BY JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A man is suing the County of Kern, saying county officials violated his civil rights by improperly prosecuting him for child molestation in 1985 during the dramatic 1980s prosecution of eight alleged child molestation rings.
Grant Self was convicted and spent decades in prison before he was granted parole in 2000. Then he was classified as a sexually violent predator and sent to a state mental hospital, said Chief Deputy County Counsel Mark Nations.
Nations, who will defend the county in the case, said Self's conviction was eventually overturned after the Kern County District Attorney's office refused to produce the one remaining witness who had not recanted his accusations against Self.
"The judge would not not consider his lack of recantation without access to him," Nations said.
The conviction was overturned in 2008, which resulted in Self eventually being released from the mental hospital in February 2009 after his sexually violent predator designation was lifted.
Self is still required to register as a sex offender because of a molestation conviction prior to the 1985 case.
Nearly all the convictions in the molestation ring cases were reversed after victims recanted their accusations and judges ruled that investigators had improperly questioned the then-children and pressured them to accuse suspects.
The case was filed earlier this month. Nations said no trial date has been set.
Attempts to contact Self's attorney Wednesday evening were unsuccessful.
Self was a co-defendant with John Stoll, whose pool house he was living in at the time of the alleged crimes.
Stoll's 1985 conviction was overturned in 2004 and he later sued Kern County over his conviction and won a $5.5 million settlement in 2009.
Nations said Self's suit against the county focuses on similar accusations that the county improperly investigated the case against him and put him in prison on false charges -- a violation of his civil rights.