March 20, 2014

Man falsely convicted of 1991 assault at UWO seeks compensation

3-20-2014 Wisconsin:

MADISON — An Oshkosh man who served eight years of a 102-year sentence after being falsely convicted of sexual assault is seeking $25,000 from the state, the maximum awarded innocent former inmates.

When Joseph Frey left the Winnebago County Jail in July 2013, he was broke, homeless, in need of medication for a degenerative bone disease and other health issues, and did not qualify for the help the state offers convicted felons.

Frey, 54, was convicted in 1994 of sexually assaulting a female University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh student despite a lack of physical evidence tying him to the crime or the victim being able to identify him, Tricia Bushnell, of the Wisconsin Innocence Project told the Wisconsin Claims Board Wednesday.

“No amount of money can give back the years he has spent in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, but $25,000 is a great start,” Bushnell said.

In January 1991, the woman was assaulted in her bed by a knife-wielding stranger in the middle of the night. Prior to Frey’s trial, all of the crime scene evidence was destroyed except the woman’s bed sheets.

Frey became a suspect in the case based on a tip Green Bay police passed on to the Oshkosh Police Department, Bushnell said.

In 1994, Frey was tried in Winnebago County and Frey was convicted and sentenced, even though jurors were told that evidence found on the victim’s sheets excluded him. ..Continued.. by Kevin Murphy

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