Fox Files: The man who has to register as a sex offender based on lies

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ST. LOUIS – He’s the sex offender who’s innocent. According to the reported victims, Curtis Scott Hansen didn’t do it.

Tuesday’s interview with Hansen is part of Fox 2’s ongoing investigation into why the Missouri justice system isn’t listening.

“I’ve been fighting this for 31 years of my life and it has caused me something new, every time I turn around,” Hansen said. “The neighbors looking at me wrong, not being able to go to a state park. Just recently I found my passports got pulled because of a new sex-trafficking law.”

Hansen must register as a sex offender after being falsely accused in the 80s of molesting his nephews. He would have been as young as 13 during the alleged crimes.

“I kept saying, ‘There’s no way my nephews said this because I’ve never touched them.’ I’ve never done anything to them,” he said.

We’ve shown you in prior Fox Files reports how the nephews say they were coerced into making false sex allegations by a Missouri Division of Family Services caseworker.

Hansen was unaware until police called. At the time, he thought it was his buddies.

“I thought one of them was calling me and pranking me. I was thinking, ‘What is wrong with you guys? Ok, whatever, you know you’re not funny.’”

“I was working at a place called Fresh Fish up on Page near the inner belt and one of the police departments they came by and picked me up.”

The police report from 1988 shows Hansen “stated he could not understand why the victims were accusing him of these acts.”

He had just turned 18 at the time and police were grilling him about something that supposedly happened when he was 13.

According to the police report, Hansen said, “Do you want me to admit to something I didn’t do?”

Hansen said his public defender later told him the truth didn’t matter.

“She kept telling me, ‘Here’s the problem, you put three kids up on the stand and they start telling jurors that you molested them, I don’t care if it’s true or it’s not true, they’re going to convict you.”

Faced with 30 years in prison if convicted, Hansen took a plea deal that would keep him out of prison but forced him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He’s been inside an invisible prison ever since.

“After the case went to court and I took the plea, I ran into my nephews. They were like, ‘Uncle Scotty.’ They were shocked to see me and I’m like ‘Hey, do you guys want to talk to me about something? Do you want to tell me what happened?’”

That’s when he learned his nephews said they were coerced at 8, 9, and 10 by a state family services worker who was later convicted for child molestation.

Charles, Jason, and Clinton Britton all say their caseworker, Don Manhal, had removed them from their birth home, that he had one on one private interactions with them—often talking about sex—and told the kids they could return home if they’d accuse a relative of molesting them.

Hopefully, there are no other victims out there,” Clinton said.

Clinton hopes his uncle can be cleared of a crime he didn’t commit.

“Finally, Scott, you know—and I’m sorry, you know—I’m sorry I was manipulated into saying something that would cause this,” he said. “But would I do it again? I probably would do it again. I wanted – I just was a child that wanted to go home.”

We’re asking Missouri’s Division of Family Services to review all of Don Manhal’s cases in the seven years he was a social services worker: from 1988 to 1995.

Manhal died in prison in 2010 while serving eight years for molesting a child.

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About the FOX Files

The Fox Files are groundbreaking investigations you won’t see anywhere else. The series is well known for breaking the Pam Hupp story nationally. The reports that led to the exoneration of Russ Faria. But, it is far from the only time in which our investigations led to overturned convictions and freedom for the wrongfully accused. The Fox Files investigations do not fit into just one category, other than the fact our reports shine a light on issues and corruption in ways you won’t see anywhere else.

You won’t know what to expect as our reports often take twists that surprise even Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes.

“You never know where the truth will lead and you have to keep searching for it, even when you think you might be done,” Hayes said.

From getting arrested for trying to cover a public meeting, to getting law enforcement involved in his report about a daycare fight club, the Fox Files has been at the forefront of breaking news investigations in the St. Louis area.

It doesn’t stop just in St. Louis. The Pam Hupp/Russ Faria story took him to Lincoln County. Fox 2 was the first to report, nationally, on the synthetic drug epidemic when it began in St. Charles County, MO. In St. Louis County, our Fox Files reporting led to the dismantling of some police departments, including the departments of Uplands Park and Jennings. And in the City of St. Louis, our investigations led to swift government actions, such as our report that led to the Governor’s ordered shut down of a daycare.

Our reporting in St. Louis also led to former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens’ exclusive Fox Files interviews involving his court fight to oust the chief prosecutor while attempting to prove that political corruption led to an illegal overturning of a state election.

“It’s not always bad news,” Hayes said about a recent victory for a restaurant in his coverage of a St. Clair County Illinois issue. A Fox Files report, exposing a health department’s mistake over the COVID-19 pandemic, led to an overturning of a decision, allowing the business to open for limited inside dining.

Another investigation took us to Madison County, where prosecutors praised Fox 2’s coverage while shutting down an illegal synthetic drug business – and to Monroe County, where we uncovered key evidence in the Chris Coleman murder trial.

Even the national media, continues reaching out to local affiliate Fox 2 KTVI and the Fox Files, for its work on cases that are important to St. Louis. When you see a network television’s coverage of St. Louis, you’ll often see that they gathered information that was first uncovered right here.

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