(2018 Update #1: How wrong I was, and how right. This story keeps on writing itself and getting more horrific by the page. Jesse committed suicide in the Autumn of 2018. His blood is not only on the hands of his own parents, but on the hands of every Connecticut State social worker, police officer, and attorney who has continued to enable these monstrous lies. I can only hope the Innocence Project finds a way to make the wheels of justice turn more quickly, before more lives are destroyed.)
Today, June 10, 2017, is the twelfth anniversary of the wrongful conviction of Jeremy Barney.
Thanks to the efforts of the Connecticut Innocence Project Post-Conviction Unit, specifically Attorney Katherine Goodbody, I am confident this anniversary will be Jeremy’s last behind bars.
Jeremy’s freedom will do nothing directly, however, to help two other children who suffered as a result of this case: Angela and Jesse _X_.
They are no longer children, of course: Angela is about to turn 22; Jesse is 21.
I have never met them. Nor have we ever communicated.
Over the years that I’ve been researching and writing about their case, however, I have grown to care deeply for them.
What most readers won’t know is this: despite everything that Angela and Jesse went through as children, they have grown into wonderful people — strong, intelligent, creative, and well loved by their many friends.
The first mixed blessing of Jeremy’s freedom is this: he will never get back the years he had to wait for a freedom he never should have lost.
The second is this: the overturning of Jeremy’s conviction is concurrent with — or rather, inextricable from — the overturning of Angela’s and Jesse’s lives. The overturning of everything they’ve known to be true. The overturning of everything they’ve known to be, for lack of a better term, “reality.”
Although this “reality” has been based on the false belief that they were horrifically abused by Jeremy, this “reality” has, nonetheless, been their reality, the only one they’ve known since 2003.
It is also the same reality in which they have, against all odds, managed to become the beautiful human beings that they are today. And I don’t want to see that overturned. My hope is that Angela and Jesse will know they are strong enough to face this as well, to face the light of the truth, and to let that light illuminate a future — a freedom — that was not available to them until now.
(2018 Update #2: “Hoping” worked as well as it ever does. What is needed is action on the part of the State, who alone has the power — not the power to set things “right,” of course, because they can never be right again — but the power to prevent further harm.)