IOWA CITY, Iowa (WHO) — A wrongfully convicted former Iowa City school counselor is owed $12 million for emotional suffering by the State of Iowa due to an ineffective public defender, a jury ruled on Thursday.

Donald Clark served six years of a 25 year prison sentence for allegedly sexually abusing a student before the student admitted he lied and Clark was exonerated.

Clark was initially charged in 2009 when a former student claimed that Clark had molested him in his office on two occasions five years earlier, according to a UM Law School case study. Clark maintained his innocence throughout the investigation, trial and at his sentencing. He was convicted of two counts of 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Years later his accuser admitted that he’d lied about the abuse. In 2016 Clark was released from prison and had his conviction vacated.

Clark sued the State of Iowa upon his release, claiming that his public defender gave an inadequate defense at trial. Clark said that his office at the time of the alleged incidents had a large window facing a hallway and that others would have seen the alleged abuse had it happened. However, his attorney never took photos of the office or introduced that fact at trial. No character witnesses were called to defend Clark either. His public defender in the case, John Robertson, died in 2013.

On Thursday, a Johnson County jury found the State of Iowa is responsible for Clark’s wrongful conviction. Clark was awarded $8 million for the suffering he has already endured and $4 million for future suffering.

Clark released a statement after the award was announced saying: “No matter what happens from here on out, I’m not only free from prison, but I’m also free from the state’s prison of lies. With this verdict, the rebuilding of my life can continue.”