Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This case will tell you all you need to know about how the system is stacked against innocent men when it comes to rape

This case is shocking. A classic "he said-she said" dispute as to whether she consented to have sex, without any other corroborating evidence, landed a man in jail for more than two weeks -- even though she is a serial false accuser and he is a police officer.

"It remains a situation where two people have a different version of what happened," said the solicitor in charge.

So why was the accuser's account presumed true?

Why was a man -- a police officer, no less -- deprived of his liberty when there are dueling allegations of criminality -- she claims he raped her, and he claims she's made a false report? There is no other evidence. He's an officer sworn to uphold the law, and in contrast, she's done this to other men.

Why is his name splashed all over the news for the world to titillate to the details of his humiliation while she is shrouded forever in anonymity?

Why is the system stacked against men when it comes to rape? Why?

HERE IS THE NEWS STORY:

Rape charges against detective are dropped

By Noah Haglund (Contact)
The Post and Courier

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Rape charges against a Hanahan police detective were dismissed Friday after the woman who made the accusation decided not to go through with the case.

Other factors in dropping charges against Cassie Watson were a lack of evidence to support the woman's story and a series of unfounded sexual-assault reports the same woman has filed in the past.

"The bottom line is she was adamant about not going forward," 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said. "We didn't have any corroborating evidence" either.

Reached by phone on Friday, Watson declined to comment. He said he planned to release a prepared statement next week after speaking to his attorney.

The case began on the evening Aug. 3 when the 37-year-old woman called North Charleston police to report an assault at her Mosstree Road apartment. An affidavitdescribes her account:
She told police she met Watson through an online dating service about two years earlier and that the two had been on a couple of dates.

Around 6 p.m. the day she called police, she said, he arrived at her apartment and pointed a gun at her. She claimed that he forced her to undress and raped her, keeping the gun aimed at her face. She told them she thought she would end up in a "body bag" if she didn't cooperate.

North Charleston police arrested Watson a few hours later on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

He remained in jail until posting $50,000 bail Aug. 20. A judge placed him on house arrest as a condition of his release.

Wilson said her office had been in touch with the woman about the case a "fair amount." After the woman told prosecutors she didn't want to proceed, Wilson thought she would likely end up dismissing the case. But she wanted to see more evidence first.

It arrived Thursday from the State Law Enforcement Division in the form of a rape kit and a DNA test on Watson's gun. The kit showed the two had sex — Watson had admitted as much, but said it was consensual. In addition, tests of the gun showed no traces of the woman's DNA, the solicitor said.

"It remains a situation where two people have a different version of what happened," Wilson said.

The woman could not be reached by phone Friday. Nobody answered the door at her apartment. Even though the charges have been dismissed, The Post and Courier is not naming her.

It wasn't the first time the woman has made allegations of rape, according to police reports.

-- In June 2002, she told Florence police that a neighbor punched her, held her in her apartment overnight and repeatedly raped her. The suspect she named said they had consensual sex, and he passed a SLED polygraph. The woman admitted lying about being held overnight but maintained she was raped. An investigator cleared the case based on the woman's lack of cooperation.

-- In April 2000, she told the Charleston County Sheriff's Office that two men abducted her at knifepoint, took her to a warehouse, hit her with a bat and raped her. She had no signs of injury and there was no evidence of sexual assault because she waited about a day to contact authorities. She identified two men as her attackers, and they were charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Charges were dismissed in February 2001 because the woman's credibility was "too suspect to proceed," the court clerk's records show.

-- In July 2000, the woman told Charleston County sheriff's deputies that the same two men raped her in her residence. Charleston County forwarded the information to the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office because the alleged assault occurred in that jurisdiction.

Dorchester County Maj. Mike Turner said last month that their case was closed because of a lack of leads and because, on further investigation, the woman was uncertain as to who assaulted her.
When the allegations surfaced against Watson, Hanahan police suspended him with pay. He had been with the department since 2006 and previously worked as a correctional officer with the state Department of Corrections.

On Friday, Hanahan police Lt. Michael Fowler said the department expected Watson to return to work after they submit paperwork to the state Criminal Justice Academy.

"We're just happy that it's resolved," Fowler said. "My guess is that he'll be back next week."

Link: http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/sep/27/rape_charges_against_detective_are_dropp56060/