- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - A Grand Rapids-area man who spent nearly 17 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit said poor police work landed him behind bars.

Quentin Carter’s conviction was erased by a Kent County judge Thursday, a few weeks after prosecutor William Forsyth apologized and said the 1992 case was wrong.

“You can’t describe it. You can only be happy,” Carter, 40, told WOOD-TV (http://bit.ly/1LuFU9p ).

He said he missed his grandmother - “my biggest supporter - while he was in prison. He also had surgery and chemotherapy for a brain tumor behind bars but no family or friends were around to help him recover.

Carter was almost 17 when he was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against a 10-year-old girl. He was steadfast in declaring his innocence and refused sex offender therapy, which hurt his chances for an earlier parole. He was released from prison in 2008.

Police in recent months learned that a man had coerced the girl and her mother to blame Carter for the 1991 assault because of an unpaid debt.

“Grand Rapids Police Department - they are to blame, not me, not the victims,” Carter said. “The victim was told to tell that I did it. It was your job to figure out did I do it or not, but you didn’t do your job.”

After a new investigation, Forsyth said he came to the “inescapable conclusion” that Carter was innocent. He called it “every prosecutor’s nightmare.”

Forsyth has defended the police, saying there was evidence that the victim had been beaten. There was no DNA evidence against Carter, however, and the girl’s mother waited 10 days to take her to a hospital.

“Could anybody conceive that somebody is going to beat a 10-year-old girl to the point where he falsely has her accuse somebody of committing his crime that he had done to her?” Forsyth told WOOD.

Judge George Buth ordered state police to remove Carter from Michigan’s sex offender registry.

Now, said Carter, “you got to move on with your life.”

___

Information from: WOOD-TV, http://www.woodtv.com

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