Dean Gillespie spent 20 years in prison for a series of rapes he did commit not after Miami Township police officials suppressed evidence that would have shown he was camping in another state when the crimes were committed.
An Ohio man has won a $45 million lawsuit after claiming that a local police department’s misconduct led to his wrongful conviction and imprisonment for a rape he did not commit.
According to The Enquirer, the lawsuit was filed by Fairborn resident Dean Gillespie.
In his lawsuit, Gillespie accused the Miami Township Police Department and former detective Scott Moore of suppressing evidence and encouraging eyewitnesses to identify him as the prime suspect in a 1991 rape investigation.
Gillespie, writes the Enquirer, was convicted by a Montgomery County court in 1991 and released from prison in 2011.
“The horror inflicted on Dean and his family and community is hard to wrap your mind around,” said Mark Godsey of the Ohio Innocence Project, which helped Gillespie secure his release. “The way the authorities pushed through a conviction and then fought back and refused to admit a mistake was so disappointing.”
“Nothing can repay Dean for the horror,” Godsey said.
“The jury’s verdict sends a strong message that those in power need to change the way they do things,” he added.
The Enquirer reports that Gillespie had always maintained his innocence.
In 2021, a Montgomery County judge officially determined that Gillespie had been wrongfully imprisoned.
Gillespie, adds the Enquirer, had been convicted in the rape and kidnapping of two sisters, as well as another attack on a third woman.
However, the jury in the federal civil lawsuit found that Moore and the Miami Township Police Department suppressed evidence that could have established Gillespie’s innocence.
The jury also found that Moore “[created an] unfair lineup procedure,” and then subsequently claimed that a witness had identified Gillespie as a suspect when the witness had not, in fact, positively identified him as a suspect.
Additionally, Moore failed to disclose recovered “camping receipts” that would have shown that Gillespie was in Kentucky at the time the crimes were committed.
“I’m just one of 3,199 people that this happened to in the United States of America. Those people have served over 28,000 years in prison for crimes they did not commit. This has to stop. This system has to be fixed,” Gillispie said at a press conference. “The Ohio Innocence Project saved my life.”
While announcing the award, Montgomery County Judge Susan Solle said that she hoped the compensation would provide Gillespie with some closure.
“Mr. Gillespie, I can’t even imagine what the last 30 years have been like for you,” Solle said on Thursday. “Hopefully today will take you into the next and final chapter of this nightmare that has been your life for the past 30 years, and the next part will be a lot smoother and a lot quicker.”
Although Gillespie appeared appreciative of the damages, he emphasized that his lawsuit was never about money.
“There’s not enough, if they said $5 billion, nobody’s taking $5 billion for 31 years but they don’t know if they are going to get out or not,” Gillispie said during the press conference. “Nobody’s taking that. The money is irrelevant. It’s about showing that we were right. The money is just to help me survive and help my family—my family is buried in debt from this…”
“The money doesn’t fix me, it doesn’t fix the lost time,” he said. “It doesn’t fix the mental anguish and the PTSD that I got from this. It doesn’t do a thing for it.”