One Colorado man was charged with so many counts of sexual abuse against children that he was sentenced to 300 years behind bars. However, according to local reports, he was able to walk away, and he is now a free man. If you wonder how such thing could be possible, it turns out that he simply took advantage of a technicality.
46-year-old Michael Tracy McFadden was already serving his sentence at the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility in Colorado—where he was expected to spend the rest of his life.
McFadden was sent there immediately after being convicted for the numerous crimes he committed against many boys and girls prior to 2015.
McFadden decided to appeal the conviction he received based on the fact that he was not given a “speedy trial”, which is a right protected by the constitution. Several courts took his appeal under account and agreed on it; their decisions meant that McFadden was going to be set free, and that’s already a fact.
Since last week, the child molester has technically been a free man. But there’s an even more unbelievable twist in the initial story—it was decided that he did not need to be registered as a sex offender, since his convictions are going to be vacated.
But that applies only for his 2015 conviction.
As one investigator found out, he would still need to register himself as a sexual offender due to another assault sentence he received back in 1990.
Local reports state that McFadden faced charges of molesting young boys and girls for some years prior to the trial in 2015, which is when he was convicted. David Waite was the prosecutor then, and he recalled that McFadden had a pattern that he typically applied. He reportedly picked families with children that could easily be “groomed” by him, and he definitely preferred boys.
He then proceeded to befriend the children and tried to earn their trust by giving them a lot of attention.
The prosecutor added that he was always able to put himself in a situation where he could be close to the children and talk to them, thus “grooming” them little by little.
At one point, he took each victim on an ATV or a dirt-bike and drove them somewhere—he then molested them.
Waite described the whole trial in 2015 as severely traumatic for his victims, but after it finally ended, McFadden got what he deserved—a 300-year prison sentence. But surely nobody thought that he was going to get away from paying for his crimes—perhaps not even McFadden himself.
The trial was filled with problems and delays even before it started. There were issues with the documentation; a problem occurred with a questionnaire that was given to potential jury members, and all of this was followed by numerous delay requests by both the defense team and the prosecution.
Apparently McFadden was smart enough to eventually use the delays in his favor. The Constitution of the United States of America, as well as the Constitution of Colorado, both ensure that every criminal defendant should have a “speedy trial”. Most Colorado courts believe that defendants should not wait more than six months for a trial to be initiated. Since McFadden’s case took longer than the six-month period to be taken into court, his appeal stated that his constitutional rights were violated.
One court agreed with him; by doing so, his convictions were vacated. As we mentioned above, he will walk away from the whole thing as a free man, but at least he is required to register as a sex offender.
Dan Rubinstein, a Mesa County District Attorney, commented on the case, saying that the whole thing was the complete opposite of justice.
Rubinstein added that it felt frustrating to see how everybody agreed to protect McFadden’s civil rights for a faster trial.
The victim assistance coordinator at the District Attorney’s Office, Kathi Raley, reportedly said that she has received voicemails from some of the victims’ parents, who really feared for their children upon hearing the news of McFadden’s release.
Raley finds it hard to imagine how these kids managed to live through the sexual abuse and then what it was like to learn a few years later that the man who hurt them was free.