Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Man acquitted of rape sues county claiming it should have known charges made by serial false accuser were false

Read the story below: if the man's allegations are true, rape charges were brought against a man even though the officials knew or should have known that the claims, and the claimants, were incredible.

Why are we allowing men and boys to be deprived of their liberty and put through the terrible ordeal of a rape trial based on nothing more than the incredible tale of a serial false accuser?


Carmichaels man sues county, township officials

A Carmichaels man filed suit against various Greene County and Cumberland Township officials on Friday, claiming that the sexual assault charges he faced - and was acquitted of - were baselessly brought against him.

It took a jury in Greene County 20 minutes to acquit David O'Hara of various charges lodged against him. Before the jury got the case in January, a judge dismissed 14 other counts because the evidence did not support them, according to a suit filed in federal court in Pittsburgh.

The suit asks for damages relating to alleged constitutional violations, emotional distress and invasion of privacy. It names as defendants Cumberland Township and its police officers, Jorel Hanley and Craig Miller, Yvonne Suppok and Michael Schlesinger, employees of Greene County Children and Youth Services (CYS), Greene County District Attorney Marjorie Fox and deputy prosecutor Linda Chambers, and Greene County.

Police alleged that O'Hara abused a 6-year-old girl from October 2005 through April 2006.But the suit, filed by attorney Joel Sansone, said that the girl and her grandmother have a history of making false claims of sexual abuse. Sansone alleged that all of the defendants knew or should have known that and realized that the allegations O'Hara faced also were false.

"The investigation against (O'Hara) was taken when the defendants ... knew or should have known that the plaintiff's accusers had overwhelming credibility problems and were known to have given false information and to have made false claims of the same type against numerous other individuals, all of which claims were unfounded," Sansone wrote.

"At various times throughout the criminal case (the girl and her grandmother) made false accusations of sexual abuse against seven different individuals involving 11 different alleged incidents," Sansone wrote.

The charges originated when the girl and her grandmother first claimed in September 2006 that O'Hara abused that girl and another one.

Around Oct. 13, 2006, the claims were made the to Cumberland Township police, the suit stated.

Police questioned O'Hara with Suppok present, and during that interview, Sansone said that O'Hara gave police information that the suit claimed cleared him.

The suit indicated that O'Hara told police that the girl had made unfounded sexual assault allegations against others "on numerous prior occasions" but none of those was found to be credible.

He also told police that the girl's grandmother had a motive to make up allegations because of other legal proceedings going on at the time.

O'Hara also told police that the allegations the girl made were "physically impossible" and that the other girl denied having been abused, the suit stated.

Those facts, Sansone wrote, "cast extreme doubt upon the claims made by and the credibility of" the girl and her grandmother.

On Oct. 16, 2006, Greene County Children and Youth Services determined that the sexual abuse allegations made on behalf of the other girl were unfounded. Less than one month later, however, the agency indicated that they believed the initial claims made by the girl and her grandmother, and that a criminal investigation had been initiated.

O'Hara was arrested by police on Jan. 4, 2007, and charged with two counts of rape, sexual assault and other related sex offenses.

This January, O'Hara was tried on 18 sex-related charges. After hearing the evidence, a judge dismissed 14 of the counts.

After 20 minutes of deliberations, a jury acquitted O'Hara on the other four charges, the suit indicated.

Before the start of the trial, the suit claimed that Hanley "apologized to the plaintiff, and made certain admissions to the plaintiff to the effect that he knew that the criminal charges brought by him against the plaintiff were false and baseless," the suit indicated.Even though Hanley allegedly said that, Sansone wrote that the officer supported the charges during the trial and assisted in O'Hara's prosecution.

In October 2006, the suit stated that Suppok also apologized to O'Hara and acknowledged she knew the claims were false. Nonetheless, she also took actions to support the prosecution, the suit claimed.

That they investigated and then arrested O'Hara constituted "an arbitrary, unconscionable abuse of government authority," Sansone wrote.

He said that all of the defendants should have known "through the use of ordinary caution" that arresting and prosecuting O'Hara would cause him emotional distress.

Among the claims made in the suit were that O'Hara suffered severe emotional distress, sleeplessness, weight gain, loss of support from family and friends, trauma and loss of income.

Each of the seven counts enumerated in the complaint ask for compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000.