Researchers: More than 2,000 false convictions in past 23 years

In 1984, two North Carolina girls, age 4 and 6, were molested. They told police their abuser was Sylvester Smith, who was dating the mother of one of the girls, and he went to prison for the crime.

Twenty years later, the victims recanted, saying their grandmother told them to blame Smith, and his conviction was overturned.

But the person they say who really molested them — their cousin, who was nine at the time — could not be prosecuted because he was under age at the time of the alleged crime. He is, however, serving a life sentence for another crime he committed in the meantime: murder.

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