'I'm glad it's over,' former Miami Beach police officer says after being acquitted of sexual battery
Oldy Ochoa says he hopes accuser's life gets 'back on track'
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A former Miami Beach police officer, once accused of sexual battery on a teen he met on the job, has been acquitted.
For the first time, he and his family are sharing their side of the story about how their attempt to do a good deed turned into a nightmare.
Together, Oldy and Joan Ochoa have 50 years of law enforcement experience helping people in Miami Beach.
They went further four years ago when they took in a troubled teen girl with the intentions of helping her get her life back on track.
But the girl accused Oldy Ochoa of sexual battery.
The Ochoa's are now picking up the pieces of their lives after a jury acquitted the former officer of sexual battery.
"I'm glad it's over and I just hope my name gets cleared -- all those people who got to see the stories about that detective who took advantage of this young lady that he took into his home can actually listen to what the story is," Oldy Ochoa said.
The story is one that taught the Ochoa family the hard way that there is truth to the saying: "No good deed goes unpunished."
Oldy Ochoa was a homicide detective and worked special victims cases when he came into contact with his accuser.
The teen was a runaway, in foster care and had gotten into trouble for bringing a knife to school.
The teen also accused her sister's boyfriend and her grandfather of sexual abuse.
"We may have been naive to think this could work, but you always hope that you can do something that changes somebody's life," Joan Ochoa said.
The Ochoa family said they gave the teen both love and discipline.
"She was very frustrated with school, didn't like accountability -- we've always held our kids accountable," Joan Ochoa said.
Two months later, the 17-year-old was due for a drug test. She ran away and that night reported that Oldy Ochoa inappropriately touched her and had sex with her.
"I knew what was coming just because the nature of the allegation," Oldy Ochoa said. "I'd been a cop for 20 something years. I investigated crimes against children. I knew all of the sudden my whole career, my whole life was coming to a screeching halt."
"He's a good man," Joan Ochoa said. "He was at the top of his field in homicide. You know, he took so much pride in what he did and to watch everything just get taken away -- you know, the day he called me and said, 'They're taking my gun and badge. I'm on my way home' -- I couldn't breathe."
An investigation ensued and a warrant was issued for Oldy Ochoa's arrest.
"I went to jail and spent that one day in jail for something I didn't do," Oldy Ochoa said.
Oldy Ochoa's mugshot was plastered on TV's and disturbing details in an arrest report were made public.
"They thought they had Oldy Ochoa's sperm cells mixed with the DNA of (the teen), and it wasn't," attorney Robert Buschel said. "It was Oldy Ochoa's skin cells. Your DNA is on my table, and mine is on this table right now, and that doesn't mean anything more than you and I are sitting at this table, and they misinterpreted that and that's what led to the arrest."
The lives of the South Florida police officers were turned upside down because they tried to help someone else try to get theirs together.
The case went to trial four years later.
"This was a trial for Oldy Ochoa's life. You can't do 60 years in prison -- that's a life sentence -- so he's always maintained his innocence. The evidence stacked up that way," Buschel said.
Oldy Ochoa's accuser testified during the trial and admitted that she had told "little lies."
After just 45 minutes of deliberating, Oldy Ochoa was found not guilty.
The ordeal has brought the Ochoa's back to their Catholic faith. They serve dinner every Friday night at their church and still hope the young lady eventually finds her way.
"I still wish that somehow her life would go back on track," Oldy Ochoa said. "And now she's a mother of two and I have knowledge of her family from way back when and I know that family has been through so many ordeals, and I hope that doesn't happen to her girls."
Oldy Ochoa was forced to resign from the force as he needed his retirement benefits to care for his family amid the allegations.
But he said there is at least one unsolved homicide case he hopes to be able to open back up, because he wants to get justice for the victim.
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