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Dennis Devlin

Other Child Sex Abuse Exonerations with Perjury or False Accusation
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In 1991, 38-year-old Dennis Devlin, part owner of the Desert Inn Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, was charged with engaging in lewd acts with a 15-year-old boy at the hotel, a destination infamous for wild, alcohol-infused parties during spring break weeks.

Devlin was convicted in 1995 in Volusia County Circuit Court after the boy testified that he had engaged in sexual activities with Devlin. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison. Devlin had been charged on several prior occasions for alleged similar activities with other boys, but the charges had all been dismissed before trial.

In November 2001, at a hearing on a motion to vacate Devlin’s conviction, Golden, by then 25, testified that he was initially contacted by Mary Pascale, an investigator with the Volusia County State Attorney's Office, while he was incarcerated in the Dosier School for Boys for committing arson.

Golden said that during his interview, Pascale asked his counselor, Tom Sedorf, to leave the room. According to Golden, Pascale told him she needed his help in prosecuting Devlin and in return Pascale said she could get him out of Dosier. Golden said that Pascale “led me on to feeding me information about saying to try to get me to say what she wanted me to say on tape, or dates, or did this and that and everything else.”

Golden admitted that Devlin never molested him, but that he saw a chance to “manipulate the system” and he took it so that he could get out of Dosier early.

Subsequently, Sedorf drove Golden on the nine-hour trip to Daytona—which was unusual because most youths who left there were given a bus ticket or were picked up by their parents. Golden said that during the trip, he admitted to Sedorf that he had not been molested.

In Daytona, Golden met with Pascale and a sworn statement was prepared that contained more specific information and dates, all supplied by Pascale.

Golden also testified that a few months after returning home, he was arrested in Orange County for possession of marijuana. He said he asked Pascale to help him and she said she would see what she could do. Golden testified that he pled guilty and received probation, but then was arrested for violating his probation and was sentenced to nine months in jail. He said that with his history, he expected to receive a harsher sentence. Golden testified that he did not know whether Pascale actually assisted him, but he believed she did because he received a lenient sentence.

Golden also testified that Pascale told him “not to talk to anybody about the deals we had made.” Golden testified that when he was asked at the trial whether any deals had been made with the prosecution, he lied and stated no deals had been made. Golden testified that Pascale’s motive for convicting Devlin was to “get [his] hotel away from him.”

Golden said that he came forward after a chance meeting with Devlin and Devlin’s attorney in the parking lot of the Orange County, Florida, Juvenile Justice Center. By that time, Golden was participating in Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous and as a result of his life change, Golden testified that he felt obligated to come forward now and try to make things right.

Sedorf testified at the hearing that he tried to get Golden involved in counseling or treatment as an abuse victim, but Golden resisted. Ultimately, Sedorf testified, Golden told him that he had not been sexually abused. Sedorf said he then informed Pascale of Golden’s admission. He said he told Pascale, “I think he’s making false claims and I think he is lying.”

Pascale, who by that time was working as a Seminole County deputy sheriff, testified and denied fabricating the case against Devlin. She said she did not recall Sedorf telling her of Golden's admission.

The defense also presented evidence that the investigator had been fired before Devlin’s trial for unrelated misconduct, but the prosecution had failed to disclose the firing to Devlin’s attorneys.

On March 15, 2002, Circuit Court Judge Shawn Briese vacated Devlin’s conviction and the prosecution dismissed the charge.

In February 2011, federal agents raided a room at the Desert Inn Hotel and discovered dozens of videotapes and cell phone videos of under-age boys performing sexual acts. Devlin pled guilty to federal charges of exploiting minors. He was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

In 2013, the hotel—labeled by TripAdvisor as the third dirtiest hotel in America—was sold and $1.5 million of the sale proceeds were forfeited to the federal government.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 7/5/2016
State:Florida
County:Volusia
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1991
Convicted:1995
Exonerated:2002
Sentence:1 year and 10 months
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:38
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No