Now 23, Young Woman Says She Made Up Testimony That Put Her Dad in Prison in 2002

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Cassandra Ann Kennedy was 11 years old in 2001, when, she now says, she made up a story that put her father in a Washington state prison from 2002 until last week.

Disappointed in her father, who, she felt, didn’t love her enough, she falsely told authorities he had raped her, wanting him out of her life to ease the pain that she felt, Kennedy told detectives in January. Her parents had divorced a decade or so earlier, and, she says, she got the idea of making up the story from the case of a friend whose stepfather was convicted of a similar crime, reports the Daily News.

Now 43, Thomas Edward Kennedy was released from prison last week after serving nine years and the case against him was dismissed. He declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper.

“This is something my whole office is talking about,” said Cowlitz County Prosecutor Sue Baur. “This is the kind of thing that shouldn’t happen.”

Baur wrote a letter to the judge in the case in February, alerting him to new evidence that created “a reasonable likelihood that Mr. Kennedy is innocent of those crimes.” She told the newspaper she continues to rethink every detail of the Longview case and recently listened to a tape of the child’s testimony, yet doesn’t see that the legal system did anything wrong.

She does not intend to pursue charges against the 23-year-old woman for lying, in part because doing so would discourage others from telling the truth after the fact.

Kennedy says she didn’t understand, as a child, the full effect that her false testimony would have on her dad.

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