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NCFM Deborah & Jael’s Warriors Against False Accusations Member Melissa McFadden, “Destructive Lies: True Stories of Them, Too”

January 5, 2021
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Hello, I’m Melissa McFadden, founder of Reset Missouri, social worker, wife and mother of four. In 2016, my quaint, middle class life was turned on its head when my eldest child, Tony, was falsely accused of rape. Despite not having a criminal history, Tony was held on a $100,000 cash only bail for 15 months in county jail.

Having never experienced anything like this before, my husband and I hired an attorney who was in way over his head. After a year and a half and $40,000 invested in ill-equipped attorneys, Tony was convicted of a crime he did not commit. The pre-sentencing recommendation determined by an assigned probation and parole officer was probation. However, because of minimum sentencing guidelines, he was, instead sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Tony, I have discovered, is one of many people who has been falsely accused of a crime for which he was actually innocent. It felt necessary to inform others of these false accusations. With that in mind, Destructive Lies: Trues Stories of Them, Too was born. The stories told are the true accounts of people who have been accused of something that they were not guilty of committing. Lives have been ruined, families have been torn apart, and innocent people have been sentenced to prison.

While telling the stories of those who have been harmed by these lies, I have also founded Reset Missouri, a transitional living home for men who leave prison with the added burden of the sex offense registry. Tony, who had been a Dean’s List college student at the time of his arrest, will leave prison with the harsh punishment of the sex offense registry. This means he will not be able to work or live where he wants. He will have many barriers to overcome, and Reset Missouri will be there for those like Tony and others who have to face this extra burden.

There is no other crime where a person serves their sentence only to be restricted and punished in a very public way. There are close to a million Americans on the sex offense registry. Those who have been put on this registry, those who are destined to be on the list after serving a prison sentence, and those who have narrowly escaped it, have stories to tell. Not all of the people on the registry are innocent, but those that are, need their voices to be heard.

Reset Missouri and Destructive Lies: True Stories of Them, Too were not the only positive things that have come from this horrific experience. I have also found support, friendship and allies in the NCFM group, Deborah and Jael’s Warriors. Lori DeBolt invited me to connect, and I am so grateful she did. We are determined to use our voices to make a change for the men that have been wronged. Men like Tony! Men who are innocent! Men whom we love!

national coalition for men

NCFM Deborah & Jael’s Warriors Against False Accusations Member Melissa McFadden, “Destructive Lies: True Stories of Them, Too”

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