I'm not nearly as bad as they say: man accused of daughter's rape

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2007, 12:00am

An American awaiting extradition to the United States to answer charges of raping his daughter and distributing footage of it online has said he never hurt or threatened his 'pretty little tiger'.

Commenting publicly for the first time since his arrest at Chek Lap Kok airport on May 2 after a global manhunt, Kenneth Freeman did not deny raping his daughter, now 17, or manufacturing, possessing and distributing child pornography.

He also said he had travelled to Hong Kong from the mainland twice in the past year before Interpol issued a warrant for his arrest in March.

Freeman, 45, allegedly raped the girl when she was 13 and posted the images on the internet. His daughter appeared on the television show America's Most Wanted last December.

'I never physically hurt or threatened my daughter,' Freeman, a former reserve sheriff's deputy, said in a statement issued yesterday by his lawyer, Giles Surman.

Freeman complained in the statement that many 'terrible stories' had been written about him. 'I am not nearly as bad as they say, and I am not as good as I wish I was,' he said. He consented last month to be extradited after failing in a bid to have reporters excluded from committal proceedings in Eastern Court.

Freeman had been on the list of the 15 most wanted fugitives in the US and was arrested at the airport after arriving from the mainland.

Authorities reportedly knew Freeman was on the mainland but waited to capture him in Hong Kong as Beijing does not have an extradition treaty with the US.

Freeman apologised to the people of Hong Kong for 'bringing my problems to your city' and complimented the local legal, police and correctional system, saying he had been treated 'fairly and humanely'.

He complained that the possible penalty of six life terms in the US was 'far more than most murderers receive and highly excessive'.

'The American Justice Department and prosecutors have charged me with multiple class-A felony crimes that have a total maximum penalty,' he said in the statement, which ended with a message apparently addressed to his daughter.

'Pretty little tiger, please try to remember me well. I will always love you. Goodbye.'

He said he had written an autobiography in prison that told his side of the 'complex' story.

'No person is two-dimensional, all evil or all good,' Freeman said.

He said the book, if published, would be a cautionary tale for 'other men to learn from my sad fate so they avoid choices that will also lead to their destruction'. Any profits would go 'to those who have suffered due to my fleeing the USA, my daughter, my wife and my mother'.

No date has been set for Freeman's extradition.

A spokesman for the Public Security Bureau said it would not comment on individual extradition cases.