After a Milwaukee, Wisconsin man reported abuse by “Brother David,” who had given him first communion some 20 years earlier, police arrested David Sanders in December 2004.
Sanders was a monk, who had been teaching in the area at the time of the crime. When he was located, the victim identified Sanders as his abuser.
In December 2006, a jury convicted Sanders of sexually assaulting the victim and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Shortly after the trial, the victim’s grandmother found an old letter indicating that another man, David Nickerson, might be the actual abuser. Nickerson confessed to abusing the victim.
In June 2007, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office joined the Wisconsin Innocence Project in asking the court to dismiss the case, and Sanders was released.
Sanders received $23,000 from the state of Wisconsin for his wrongful imprisonment.
- Stephanie Denzel
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.