Tommy Braden was cleared last year of raping his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter when he was finally given the DNA test that the sheriff had denied for months, calling it a “waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Now Braden plans to sue the Creek County Sheriff’s Office for wrongful arrest.
Tommy Braden was arrested in April 2012, charged with the brutal rape of his girlfriend’s young daughter. Since the day of his arrest, Braden pleaded with the Sheriff’s Office for a DNA test he believed would prove him innocent but was denied.
“From day one he’s begging them to do a DNA test,” said Braden’s attorney, Don Smolen. “They said they weren’t going to do that because it was a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.”
A judge finally approved the DNA test on July 3, which showed a match not for Braden but for a convicted felon who lived nearby to the family at the time of the girl’s rape.
In the time Braden was in jail the alleged perpetrator, Patrick Edward Misner, had moved away to Portland and was arrested on an unrelated manner.
After Braden was cleared of raping the 4-year-old, he struggled to return to his normal life. He dropped more than 60 pounds and had an order of protection from his girlfriend, though they have since reconciled.
“Three months later — after his life’s gone to hell – the results he’s been asking them to do comes up that he’s not the guy,” Smolen said. “Why wouldn’t you do a DNA test? Even if it was him, why not do a test and confirm it? Why take three months?”
After he was cleared, Tommy Braden railed against the lack of evidence in the case. Police relied on a polygraph test that showed we was deceptive in answering questions about the girl and an identification the 4-year-old made after a long questioning period.
“They had a lot of evidence they say pointed to me,” Braden said. “They lied to people, manipulating people against me. Very frustrating.”
The man cleared of raping the 4-year-old girl has given the sheriff 90 days to respond. Tommy Braden said he plans to file a civil rights lawsuit in federal court if it is not answered.