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Dahn Clary, Jr.

Other Child Sex Abuse Plea Exonerations
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On March 13, 1997, police in Texarkana, Texas arrested 41-year-old Dahn Clary, Jr., on charges of aggravated sexual assault and taking indecent liberties with the 11-year-old the son of Clary’s best friend.

Police were notified in January that the boy told his father that Clary had fondled his genitals under a blanket as they watched television in the boy’s home.

During a subsequent interview with police, the boy expanded his allegations to include Clary performing oral sex on him on several occasions in 1996 both at Clary’s residence and at the boy’s residence.

On February 28, 1998, Clary, whose lawyer had told him he would likely be convicted at trial and face life in prison, pled guilty in Bowie County Criminal District Court to aggravated sexual assault. He received a 10-year deferred adjudication, meaning that if he completed a sex offender therapy program and remained arrest-free for 10 years, the conviction would be vacated and the case would be dismissed.

In 2004, however, the prosecution filed a motion to revoke Clary’s deferred adjudication because counselors said he had missed therapy sessions and was refusing to cooperate in the sex offender therapy program. In December 2004, the deferred adjudication was revoked and Clary was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

At about that time, the complainant, who was by then 18 years old, told his mother that his claim of sexual abuse by Clary was false. The boy’s mother visited Clary in prison and informed him of the boy’s statement. In November 2008, Clary was released on parole.

In 2013, Clary retained attorney Jason Horton, who sent a private investigator to interview the complainant.

In June 2013, the complainant signed a sworn statement admitting that Clary never sexually abused him at all and that his statement to his father and to the police was false.

“When I was 11 years old, I fabricated a story involving myself and Mr. Dahn Clary,” the statement said. “Any references to Mr. Clary touching me or performing sexual acts on me were not true. At the time I made the statements, I was upset with Mr. Clary for not being as active in my life as he once was.”

“I did not understand the consequences of my actions at the time I fabricated the story,” the statement said.

The boy said that at the time, he was interviewed only once by police and that he was not physically examined nor was he interviewed by any social service investigators.

Horton filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to vacate Clary’s conviction.

In 2014, Bowie County District Judge Ralph Burgess held an evidentiary hearing during which the complaint, by then 28 years old, testified that at the time he accused Clary, he was angry at Clary for not spending more time with him.

The complainant said that Clary was his father’s best friend and that he considered Clary an “uncle.” He said that his father was an alcoholic and that his mother was mentally unstable and that Clary acted as “a buffer” between him and his parents. Clary brought food to the complainant when he had nothing to eat in the house.

During the hearing, the complainant apologized to Clary from the witness stand.

In December 2014, Judge Burgess recommended that the petition be granted. In April 2016, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the writ and vacated Clary’s conviction. On June 13, 2016, the prosecution dismissed the charge. Clary was awarded $522,900 in state compensation.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 6/22/2016
Last Updated: 12/4/2016
State:Texas
County:Bowie
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1997
Convicted:1998
Exonerated:2016
Sentence:10 years
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:41
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No