Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
February 17, 2024 ·  4 min read

Woman Claims She Lied as a Child About Mom’s Boyfriend Abusing Her, and Now He’s Serving Life in Prison.

Dr. Phil is well-known for hosting a talk show, often involving a lot of drama. People on the show are almost always crying, yelling at one another, or running off stage. Nonetheless, he is a professional psychologist. Therefore, he does have a positive impact on people’s mental health and currently hosts a weekly segment entitled ‘Sex Abuse Allegations: Who is Telling the Truth?’ in which he addresses the truth behind people’s child abuse stories.

Alyssa is Ready to Come Clean

In a recent segment, a woman named Alyssa shared the truth about her previous child abuse stories involving John Kinsel. For over 25 years, Kinsel has been wrongfully incarcerated for allegedly ‘raping, choking, and threatening to kill’ a child.

Hatred Led to Child Abuse Claims

Kinsel had been dating Alyssa’s mother, Adrienne. The single mom of 3 moved Kinsel into their home a short ten months after they first went out. Kinsel then played house with Adrienne and her three kids. However, 9-year-old Alyssa didn’t appreciate the new “father figure” in her life. According to Alyssa he was “strict and demanding.” She wanted him to leave their home and their lives.

She claimed child abuse, lying and accusing him of sexually assaulting her. John was convicted and given a life sentence without parole. After all these years, Alyssa has come forward, announcing on the Dr. Phil Show that she’ll be retracting her previous child abuse claims.

Learning to Create Her Own Details

Alyssa was 8 or 9, she met with a school counselor to discuss the alleged child abuse. She shares with Dr. Phil that she picked up most of the graphic details she recounted from group therapy sessions.

Making Sense of Things

In October of 2005, 18-year-old Alyssa had an argument with her mother regarding her younger brother growing up without his father. As she went over in her head certain details they were heatedly hashing out, Alyssa established that many of her previous statements didn’t make sense. “Like me saying he had raped me numerous times at my grandfather’s house.” Alyssa explained, “I slept in my grandma’s bed,” and “on the other side of the house.”

When questioned about why she’s finally ready to come forward, Alyssa explained, “John has a new attorney who’s willing to move mountains for him,” she said, “in a way the previous attorney wouldn’t.” And that a person “can only live with so much“. Alyssa’s Aunt Stacy, her mom Adrienne, and John Kinsel’s new attorney played an integral role in Alyssa’s readiness to present her new testimony. Admitting to Dr. Phil, John never touched or assaulted her, Alyssa shamefully, with tears in her eyes, owns up to finally being ready to talk about the alleged child abuse.

Child Abuse can Cause Conflicting Emotions

Dr. Phil gives Alyssa some leeway because, although what she did was wrong, he’s “not going to hold an adult responsible for the actions of a child.” He also points out that because she’s lied under oath, in written statements, and for years, it’s hard for people to know if she was lying then or if she’s lying now. In particular, because her recounts had been so detailed in the past. Alyssa acknowledges that because of her, John Kinsel has missed out on so much, including watching her younger brother, his son, grow up. Or be present in the lives of his other children. She’s filled with a sense of guilt for wrongfully accusing a man of child abuse.

Dr. Phil makes another noteworthy point that not many people openly address. The guilty feeling that comes with being the reason an abuser is locked up. In this case, Alyssa admits no child abuse took place and so feels a sense of guilt because of everything Kinsel’s missed out on. However, Dr. Phil acknowledges that someone might feel guilty, even in the case where child abuse did take place.

Emotions are complex, and people spend their whole lives navigating those complexities. Because of that, there are often conflicting emotions involved in nearly every event in one’s life. For example, marrying the love of your life is exciting but comes with a sense of lost identity and independence. Or going to college is an exciting milestone but comes with a sense of anxiety and fear of change.

Speaking Up Anyway

In the same way, speaking out about child abuse may come with a range of conflicting emotions. Speaking up for yourself might be the only way to get your needs met but it can come with unresolved feelings of guilt or even love if you know your abuser well. Feeling guilt for what consequences might await an abuser doesn’t excuse their behavior and shouldn’t prevent you from speaking up for yourself and out against wrongful behavior. There are countless resources for support, and you are not alone.

However, in Alyssa’s case, she came forward after all these years to set the record straight. While she absolutely made a mistake that ruined an innocent man’s life, she’s also coming forward to admit her mistake. Additionally, a big person must admit they’ve been wrong or dishonest. Hopefully, her new account of child abuse, or lack thereof, will grant John the freedom to enjoy the remainder of his days.

Keep Reading: Enraged mother threw boiling water on her husband for sexually assaulting her children


  1. Sex abuse allegations: Who is telling the truth?Dr. Phil. February 8, 2023
  2. Woman claims she lied as a child about Mom’s boyfriend abusing her, and now he’s serving life in prison. Dr. Phil. February 8, 2023.
  3. She Claims She Lied About Sexual Abuse by Her Mom’s Boyfriend.” Youtube. Dr. Phil.