Saturday, May 24, 2008

Innocent man spent eleven months in jail based solely on claim of girl with history of false allegations of abuse

Another case that underscores there is something terribly wrong with the system. A man spent almost a year in jail based on nothing more than the accusation of a 14-year-old girl with a history of false allegations of abuse. In addition: "The girl told police that she told her mother of Santiago's alleged assaults on the night after the second alleged assault, but the girl's mother recalled no such disclosure . . . ." Is that the sort of thing a mother would forget? The question scarcely survives its statement.

Yet this case was brought to trial? How? Thankfully the jury saw through the lie.

Why are we, as a society, affording young girls with sometimes wild and sometimes evil imaginations so much power over men? Why are we giving them the ability to destroy the lives of men and boys in this fashion?

This is a travesty. It underscores the false rape culture we are living in -- a culture that pretends things like this do not happen because they don't fit the feminist sexual assault metanarrative. A culture that pretends lies like this, which are common, are a "myth."

Here is the story:

Man found not guilty in teen rape case

Staff Writer

NASHUA – Anthony Santiago spent 11 months in the Hillsborough County jail for crimes that a jury found he did not commit.

Santiago, 23, formerly of 24B Wilder St., was acquitted on Thursday on all charges alleging that he had sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl last year.

Santiago had been jailed since his arrest last June, unable to post $25,000 bail. He could have faced up to 10 to 20 years in prison on each of two aggravated felonious sexual assault charges, if convicted.

Santiago denied assaulting the girl, and his lawyer, public defender Ed Cross was able to present evidence that the girl had a history of raising false allegations of abuse, and lying.

The girl told police that she told her mother of Santiago's alleged assaults on the night after the second alleged assault, but the girl's mother recalled no such disclosure, Cross said.

"If you're a mother, you would never forget that conversation," Cross said.

It is not unusual for people charged with sexual assaults to be jailed while awaiting trial, Cross said, because judges tend to set high bail in such cases due to the severity of the crime.

Cross said he feels sympathy for the girl, despite Santiago's suffering.

"This young girl has had a very difficult life. I feel very badly for her. I wish her the best," he said Friday.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Cassie Devine had told jurors that various evidence and details in the girl's statement would corroborate her accusations and the allegations.

Santiago was accused of assaulting the girl at his home, during a St. Patrick's Day party last year, while he and his fiancée were baby-sitting for the girl and other children. He also was accused of assaulting her on June 10, while visiting her home.

Devine argued that Santiago was drunk on both occasions, and smoked marijuana with the girl before the first assault.

Santiago agreed to speak with police when they approached him, and he emphatically denied ever having touched the girl inappropriately, with the exception of one incident when they were horsing around and slap-fighting in a store, Cross said.

Cross argued that police kept pressuring Santiago to confess, and he eventually admitted that he had been drunk at the time, and it was possible that something happened that he couldn't remember. Police recorded only the last half hour of the interview, after Santiago admitted the possibility of a lapse in his memory, Cross said.