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Michael Mata

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On August 8, 2010, a young girl told police in Clay County, Kansas, that a boy named Michael Mata had sexually assaulted her. The girl said it had happened more than two years earlier, on March 28, 2008, when she was six, and that Mata, who was then 13, had forced her to perform oral sex on him. The girl’s brother, who was a friend of Mata’s, said he had walked into the girl’s room while Mata was sexually assaulting her.

Mata was arrested on September 15, 2010 and charged as a juvenile with aggravated indecent liberties with a minor. Mata was adjudicated a juvenile offender at a bench trial in Clay County District Court on March 23, 2011, and sentenced to two years in a juvenile detention facility. He quickly appealed his conviction, asserting his right to a jury trial.

Mata’s second trial began on November 3, 2011. The girl and her brother again testified, but Mata’s attorney, Lora Ingels, introduced new records from the girl’s therapist that showed inconsistencies in her statements. Mata denied the claims. He said that the girl and her brother had walked in on him while he was masturbating, and that years later, after a fight over an unrelated matter, the siblings had said he assaulted the girl. Mata was acquitted by the jury on November 4, 2011 and released from the juvenile detention facility.

In 2018, Mata filed a claim seeking $40,247 for compensation from the state of Kansas. The state opposed approving the claim, asserting that Mata’s adjudication was not a conviction, thereby making him ineligible for compensation. The claim was denied in 2019. Mata appealed and the denial was upheld in March 2021.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 6/12/2019
Last Updated: 3/15/2021
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Sentence:2 years
Age at the date of reported crime:13
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No