A southeastern Minnesota man imprisoned after he was wrongfully convicted of child molestation will receive nearly a half-million dollar settlement.
Roger Lee Olsen, 50, who spent two years in the Stillwater Correctional Facility after he was convicted in Houston County of criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, will be awarded $475,000, his attorney Steve Meshbesher said Tuesday.
Olsen was freed in 2008 when investigators found evidence that his accuser lied about the incident. He is among three men who will receive monetary compensation for their time incarcerated, and emotional distress and injuries under a new state law. Koua Fong Lee was convicted of vehicular homicide when his Toyota suddenly accelerated in 2006, crashing into the vehicle ahead and killing three people. He was freed three years later after it was determined he wasn’t at fault in the crash. Michael Ray Hansen served nearly seven years for murdering his infant daughter before the conviction was overturned when it was determined her skull fracture was from an accidental fall from a shopping cart.
Olsen is currently living in his hometown of La Crescent. He suffers from post-traumatic stress and his mental and physical health have declined, Meshbesher said.
“He hurts,” Meshbesher said. “It’s very difficult for him mentally and emotionally. No amount of money is going to compensate him for that…It’s not going to right the wrong.”
A three-person panel of judges and attorneys made a final determination of the payment, Meshbesher said. As required by law, the settlement will be presented to the Legislature for final approval before the state’s Office of Management and Budget disperse the money. Minnesota is the 30th state to adopt such legislation.
“Hopefully that money can be used in a way that can help him cope with these problems, psychological problems he is having because they are deep,” Meshbesher said.
“You can feel his hurt when he talks, when he talks you can feel it. There’s no question that everyone feels bad.”