NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Time behind bars is winding down for Cyntoia Brown. Come August 6th, she will have served exactly 15 years for killing Johnny Allen. In her clemency hearing last year, she admitted it and apologized saying, “I did that and I can't fix it.”
Brown will have lots of support once she’s out. A Williamson County family has offered her a place to live, she has an A-list pro bono legal team, pro bono therapist, people raising money for her and job offers already.
Derri Smith founded End Slavery Tennessee rehabilitating girls caught up in the sex trafficking industry. Her biggest concern? Brown could be exploited now ... in a different way.
“She's become a bit of a celebrity. A lot of people have her as a poster child for different causes and they need to be aware that the best thing they can do is not hound her, ask her to speak for them, want to meet her. Give her some space," Smith explained.
End Slavery Tennessee is already planning to welcome her into their community of survivors and Smith says they’d do that in a way that protects her from being exploited or exposing her to more publicity than she needs.
The documentary Me Facing Life traces Brown's childhood trauma through three generations of abuse against women. Cyntoia, her mom, her grandmom, all were raped. Medical tests show Brown's brain delays from exposure to alcohol before she was even born.
Former Governor Bill Haslam in a FOX 17 News exclusive interview explained why he granted her clemency adding, “She really proved her case herself and I think we should all just be happy for her.”
However, not everybody is. That’s a hard reality she'll also face on the outside. Johnny Allen's friends are keeping his memory and their anti-clemency sentiment alive on a Facebook page dedicated to him. Though court documents show Allen picked the 16-year-old up for sex the night she killed him, his friends say the exaggerations on social media hurt the most.
They too want something from Cyntoia Brown once she's out. Allen’s friend Ben Lamb says, “I would like her to help quash some of the more nasty rumors about him. I think that would go a long way toward the healing of family and friends. Most people aren't going to listen to us, but they'll listen to her because she's the star of their show.”
A viral show sparked by FOX 17 News coverage of her clemency case in 2017. It’s something she nor her attorneys ever expected. Attorney Charles Bone finishes with this, “Give her a chance to show what she can do. I think as a speaker, as a writer, she's going to be an amazing person to help young people, especially young women who have been subjected to this kind of situation.”
In due time because a second chance, in the spotlight... will take time.