A former Fort Worth police officer who served 21 years of a life sentence for raping a 13-year-old girl was acquitted of the crime by a jury on Friday.
Brian Franklin, who was freed in May after his accuser admitted that she lied when she didn’t acknowledge a previous sex assault, was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 after being convicted of raping the girl a year prior.
‘I knew it was going to come,’ Franklin told KDFW-TV on Friday.
‘I wasn’t surprised.’
He was released on $10,000 bail by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals after it ruled that he did not receive a fair trial, but Tarrant County prosecutors retried the 56-year-old man for assaulting the girl in her father’s backyard in 1994.
Franklin’s guilt was called into question when his accuser testified two years ago that she lied in part of her testimony, but the woman, now in her 30s, is standing by her accusation that Franklin raped her.
The court said the perjured testimony also led others to give false testimony at the trial.
The teenage accuser testified in 1995 that she had never had sex before accusing Franklin of raping her.
But she later told authorities that her stepfather had sexually assaulted her for years, including during Franklin’s trial, and that she had been too scared to admit that with her stepfather ever present.
Prosecutors had argued that because she had never had sex, the injuries she sustained to her genitals could only have been caused by Franklin.
Because there was no DNA evidence tying Franklin to the girl, it was on the strength of her testimony that the officer was convicted, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The stepfather pleaded guilty to injury of a child and received 10 years of probation. He has since died, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Franklin was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to life imprisonment.
He was eligible for parole in 2025.
Sam Jordan, spokeswoman for the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, said Thursday that the case against Franklin will be sent to a grand jury to decide whether he should be indicted.
‘We feel that the evidence still substantiates the claim against him,’ Jordan said, later adding: ‘It was a police officer. We call on them to protect a child, not cause harm to them.’
Franklin graduated from the police academy in the early 1980s and was an officer with Fort Worth police when he was accused in the attack.
He was friends with the girl’s father and was convicted almost entirely on her testimony.
Franklin’s attorney — Houston lawyer Dick DeGuerin, who has represented high-profile figures including Tom DeLay, Robert Durst and others — said that his client plans to sue the state for damages.
SOURCE: Daily Mail