HUBER HEIGHTS — Jenny Reach never gave up hope while she was in prison.
Convicted in 1985 of rape and other charges connected to the abuse of multiple children, Reach, formerly Jenny Wilcox, faced a life sentence.
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In an interview with News Center 7, Reach said she faced a tough life at the State Reformatory for Women in Marysville. “It was a nightmare. You are not even a person there. You are subject to strip searches for visitation, which demeans you. You are treated like a nobody and it’s hard to put into words,” Reach said.
She endured and along with her co-defendant, Robert “Bobby” Aldridge, successfully appealed their convictions. The pair, who used to live in Huber Heights, went back to court in the mid-1990′s in an effort to win reimbursement for their time in prison.
At the time state standards for wrongful imprisonment reimbursement were extremely restrictive.
Then came a change in the law. A reform bill opened the door to Reach and Aldridge to press their case again, this time successfully.
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They won their civil lawsuit against the state in the Ohio Court of Claims. Their attorney, Bart Keyes, said the basis for the wrongful conviction ruling was the actions of police during the original investigation.
The police, instead of investigating the allegations from a neutral, non-biased point of finding out the truth took some tactics that caused these children to make false accusations,” Keyes said.
On Monday, a panel of state lawmakers, known as the State Controlling Board, released $1.9 million to be split between Reach, Aldridge and their attorney. Aldridge was unavailable for comment.
Reach said through the years of confinement and later while she was fighting the state in court for wrongful imprisonment reimbursement, she never did receive an apology of any kind for the terrible mistake that was made.
“I have prayed for it for 36 years. And that is my only disappointment in this action. I don’t want to start crying here but this is my only disappointment all of these years that somebody would admit they were wrong and say they were sorry and they have not,” Reach said.
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