Ronnie Mark Gariepy
Although the rape allegation had been fabricated, Ronnie Mark Gariepy pled guilty
Ronnie Mark Gariepy pleaded guilty in 1992 of sexually assaulting his 13-year-old stepdaughter the previous year in Hutchinson County, Texas. There was no corroboration of the accuser's story, but Gariepy pleaded guilty after authorities persuaded him that he might have committed the crime during an alcoholic blackout.
The purported victim recanted her allegation 18 months after Gariepy was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Although local authorities believed the recantation and supported Gariepy's post-conviction innocence claim, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals twice denied his appeals without published opinions.
After Gariepy was paroled in 1999, at age the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended that he be granted a pardon bases on innocence. Governor George W. Bush accepted the recommendation, officially proclaiming Gariepy, now age 41, innocent on August 15, 2000.