MANILA, Aug. 2 (UPI) — Scott McMahon, a Seattle-area man who has been imprisoned in the Philippines for five years, was acquitted of rape charges by a judge on Tuesday.
McMahon, 45, was one of the longest-imprisoned U.S. citizens in a foreign country not convicted of a crime, according to legal experts. The case against him was solely based on a woman’s accusations and McMahon was jailed without any physical evidence, court documents indicated.
A Manila judge ruled the case could not proceed because the accuser was lying.
“We are beyond ecstatic to announce that Scott was declared innocent of all charges today!” the Freedom for Scott McMahon group said in a statement on Facebook. “There are some bureaucratic steps before he is able to leave the Philippines.”
McMahon told The Seattle Times last year he was wrongfully imprisoned because a woman sought revenge after he filed a criminal complaint against her. The California-based David House Agency crisis-management group took the case and made efforts to free McMahon.
“A judge decided that the woman who accused Scott McMahon of rape made the story up in retaliation — after McMahon accused her of abusing his children,” the Freedom for Scott McMahon group said.
McMahon moved to the Philippines in 2003 and started a family there. He was a heavy metal guitarist and later became a construction worker.
Before returning to the United States, McMahon will need to pay thousands of dollars in fines for overstaying his visa that expired while he was imprisoned. He plans to travel to Seattle, and his wife and two children, who are all citizens of the Philippines, will join him later in the United States.