What Happened to a Texas Football Star After He Went to Prison for Sexually Assaulting a Young Boy?

Greg Kelley in Showtime docuseries Outcry

Showtime Greg Kelley in Showtime docuseries Outcry

In 2014, Greg Kelley, a high school football star from Leander, Texas, was sentenced to 25 years without parole for the sexual assault of a 4-year-old boy. The story came to the attention of documentary filmmaker Pat Kondelis because as time went on, there was mounting evidence that the Cedar Park Police Department mishandled the investigation.

Kondelis, who won an Emmy for his documentary about the murder of Patrick Dennehy and subsequent cover-up at Baylor University, started digging into Kelley’s case. His work was eventually turned into a five-part investigative docuseries for Showtime called Outcry, which airs on five Sundays beginning July 5.

Ahead of its premiere, here’s what you need to know about Kelley’s case and what eventually happened to him, but be warned of spoilers for Outcry.

Kelley Was Freed in 2019

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After serving three years of his 25-year sentence — he was released on bond during the appeal process in 2017 — Kelley was exonerated in November 2019 when his conviction was overturned and the current District Attorney of Williamson County said that he had no plans to retry the case.

When Kelley was exonerated, Judge Donna King found Kelley “actually innocent” and apologized for the “systemic failure” of the original investigation and trial, according to Austin’s KVUE. By being found “actually innocent,” Kelley will be entitled to compensation under the Innocence Act for $80,000 for every year he was incarcerated, according to legal experts that spoke with KVUE.

“Your case was polarizing,” said King. “I was convinced that the guilty conviction was unjust … I declare you innocent, and you are fully exonerated,”

“At this time, I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. In the system of justice, the gavel has importance. It signifies what was is no longer and at this time the state’s motion to dismiss the indictment is granted – what was is no longer,” she concluded, rapping her gavel on the bench.

In court, Kelley said, “To the victim and his family, I’m absolutely sorry you have to go through this. Believe me, your opinion matters. For six years, I not only had to prove to the state I didn’t do this, but I had to prove to you that I didn’t do this. The justice system failed me and you. Today, I received justice while you remain failed. All victims deserve justice the first time around … I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life creating memories with people I hold near and dear to my heart.”

During his appeal process, Kelley decided to try to walk on to the University of Texas football team and began training with former Longhorn running back Jeremy Hills.

“One thing I’ve realized through all these years is there were times I wasn’t the strongest, times I was broken in prison, times I saw my family broken, times I was strong, times I had to embrace my reality. If I ever get the chance to play football, I want coaches to know I’m pretty damn good at suffering. I’m not looking to be a charity case. I just want to get back what was taken from me, what was stripped from me,” Kelley told Sports Illustrated in June 2020.

According to KXAN, Kelley found out in December 2019 that he was accepted to the University of Texas. He will be eligible to try out as a walk-on for its football program in the fall of 2020.

Kelley Was Originally Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Two 4-Year-Old Boys

OUTCRY (2020) Official First Look | 5-Part Series | Premieres July 5th On SHOWTIMEAn exclusive first look clip from the upcoming Showtime Sports documentary series OUTCRY. OUTCRY examines the gripping story of high school football star Greg Kelley, his controversial conviction and the quest for truth and justice as the case unfolds. The 5-part series premieres July 5th at 10pm E.T/P.T on SHOWTIME #SHOSports #Outcry Subscribe to the…2020-05-04T16:43:31Z

In August 2013, Kelley was accused of sexually assaulting two 4-year-old boys at an in-home daycare operated by a friend of his family. According to KVUE, there was no physical evidence linking Kelley to the crimes, only the testimony of the victims. But at the 2014 trial, one of the boys recanted his testimony.

But the testimony of one of the victims was enough. The jury found Kelley guilty and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole.

Many in the community believed Kelley was falsely accused and worked tirelessly to appeal his conviction. In 2017, authorities reopened the investigation after Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick received “credible” evidence that someone else may have committed the crime.

According to court documents obtained by KVUE, Johnathan McCarty, the son of the woman who ran the in-home daycare where the assault occurred, was the alternative subject identified by authorities. He was arrested on an unrelated drug charge and probation violation, which led authorities to discover photos of children on his phone, one of which featured a naked child of approximately 5 years of age.

When they searched McCarty’s home computer, they found more pictures of naked children and that McCarty frequently went to child pornography websites. The documents also said that McCarty allegedly confessed to the crime while at a party several months after Kelley went to prison.

In February 2019, McCarty was sentenced to four years in prison on the unrelated drug charges, according to KXAN. After he was named as an alternative suspect in the Kelley case, a woman came forward who said that McCarty drugged and sexually assaulted her several years ago when she was 15 years old. In the arrest affidavit, a Texas Ranger who worked on the case wrote that several people told him McCarty had allegedly sexually assaulted women in four different counties.

In November 2019, Kelley’s attorney Keith Hampton told Austin’s CBS affiliate that he’s not sure if McCarty will ever be charged in the crime.

“This particular child said Greg. And he’s never said anything but Greg and he said it under oath. It’s testimony, so how does a prosecutor overcome that,” said Hampton.

Outcry airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

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