Friday, August 14, 2009

Rape lie told to cover up fight with girlfriends, man rots in prison: rule that says no corroborating evidence is needed for rape should be scrapped

Yesterday, we reported about William McCaffrey now serving the fourth year of a twenty year prison sentence for a rape he didn't commit. Today, more details on how that false claim came about. Gentlemen, if this story doesn't send cold chills racing up your spine about the risk every male above a certain age faces from false claims, I'm not sure what will. The idea that an innocent man can be imprisoned based on the evidence you're about to read is not just frightening, it signals a cancer in our criminal justice system. The idea that an attorney feels it's more important that a baby not be born in jail than to free an innocent man from prison is deplorable, as is the D.A.'s refusal to take action correct this wrong. This is among the worst miscarriages of justice we've reported on this site, and that is saying a hell of a lot. Several people have much to answer for.

The most important lesson from this and too many similar cases may be the following: we seriously need to reconsider the propriety of bringing criminal charges of rape based on no evidence beyond the testimony of the complainant. I am now convinced that if we, as a society, believe in the Blackstone formulation that it is "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," then the laws need to be changed back to require corroborating evidence. The laws were changed in the past thirty years to require no corroborating evidence for rape claims based on the insistence of the sexual grievance industry and feminist legal scholars that women don't lie about rape. We see time and time and time again that far too many women do lie about rape, with often disastrous consequences for far too many men and boys. The underlying premise that no corroborating evidence is needed has been proven to be wrong, plain and simple. Too often young men are arrested, charged, tried, and convicted based on nothing more than the young woman being a better actor than he is. By any measure, that is not just unacceptable, it is morally grotesque.


Woman Lied About Rape to Cover Up Fight with Girlfriends

A New Jersey woman has admitted she fabricated an allegation of rape against a man who's now serving a 20-year-sentence for the alleged assault. William McCaffrey, 31, was sentenced in 2006 after Biurny Peguero Gonzalez testified that he and two other men raped her at knife point in a van parked in Upper Manhattan in September 2005. But she now says she made the whole thing up, to cover for a fight with some of her women friends. Last year, new scientific developments enabled investigators to retest the DNA from bites on Gonzalez's arm; no "Y" chromosome was found, meaning the bites could not have come from a man.

McCaffrey met Gonzalez for the first time on the night of the alleged rape at the corner of Broadway and Dyckman Street in Inwood. Gonzalez was in a parked car with at least one friend, and McCaffrey invited them to an after-hours party. En route, it became apparent that Gonzalez was too inebriated to drive, and McCaffrey convinced her to park the car in a garage. Gonzalez's friend left to join other ladies in a second vehicle, and McCaffrey and Gonzalez got in a friend’s van to continue to the party. But they soon turned back after Gonzalez received angry calls from her gal pals.

They returned to the garage, where Gonzalez eventually reunited with her irate friends. At the trial, a garage attendant testified that the group was "yelling and hitting each other," and according to court papers, the fight was so fierce that one of the women kicked and broke a window in a car. In the morning, Gonzalez went to Christ Hospital in Jersey City and showed nurses bite marks on her shoulder and arm. The nurses found no physical evidence that she had been raped, but McCaffrey was convicted on the strength of her testimony.

Fast forward to seven months ago, when she got pregnant, got married, underwent a religious conversion, and decided she wanted McCaffrey released. She confessed to a priest, who convinced her to come forward. But her lawyer tells the Post he won't allow her to testify without immunity because she's pregnant: "I don't want to see her baby born in prison." The DA's Office is considering charging her with perjury. Speaking of the district attorney, the Times reports that last October, McCaffrey's lawyer asked the D.A. to vacate the conviction because of the new DNA test. But the DA refused, arguing that "the DNA could have come from tears shed by Peguero’s friends." McCaffrey is still in prison.