ST. LOUIS – A man wrongfully accused of a sex crime says the support from Fox 2 viewers is welcome and overwhelming.
“There have been times I wanted to give up, you know?” said Curtis Scott Hansen. “The hardest part is for my kids.”
Hansen says everywhere he goes now, people are supporting him and it’s bringing back his 30 years of emotions.
“They’re like, ‘Man, I hope you get justice, I really do,’ a couple pats on the back, and it was emotional,” he said. “I had to walk outside of the building because it’s tough.”
For decades, Hansen has had to register as a sex offender, despite the fact that all three of his nephews say Hansen did not molest them.
Clinton, Jason, and Charles Britton say they were manipulated as little kids in the Missouri foster care system. They didn’t know at the time that their caseworker—Don Manhal—would later be convicted of child molestation. They only knew Manhal as someone who met with them one-on-one, promising they could return to their mom and dad if they talked about sex and named one of their relatives.
All three Brittons have also gone under oath denying abuse. They hoped it would get the governor’s attention – that a state social worker tried grooming them when they were 8, 9, and 10 years of age.
During a 2006 deposition, an attorney asked Charles Britton, “What was (Manhal’s) response to you when you tried to say you were not molested?”
“He would say I’m just holding in myself, I need to open up, then eventually said I was crazy and he’d put me in a crazy hospital,” said Charles, who was about 10 years old when he said Manhal was pressuring him to lie about sex.
Matt Radefeld is the attorney who’s asked Missouri’s governor to clear Hansen.
Radefeld said the application “went to the first probation officer. They read through everything and was like, ‘Oh my goodness. I want to show this to my supervisor!’ It went to that supervisor. That supervisor said, ‘Oh my goodness. This is a real pardon!’”
“I would be speculating to wonder why it is still sitting on the governor’s desk when there is probably no other pardon that has ever been submitted that is at least three to four inches thick,” Radefeld said.
That was 10 years ago.
“I just want my life back,” Hansen said. “I just want it to be easier for my kids, for my grandkids. I want to be able to be around my grandkids and not have somebody looking at me.”
Fox 2 asked Missouri’s Department of Social Services to look into other child protection cases overseen by convicted child molester Don Manhal, who died in prison. A spokesman for the agency says that’s private information and they cannot answer our questions.