Alyssa tried to make it all stop on the day of her testimony. She admitted she was lying to her aunt, who took her to see the prosecutor. But he didn’t want to hear it. He needed a ‘win,’ and threatened Alyssa not to tell the truth by locking her in another room.

After the trial, Alyssa told a friend that her allegations against John were a lie.

In 2006, Alyssa admitted to the court that she lied. She had lived with the guilt of seeing an innocent man in prison for too long. She wanted to do the right thing. She wanted to tell the truth: John never abused her in any way.

But the legal system didn’t want to hear the truth. A judge tried to order a new trial, but higher courts have since denied John his day in court.

In front of newspapers and cameras, Alyssa continues to bravely tell the truth: how she made a terrible mistake as a little girl. And how no one in the legal system wanted to listen when she admitted it.

      An excerpt from Alyssa’s recantation

On the morning of her testimony, Alyssa tried over and over to call her aunt. Alyssa told her aunt that she never thought her lie would go this far.

Her aunt took Alyssa to tell the lead prosecutor that Alyssa was lying. Instead of asking Alyssa follow-up questions to find out the truth, he started yelling about not wanting his work on the case to be a waste of time.

He threatened to put Alyssa in ‘kid jail’ if she didn’t go forward with her testimony. He sequestered her in a guarded room until her testimony. He made her keep lying.

“I was petrified of what and how the prosecutor would react if I didn’t say what I had been coached by him to say on a few occasions.”

- Alyssa, John’s former accuser

In the years after, trial, fear of legal consequences for admitting perjury kept Alyssa from coming forward with the truth. She was still a young girl, with fresh memories of those threats. So, she told a friend instead.

When she turned 18, Alyssa spent her own money to drive to Louisiana from her home in Colorado to give a sworn recantation. Once again, prosecutors threatened her with perjury charges. This time, she told the truth anyway.

She kept telling the truth at a hearing in front of a judge. The truth that John never harmed or abused her. The judge struggled to decide what to believe, but ordered a new trial. He knew that without Alyssa’s testimony, no juror could vote to convict John. Without Alyssa’s lie, nothing stood in the way of the truth. John Kinsel is innocent, but still in prison.