In April 1989, in Manlius, New York, Kenneth Pavel was arrested for sexually abusing his 5 and 7-year-old sons while vacationing in Boynton Beach, Florida. Pavel’s ex-wife brought the abuse allegations to the attention of the police. At trial, the boys testified that Pavel had abused them repeatedly. The boys’ therapist testified that they had spoken about the abuse, and a medical examiner testified that physical examinations of one of the boys showed some marks that could be consistent with sexual abuse. Pavel’s attorney failed to develop a defense because he assumed that the case would be dismissed, failed to call fact witnesses who would have established Pavel’s alibi and his ex-wife’s mental instability, and failed to call any medical experts to contradict the prosecution’s expert testimony. Pavel was convicted of rape, sexual assault, and child endangerment after a bench trial in October 1989. He was sentenced to 8-to-24-years.
In July 2001, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals vacated Pavel’s conviction and ordered a new trial on the basis that his defense counsel had been ineffective. The prosecution dismissed the charges in October 2001.
- Stephanie Denzel