TACOMA — A federal court jury in Tacoma has awarded $9 million to a former Vancouver, Wash., police officer who was wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing his children in the 1980s and spent nearly 20 years in prison.
Ray Spencer had alleged false imprisonment and malicious prosecution in the lawsuit he filed against Clark County. The Columbian reports that jurors returned their verdict Monday.
Spencer’s conviction was vacated by the Washington state Court of Appeals in 2009, and charges were officially dismissed in September 2010.
Spencer’s lead lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, told the jury that awarding money was the only way to recognize what she called “the incredible travesty of justice” that led to his prison time.
A county spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
The appeals court allowed Spencer to withdraw the plea he entered in 1985, in which he acknowledged that a jury would likely find him guilty. He always maintained his innocence.