As you are all aware, on July 15, 2014, Greg Kelley was convicted of two counts of Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a small child and sentenced to 25 years in prison with no eligibility for parole or appeal, through a plea agreement. In most cases the next step would be a quiet departure to a state prison with little fanfare. Not in this case. I know that you are all in tune with the fact that Mr. Kelley has garnered much support from his old classmates and others and a movement was established called “Fight for GK”. This group has been very vocal in their support of Mr. Kelley and very critical of the police department and the DA’s office. The Fight for GK movement has taken on a cult-like appearance, as it is mostly high school kids that have only been exposed to the news reports and what fellow supporters have told them, with no interest in seeking the truth. This movement, in my opinion, has been fueled by what I can only characterize as some of the most biased news coverage of a trial that I have ever encountered in three decades of doing this work. In this case there was tremendous coverage of the defense case and Mr. Kelley’s support group and very little coverage of the substance of the trial itself. I have not been able to figure out if the bias was intended or just lazy reporting.
You all saw Detective Dailey take a beating by the Defense with no coverage of his testimony to the Prosecution. A picture was painted that he did something improper by entering the interview room and asking the child to tell them what the child had told his mother. This was irregular, but not improper. In a perfect world the child would have been subject to a deep forensic interview, but at the time the CAC had lost their only staff member qualified for such interviews. We have a luxury of having a child advocacy center available to us. Many investigators around the country do not have access to these resources and are forced to do the child interviews themselves. While that is not ideal, it is anything but improper.
I have been asked by many of you, why we have not taken a more public stance on setting the record straight while this cult-like group drones on. It is as simple as this; we are in the business of keeping our community safe, enforcing the law, and developing prosecutable criminal investigations. We did all three of those things resulting in a solid conviction, so we move on to safeguarding the next potential victims of crime instead of entering the tent of the circus they are trying to create. We do not spike the ball and do a victory dance every time we get a conviction on a violent criminal and we will not start now. In fact, I find this case to be particularly sad because so much of it could have been avoided if Mr. Kelley had the character to do the right thing on several occasions. Pedophilia like alcoholism is a disease. It is not having a desire for young children that got Mr. Kelley into trouble, it was acting on that desire. Mr. Kelley let his demons get the better of him and has signaled that he has no desire to treat the disease, as the first step is recognition and personal accountability. Instead he chooses to claim innocence, con his friend and family, and blame the system and others for his actions.
The Fight for GK movement is largely based on the following position that is posted on their web-site. “The problem is, he was convicted based solely on the testimony of a 4 year old boy. Not to discredit the words of a 4 year old, but no other supporting evidence was given. Kelley was never interrogated by the police, no other suspects were sought out, and the police department kept their investigation focused only on Kelley without admitting there could be other explanations… We believe he was wrongly charged, by not allowing more evidence in support of Kelley's innocence to be brought forward.”
As you may be aware, Kelley was not interviewed because he exercised his constitutional protection against self-incrimination by invoking his right to remain silent through his attorney, Patricia Cummings. In other words, he lawyered up. At that point we are not allowed to interview a suspect. You don’t get it both ways, refuse to give a statement and then whine that the police did not get your side of a story. He did get to tell his story on the stand and was caught lying to the court, about a lie of stolen honor when he told somebody he was a Marine Sniper returning from Afghanistan. As an old Marine I am disgusted with this lack of honor. No evidence of Kelley’s innocence has ever been brought forward by him or his defense team, other than claiming innocence.
No other suspects were sought and the investigation stayed focused on Kelley because that is how a proper investigation is conducted in all cases in which the perpetrator is known to the victim and positively named and identified as the assailant. When a small child makes an honest outcry that somebody molested them and named their known attacker it would be gross incompetence to try to take them down a different path. The Kelley supporters have evolved from an earlier position that the kids made up their stories, to a more modified explanation that one of them was likely exposed to sexual abuse at the hands of another. This is very twisted logic to believe that a child is intellectually developed enough to articulate the most horrific thing they have been the victim of, but not intellectually developed enough to recognize the known perpetrator that they are exposed to daily. Never in the investigation was there another “Greg” or another “Greg’s room” living or located at that house. As you are all aware, it is rare in these cases to have any physical evidence as the outcry generally occurs weeks or months after the victimization of the child. Using their logic, we should free all the pedophiles and rapists that were jailed on eyewitness victim testimony. How safe would our children be then?
The prosecutors did an outstanding job and the jury was unanimous in making likely the most difficult decision of their collective lives. Mr. Kelley made a plea agreement and gave up all right to appeal which speaks volumes as to the strength of the Prosecution’s case, as his attorney most likely saw nothing that would lead to a successful appeal. The judge and jurors were absolutely correct in throwing out the charges related to the second victim when the child recanted. This does not negate the child’s initial outcry that specifically identified Mr. Kelley but does create a reasonable doubt. I can think of no reason for a small child to make up a false outcry, but I can think of many reasons that the child would not want to retell the story. Please keep the children and families of both victims in your thoughts and prayers.
Please understand that the Fight For GK group is mostly kids, with some adults, who firmly believe in their cause even when faced with the truth of the matter. They are mostly very good people and well intentioned for the most part, not recognizing that with every little rally they hold they are subjecting the families of the victims to re-victimization and possibly stifling future sexual assault victims that are seeing this rabid support of a convicted child rapist. They have a First Amendment right to express their beliefs and should be treated with respect and professionalism. In my estimation these folks are just more victims to Mr. Kelley’s lack of personal accountability. Letting his friends and family finance his feigned innocence, after asking for a plea deal, is shameful.
Keep up the outstanding job that you all do every day and do not be discouraged by our detractors as we have chosen a profession that guarantees critics of our work. JFK once remarked “too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
Sean M. Mannix
Chief of Police
Cedar Park Police Department