Man sentenced to 300 years for child sex crimes freed on technicality

Posted at 4:35 AM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-01 04:35:38-05

GRAND JUNCTION, CO (KREX/CNN) – A Colorado man, who was convicted in 2015 on charges he sexually assaulted six young boys and girls, is now free after his conviction was thrown out on a technicality.

After news broke that 46-year-old Michael McFadden was released from prison Tuesday, Kathi Raley, victim assistance coordinator at the district attorney’s office, was on the phone non-stop.

"Voicemails – several from mothers of victims, who legitimately are fearful for their children and their children's safety,” Raley said.

Raley says, unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to offer much help to the victims.

“This is now a case that will just be dismissed and set aside. So, it's an unfortunate situation that they're all in,” she said.

McFadden appealed his conviction, claiming pre-trial delays violated Colorado’s speedy trial statutes.

This past June, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in McFadden’s favor, throwing out his conviction and ruling he could not be retried.

District Attorney Dan Rubenstein says the outcome is something he never saw coming.

"Frankly, I am completely appalled with the decision. I find it offensive that our justice system would allow this to happen,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein says McFadden asked for a continuance of his trial twice – at which point a speedy trial was automatically waived – but on his third continuance, McFadden decided to assert his speedy trial rights.

According to Rubenstein, there are two types of speedy trials: constitutional or statutory.

In the state of Colorado, statutory speedy right trials require a time frame of six months, but with a constitutional speedy trial, there is no time frame, depending on the case.

"There's prior precedent from other cases, where the court has said that constitutional rights outweigh statutory rights,” Rubenstein said.

Still, the appeals court ruled the statutes had been violated.

When the district attorney’s office appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, the high court decided not to hear the case, upholding the lower court’s ruling.

Because of that decision, McFadden was freed from prison, leaving many families in the community outraged.

"The justice system completely failed in this situation, and you've heard the phrase before ‘got off on a technicality’? This is that situation to the most stark sense I've ever seen it,” Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein says McFadden does not even have to register as a sex offender.

It is unclear where McFadden plans to live following his release.

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