Two former Creston police officers have spent four years in prison for a crime they say they didn`t commit. In March 2009, a jury convicted Jamie Christensen and John Sickels of Second Degree Sexual Abuse. Despite losing appeal after appeal, their families say they`re still fighting for justice.
“We are the ones who know him best and we truly believe in his innocence,” says wife Melissa Sickels.
“He’s spent four years of his life for doing nothing,” says Joyce Manley, Christensen’s mother.
The ex-cops who served together on the Creston Police Department are now serving a 25 year sentence at Oakdale prison. Sickels was found guilty of forcing a woman into sex at the Crestmoor Country Club. A jury believed Christensen watched the rape and tried to keep the woman quiet. Both men denied a crime was committed.
“He did commit adultery. That’s there and I’ve had to deal with that,” says Sickels. “If every man or woman who have committed adultery would have to go to prison for their acts, it would be way more overcrowded than what it is.”
Her unwavering beliefs don`t change the fact that her husband is behind bars and she’s a single mother of three. Her daughters’ relationship with their father consists of nightly phone calls and prison visits whenever they can. But those visits aren’t easy.
“It just tears him up when we walk out,” says Manley.
Manley said her son’s marriage fell apart, he lost his home and his freedom, but she won`t let him lose hope. The families started a petition asking for a new trial claiming new evidence will exonerate them. So far, hundreds of supporters have signed up in person and online.
“I’ll fight until the day I die. I believe in my son,” she says.
“I will always believe in his innocence, always,” says Sickels.
Tomorrow, supporters will meet at the State Capitol. The group, Iowans for Justice, is presenting a petition for a new trial to the Governor’s Office. The event starts at 3PM.