Former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer Brian Franklin is finally free. But he is still fighting to clear his name.
“I’ve been vindicated,” he told me in an interview last week, “but not yet exonerated.” Franklin served 21 years in prison — a harrowing 7,700 days — of a life sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1995. But he steadfastly maintained his innocence, studied law in the prison library and won a reversal of his conviction last spring. In December, a jury acquitted him after a second criminal trial.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride up and down,” Franklin reflected. Hellish doesn’t begin to describe the journey. His accuser had lied that she was a virgin before Franklin allegedly raped her. Prosecutors produced physical exam results of damage to her genitals as proof of his crime. In fact, she had been the victim of molestation by her stepfather for years.
Moreover, the young accuser’s story of when she was allegedly raped changed to fit a timeline developed by prosecutors. That timeline was debunked when Franklin’s employment time records and time-stamped and dated store receipts showed he was nowhere near the alleged rape location….