Family vows to free Joseph Allen - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Family vows to free Lorain County man imprisoned on controversial conviction

Joseph Allen Joseph Allen

The story of Joseph Allen is a troubling one for many reasons.  A man who was out of prison for four years living a quiet life in Lorain.  A man sent back on questionable evidence.

Allen was the co-defendant with Nancy Smith in the infamous Head Start sex abuse case. Under extreme pressure from parents at the school, they were prosecuted and convicted of Smith driving her bus with children on it to Allen's home where he would abuse them.

Much evidence was not seen by the jury, most damning to prosecutors was a videotape of parents and even detectives coaching the children to pick Allen out of a line up, even pinching a child to get a reaction when asked to look at Allen. The jury never saw it.

His family is heartbroken, but vows to work to free him.

"His hope is the truth will come out and that is our hope as well," said Smith's niece Cassandra. "Because even with documentation and the video the truth is there but it seems like it is being ignored."

Here is another discrepancy in the case - the kids say the abuse happened in Allen's basement. Where he lived there were no basements.

Allen's only hope is a pardon from the Governor.  As things stand, he faces about 10 more years locked up.  Any chance before the parole board would have to include him admitting a crime he insists he didn't commit.  

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