During Greg Kelley's polarizing 2014 trial for the sexual assault of a child, Doug Douglas, just a concerned citizen at the time, decided to go sit in court and listen. He had never met the young man.
"Walked out of the courtroom that day thinking 'there's no way this guy's going to get convicted' and then a couple of weeks later you hear the news that he is convicted and I went 'what could have gone wrong after I was there?'" Douglas said.
Douglas started researching and blogging about the case. He says Kelley's family eventually asked him to be a spokesperson -- a tough call knowing the amount of heat he would get.
"The deciding factor for me was that I had a daughter in high school and when I said 'yes' it was only because I didn't want her to see her dad walk away from an injustice and turn his back and say it's somebody else's problem," Douglas said.
Wednesday, Douglas told us he wasn't sure in the beginning whether Kelley was innocent or guilty, he just felt the case deserved a second look. That all changed when Douglas visited Kelley in jail. He called Kelley's mom Rosa afterward.
"I said 'I've met 3 U.S. Presidents, I've met professional athletes, I've met the CEO's of some of the biggest companies in the world and your son is one of the 3 most impressive people I've ever met in my life. I'm in,'" Douglas said.
Recently, Kelley's attorney Keith Hampton filed a writ with evidence pointing to another young man who looks similar to Kelley. Hampton says the young man also lived in the daycare and had pictures of naked children on his home computer.
Read Imprisoned Greg Kelley on his case being reopened: “It's going to happen, I am coming home”
New WilCo DA Shawn Dick feels Hampton's evidence is credible enough to take a second look at the case.
"We asked for that from the very beginning, we said other people were in the home that had a criminal record that needed to be looked at, that looked like Greg, that was the same age as Greg...there were other guys there that needed to be interviewed and the Cedar Park Police Department decided they didn't need to talk to any of them. They didn't even talk to Greg, why would they talk to somebody else that was in the house?" Douglas said.
In a phone interview last Friday, Kelley told Fox 7 the other young man being accused was like a little brother to him.
"When I heard his name, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it at all. I was so stuck on 'nothing happened, nothing happened, nothing happened, nothing happened' and then as the days go on and go on and go on I figured out things that point towards his guilt," Kelley said.
Kelley's attorney says during an August hearing, a judge will evaluate evidence and make a recommendation but the Court of Criminal Appeals will make the ultimate decision on relief for Kelley.
Even though Kelley has many supporters, there are many who believe his conviction was justice. Kim Frank, Amy Smith and others sent Fox 7 this joint statement:
Our hearts go out to the child who bravely came forward and testified that Greg Kelley abused him. It's always difficult for victims to come forward, fearing they will not be believed, especially when the abuse is perpetrated by someone the child trusts and respects. As Greg himself testified, he wanted the children to know him well and look up to him as a role model instead of as a big stranger. According to Greg’s own words, the children high-five’d him when they saw him, and wrestled with him. Children as young as six months can recognize faces, even similar ones, therefore we believe the child, who felt comfortable enough with Kelley to high-five and wrestle with him, when he identified Greg Kelley by name as his abuser. What people seem to have forgotten, or maybe don’t understand, is that child testimony is evidence, and many times the only evidence in crimes such as this. Failure to accept the only credible evidence is not only a failure of the system, but to the child victim himself.
Holding rallies, posting misleading information on social media, and trampling the courthouse lawn in front of news cameras on behalf of a convicted child sex offender, endangers kids by causing those who see, suspect, and suffer child sex crimes to fear speaking up. Those who believe Kelley is innocent should visit him, pray for him, write to him, and help his family. But they should do so in ways that respect the child victim and his family, and do not advocate forgoing judicial process, or scare or intimidate other victims of abuse into staying silent. By mounting public displays of support for a convicted predator who accepted a sentencing deal for 25 years in prison, waiving his right to appeal, these individuals are rubbing even more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of abuse victims. By attempting to destroy respect and faith in our law enforcement and legal system, fewer people will be willing to speak up, making it more difficult for police, prosecutors and employers to catch and oust child molesters. This is why we speak up on behalf of innocent child victims whose voices go unheard or ignored.
Adults must learn to accept a disturbing truth: child molesters don't have forked tongues or devil’s tails or horns on their heads. They are usually not "creepy" people who give us "the willies" or seem socially inept. They are usually charming, charismatic, and outgoing. That is often how they are able to gain the trust of children and adults. So we must overcome the dangerous temptation to believe an accused sex offender is innocent just because he's likable or talented or devout. Discrediting child victims, as the Greg Kelley supporters continue to do, accusing the victim of being confused as well as untruthful, and publicly supporting convicted predators is a dangerous path to follow.
We pray that the judicial system will be swift and just, and that this case will finally be closed so that the families affected from every side can move forward and begin to heal from the new wounds that re-opening this case has created.