Riley County and the Army (until he completed his enlistment) from contacting his wife, her daughter and their son for the period of one year. His wife was also not supposed to contact him. George was arrested on October 24, 2012. Within several days his wife (as she testified under oath at the trial) sold his personal property, abandoned their residence in Riley County, took the children to North Carolina and moved in with her daughter's father (in 2009 before they were married, she told George that her daughter's father was abusive). She remained there for a matter of weeks and then moved to her mother's residence in California. Despite the no contact order she made numerous attempts over several months to contact George directly, and did contact his Army unit, George's attorney and Army financial aid personnel in attempts to get money.
The investigators put in charge of this case completely ignored George's claims of who might be motivated to make false accusations and focused solely on securing a conviction. To my knowledge, investigators never interviewed family, friends or others with direct knowledge of the state of George's relationship with his wife and if they thought someone might make false claims of abuse against him. A primary detective in the case made false statements on her affidavit for the arrest warrant related to George's police interrogation.
During the police interrogation of my son on October 22, 2012, as detailed in the police video tape (case 12-049040
, disk 2 of 2, copy #1937); Riley County Police Detective Sonia Gregoire asked the question, "have you ever accidentally gotten child porn on your computer"? My son responded "of course, all the time"
In her sworn" Affidavit For Application For Warrant", dated October 23, 2012, Detective Sonia Gregoire, #49 stated "The affiant asked him if he had ever viewed child pornography on his computer and he replied of course".
"‹I requested an investigation of the conduct of Detective Gregoire related to this incident by the Riley County Attorney. To date, there has been no reply.
"‹On October 22, 2012, according to the written report of Joy Thomas, RN of Stormont-Vail Healthcare admitted as evidence against my son, "I had received a call from Det. Gregoire stating she was sending X for a SANE exam, after a disclosure of sexual assault, within the past 24 hours. She stated this was a long tern (sic) situation, with the most recent being the night before."
"‹Is it common practice by the Riley County Police Department to make prejudicial statements like this to medical and other types of specialists who are about to conduct forensic exams? To my knowledge, Detective Gregoire had only the statement of the alleged victim at this point. According to our inquiries, Riley County uses the "Finding Words" child interview guidelines incorporating the RATAC protocol. The RATAC protocol (Rapport, Anatomy, Touch, Abuse, and Closure) specifies that "although the importance of a child's statement within the forensic interview is irrefutable, investigators should not rely solely on forensic interviews to prove or disprove allegations of child sexual abuse." By making this remark Det. Gregoire gave Joy Thomas a preconceived notion of what she was expected to find instead of allowing the medical exam to speak for itself.
I requested an investigation of the conduct of Detective Gregoire related to this incident by the Riley County Attorney. To date, there has been no reply.
The Army conducted an inquiry into the allegations starting in 2012 and continuing into 2013. They reviewed the criminal case evidence from Riley County. This included much of the same evidence presented to the jury during his civilian trial in September 2013. After a thorough investigation and a military administrative board hearing on May 15, 2013 to determine if he should be discharged for commission of a serious offense the decision reached by the officials was that he did not commit a serious offense and he did not commit indecent acts. The Board recommended he be retained on active duty. In other words, he was innocent of all charges. The hearing included testimony from George's wife as well as sworn witnesses in support of George that indicated they believed his wife was capable of making false accusations against him. George was represented by his attorney, Ryan Rosauer, of the Weary Davis Law Firm in Junction City, Kansas.
George Ferenz left the Army with honor and dignity on June 2, 2013. That honor and dignity was stripped away from him on September 12th, 2013. The trial itself lasted a bare two and a half days. The prosecutor overstated the probative value of testimony and evidence. The mother gave inconsistent testimony and perjured herself on the stand about activity witnessed by her daughter.
On September 11, 2013, in response to a question from the defense attorney, Amanda Ferenz testified under oath in District Court that her daughter had "never" seen her and her then husband having sex. The defense attorney showed her the sworn testimony she had given during the preliminary hearing in Riley County on December 28, 2012 that stated her daughter had seen them having sex "much less than ten" and "probably less than five" times.
"‹I requested an investigation of Amanda Weis Ferenz by the Riley County Attorney related to this incident of possible perjury. To date, there has been no reply.
In response to a question from the defense about George, she stated under oath she did not want him convicted. The next afternoon, on Facebook, she posted an e-mail thank you to the jury for convicting him. She also maintained in court testimony that back at the time of the alleged incident her marriage was fine and there were no plans for them to get a divorce.
A medical expert witness for the prosecution gave testimony that directly conflicted with her original examination report. During the trial of my son from September 10-12, 2013, Joy Thomas was sworn in as a witness for the prosecution. During her testimony in District Court she stated she found "significant redness" when conducting a visual exam of X on October 22, 2012. In her written report of October 22, 2013 Joy Thomas stated "X was placed in a supine lithotomy position. Visual exam revealed slight redness to the posterior forchette and perineum."
I requested an investigation of the conduct of Joy Thomas related to this incident of possible perjury by the Riley County Attorney. To date, there has been no reply.
Most important of all, the alleged victim's testimony did not correspond with her recorded statements from the original forensic interview and testimony at the preliminary hearing. At one point in the preliminary hearing she stated that she might have imagined some of the incidents. By the time the prosecution rested their case the lack of evidence was such that the judge dropped one of the charges entirely.
So how is it the jury still found him guilty? The jury ignored the lack of any DNA and physical evidence as well as other testimony and evidence introducing reasonable doubt and from all appearances convicted him because of the alleged victim's statement. Under Kansas law, the jury was not aware that a guilty verdict for any count meant a mandatory life sentence.
On October 21, 2013, George was sentenced to life in prison, with a possibility of parole in 25 years. He was found guilty of four charges. Two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child (it was stated that he touched the alleged victim's genital area and was touched in return). Two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy (it was stated he had mouth to genital area contact with the alleged victim and she had mouth contact with his genital area).
The jury foreman and his wife attended the hearing. I asked him why he and the jury found my son guilty. He told me that they found my son guilty because of the testimony of the alleged victim. He said they believed her (a seven year old child) and not my son. He said they gave credibility to her statement because she was interviewed the day after the alleged incident. He also said that they didn't think she was coached. I asked him about the lack of DNA and any other physical evidence and the inconsistencies of prosecution witness testimony, including the perjury from the alleged victims' mother. Again, he said they convicted him because of the girls'testimony. There were five women and seven men on the jury. According to the foreman the women all thought my son was guilty on day one of the trial. Some of the men were not sure. The only evidence they asked to review when they went into deliberations on September 12, 2013 was the recorded interview of the alleged victim from October 22, 2012 and the transcript of her testimony from September 11, 2013. In that testimony she stated she could not remember the alleged incidents of touching. From all appearances the jury ignored the instructions from the judge to consider all of the evidence and testimony presented during the trial and instead focused only on the testimony of the alleged victim. I asked our attorney if that was legal and the answer was, yes. Our family does not understand how that can be legal and allowed to stand when it goes against the judge's instructions to the jury.
George Ferenz is the victim of an incompetent law enforcement investigation, lies from witnesses and a broken justice system. Now he faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars because of those lies. We are asking for your support in finding justice for George. We are determined not to allow this to end with our son spending life in prison for a crime he did not commit.
If you are interested in supporting our family's efforts to free George please consider donating to his legal defense fund at www.gofundme.com4hcla0
and signing the petition at www.change.org