BAKERSFIELD, Calif., April 30 (UPI) -- A California judge refused to free a man from jail after admitting he was innocent of a crime for which he already spent nearly 20 years behind bars.
John Stoll, 60, has been jailed nearly two decades as the result of a widely discredited child molestation case that landed numerous suspects in jail.
On Friday -- as expected -- Kern County Superior Court Judge John Kelly vacated Stoll's 1985 child molestation conviction, the Bakersfield Californian reported.
Lawyers from the California Innocence Project then asked Kelly to immediately release Stoll on bail.
But the judge refused, saying Stoll's release could be taken up next week.
In 1984 a jury convicted Stoll after six boys accused him and three other defendants of molesting them at his home.
In hearings earlier this year, four of the alleged victims, now adults, testified Stoll never molested them and they were pressured into lying about the events by a Child Protective Services worker and a sheriff's investigator.
Stoll was among 46 defendants who were prosecuted in eight alleged child molestation rings in Kern County in the 1980s.