So hello Prison Radio listeners. I hope this message finds you all well. My name is Eric Knutson and I am currently serving a 201-month sentence, residing at MCF-Lino Lakes, 7525 4th Ave, Lino Lakes, MN 55014, for a sexual assault crime I did not commit.
In February of 2012, my daughter was sexually abused at her in-home daycare provider’s house in Rochester, MN. I had no idea that her abuse had been intentional or severe because it was minimized by her provider like it was no big deal, and because I had trusted her opinion of it, and because of my own disbelief that anything like this could have possibly been done intentionally.
Through these beliefs, I unintentionally neglected her–and for the record, for all of you listening out there, I have never hurt or victimized a child, woman, or person for any of that matter, nor do I condone that kind of behavior. It was because of indirect lies that I had made to investigators before I even knew why they were questioning me that made me look suspicious. I was ultimately afraid that investigators or social services would perceive me as an unfit parent because of my neglect and would remove my daughters from me.
I lied out of fear and selfishness, but because of those lies investigators speculated, formulating a case strung together by inferences suggesting that I was responsible for her assault. Despite the lies that the provider was caught up in, that investigators found text messages of her drug-seeking on the day of my daughter’s assault, and even the fact that on the day, both her and her husband were to give a hair follicle sample to account for a hair found during my daughter’s examination, he shaved his head, investigators still focused on me.
Not even a walkthrough was done on their residence. No physical evidence suggested that I was responsible for the assault. In fact, it was the opposite. 10 days following it, I was arrested and charged, never wavering in my innocence. My oldest daughter gave numerous statements telling investigators that I was a good father, nothing made her scared when she was with me and at home, and that I never hit, spanked, or yelled at her and her sister, and ultimately that she did not know how this happened.
I plead not guilty through all stages of the process, even turning down a plea deal for 18 months while I was facing a potential sentence of over 200. On December 12th, my jury trial commenced with an inexperienced trial attorney who had more of her own personal interests in mind than my daughter’s justice and my freedom. It is my belief that she threw the case to solidify her job offer to be the new Chief Public Defender for the county I was prosecuted in, Olmsted County, MN. After a five-day trial, I was found guilty because, according to one juror, “We would much rather have found someone guilty who may be innocent than let someone who may be guilty go free.”
Since the conviction, I have filed appeals, worked with the Innocence Project organization, written magazine articles, newspapers, written investigators in efforts to reopen the case and to retest evidence, and the list goes on and on. Officials have done everything they can to sweep all of their errors—the fact that there was a rush to judgment and that my trial was unfair—under the rug. The criminal justice system is truly blind, and it is apparently much easier to uphold a conviction than it is to overturn it, even when there are obvious injustices.
I’m leaving this message for anyone who can help me in any way possible. I fall asleep the same way as I did every night, but last night I saw my beautiful girls, a distraught father, but refusing to stop fighting for them. I am forever grateful to their family now. I don’t have words that come close to describe the thanks I have for you. You have given my daughters the love, guidance, and support that they truly deserve. And to my daughters, Hannah and Abigail, if you can hear me right now, I want you to know that you are with me every minute of the day. You are my inspiration, my love, my strength, and know that I miss and love you so much. I will never stop fighting for you, ever. You are the stars in my sky, and I am so sorry I couldn’t be there for you.
So please, if there is anyone out there that can help me and my family, please contact me at MCF Lino-Lakes, 7525 4th Avenue, Lino Lakes, MN 55014, Eric Scott Knutson, #240094. Thank you and I hope that you take advantage of every moment you have with your children. Don’t take them for granted, and tell them that you love them, and be there for them and protect them. Thank you so much.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.