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Paradise man's wrongful conviction overturned

A wrongful conviction made right, 27 years later.

Posted: Jan 18, 2018 11:38 PM
Updated: Jan 18, 2018 11:42 PM

Paradise, Calif. -- A wrongful conviction made right, 27 years later.

59-year-old Darwin Crabtree served nearly a decade in prison on charges he sexually molested his sons.


Thanks to new evidence brought forward by the Northern California Innocence Project on Wednesday, Darwin Crabtree has been fully vindicated.

Darwin Crabtree was convicted of sexually molesting his sons in 1991.

From the very point of his conviction, he had fought desperately for his innocence.

"I had never given up on my case, even when I got out, I was still trying," said Crabtree. 

Crabtree spent nearly a decade in prison. He completed his sentence in 2001 and a term on parole in 2004.

"I had to go through weekly sex therapy sessions. As it's always been, you want me to talk about what I did. But I didn't do anything," said Crabtree.

At the time of his conviction, Crabtree's family was going through some difficult times and as a result, his sons were sent to see a therapist to work through bad behavior.

"Here I was accused of abusing my children, but it wasn't me doing the abusing, it was the system," said Crabtree.

New evidence brought forward by the Northern California Innocence Project found the sons' original accusations were improperly elicited by an unlicensed therapist in training.

"They were told to hit a pillow, call me names, all this crazy therapy to reinforce this dad was this monster," said Crabtree.

But thanks to the help of the NCIP, Crabtree was vindicated.

"Based upon our reasonable doubt as to Mr. Crabtree's guilt now, we decided to go ahead and vacate the sentence," said Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. 

"When you say, wouldn't you just like to close the book and get on with your life. Do you picture me just getting back to work everyday? Do you picture the person I was 27 years ago? Because that person doesn't exist," said Crabtree.

Crabtree wants to be involved in helping others who have also been wrongfully convicted.

"I always wanted to stay involved. That's what's kept me going on with this. This has changed my life," said Crabtree.

The DA met with Crabtree on Wednesday to offer his office's apologies for what part they played in his conviction.

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