FORT MYERS, Fla. – A convicted child rapist from Fort Myers is being granted a new trial.
Richard McDade, 68, was arrested in 2011 for the sexual abuse of a young girl. He was convicted by a Lee County jury and sentenced to life in prison, but now that’s all been thrown out.
McDade’s victim secretly recorded conversations with her attacker to be used as evidence against him.
Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court ruled jurors should never have heard the tapes.
Prosecutors say McDade raped the girl from the time she was 10 until she was 16. At 16, the girl used an mp3 device to secretly record two conversations between herself and McDade to use as evidence against him.
“The recordings were ambiguous. (McDade said) things like, ‘Well we wouldn’t be having these problems if you’d do what I want you to do’,” McDade’s attorney Christopher Cosden told WINK News Thursday.
Florida law states both parties must agree to being recorded when audio is involved. Because of that, McDade’s lawyer appealed the conviction and won. Florida Supreme Court justices ruled that the recordings were not admissible in court.
Local advocates for victims of sexual abuse are calling the ruling absurd.
“I actually think that being able to record, in many cases, is going be the only way to actually get that evidence. It’s so hard to prove in court,” said Christine Kobie with Abuse Counseling & Treatment.
McDade is now entitled to a new trial and the recordings will not be used as evidence.
Cosden said it’s possible a deal could be reached before the case goes to retrial.