Friday, September 18, 2009

Hofstra false rape case: NO CHARGES FOR 'VERY TROUBLED YOUNG WOMAN IN NEED OF SOME HELP'

WHAT?! You've got to be kidding me! This story underscores why we have this blog. The injustice to four falsely accused men is almost unspeakable.

"At a news conference yesterday, Nassau County, N.Y., District Attorney Kathleen Rice said the woman has not been charged with a crime, though she did not rule out filing charges later. She declined to name the woman, though several news organizations have named her. . . . 'Her actions and demeanor suggest a very troubled young woman in need of some help,' Rice said."

So, let's get this straight: the false accuser, 18-year-old Hofstra University Freshman Danmell Ndonye, is the victim here?

It sure seems that's how the news article below wants to paint her: "At the high-rise brick apartment building in Manhattan’s working-class Washington Heights neighborhood, where the woman’s family lives, a family friend who did not want to give her name described the woman as an American-born child of immigrant parents who had a 'structured' upbringing with 'very, very, very involved parents.'"

And please note that the news report affords her the same treatment it affords actual rape victims by not publishing her name. Oh, so she really must be a victim, right?

The falsely accused men's names? They are everywhere. Their reputations have been destroyed. And this is yet another in a wearying cavalcade of cases where the men falsely accused will have served more jail time than their false accusers!

We have entered Wonderland, a topsy-turvy world where men falsely accused of rape aren't "real" victims, and false accusers who destroy men's lives aren't "real" criminals.

Please, someone tell me, quick, when was the last time you read a news story that treated an accused rapist in such a sympathetic manner? The press has much to answer for. Again.

And so does the Nassau County, N.Y., District Attorneys office. It needs to explain to the victims of false rape claims, and to potential victims of that crime -- nearly half its population -- why this false accuser hasn't been charged. http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/DA/contact.html

Here is the news story:

Prosecutors say Hofstra student fabricated rape charge

By Ann Givens / Newsday Friday, September 18, 2009 http://www.bostonherald.com/ Northeast

MELVILLE, N.Y. — The inconsistencies had begun to build up Wednesday night as prosecutors interviewed the Hofstra University student who said she had been brutally gang-raped in a dormitory men’s room last weekend.

It was time to bring up the video.

"I said, ’If there is a video, and I get that video, it’s going to show me that what you’re saying is true?’ " asked Madeline Singas, the county’s chief sex crimes prosecutor.

The 18-year-old woman sat silent for several long moments, Singas said. Then her story veered wildly and fell apart. As soon as the woman admitted she had lied, Singas rushed from the room and picked up the phone. She had only minutes to stop a detective who was headed to get a warrant signed for evidence in the case, and then to arrest a fifth man in the case.

"Once she recanted, we had to stop everything," Singas said.

At the time, prosecutors had not seen the video. However, late last night they obtained a copy, which officials said confirmed the woman’s admission that the sex was consensual. Prosecutors would not say how they obtained the video.

Within hours, the four accused men had been released from jail, and pursuit of the fifth man had been dropped.

At a news conference yesterday, Nassau County, N.Y., District Attorney Kathleen Rice said the woman has not been charged with a crime, though she did not rule out filing charges later. She declined to name the woman, though several news organizations have named her.

Rice declined to speculate on the woman’s motives for filing false accusations against the men, but she said that, after the consensual encounter, the woman returned home to someone she referred to as her boyfriend and he "asked her some questions." The two then went together to campus security, Rice said.

"Her actions and demeanor suggest a very troubled young woman in need of some help," Rice said.

At the high-rise brick apartment building in Manhattan’s working-class Washington Heights neighborhood, where the woman’s family lives, a family friend who did not want to give her name described the woman as an American-born child of immigrant parents who had a "structured" upbringing with "very, very, very involved parents."

Law enforcement said even before the young woman’s interview with Singas and another top prosecutor, Sheryl Anania, Wednesday night, a few questions loomed large.

Prosecutors asked why none of the students living on the floor where the incident happened had heard any commotion that night, when usually they can hear something as quiet as a person brushing his teeth. They wondered why the accused rapists would have taken the time to dispose of the rope the woman said they used to tie her in a bathroom stall, but left used condoms littering the bathroom floor, a law enforcement source said.

And finally, why would the accused rapists have asked their victim to come with them when the encounter ended, as she herself said they did?

Still, Singas and Anania said they went into the interview with the woman with a totally open mind.

But as the woman’s account of a brutal rape evolved over the first hour of the interview in the fluorescent-lit conference room, the woman seemed to be adding some details that hadn’t been part of her initial account to police, and omitting others, prosecutors said.

The prosecutors had heard that there might be a videotape and were in the process of asking a judge to sign a warrant to get the accused men’s cell phones. When the woman recanted, though, they said they could not pursue the warrant because they no longer had a case.

Victor Daly-Rivera, an attorney representing Kevin Taveras, 20, one of the accused men, said he had viewed part of a short cell-phone video of the Hofstra incident taken by a fifth man the woman claimed had raped her.

"Clearly, she wasn’t forced. Clearly, she wasn’t screaming," Daly-Rivera said of the video. "There were no ropes."

On campus, Hofstra sophomore Patricia Frey, 19, said she still feels "torn up" by the incident.

"Everybody has been ripped from side to side" by the seesawing emotions it provoked, she said.

Melissa Connolly, a Hofstra spokeswoman, said the student who recanted the story of being raped has been suspended pending an internal judicial process.

Rondell Bedward, a Hofstra junior and the only one of the men who was a student, is no longer suspended and the university intends to assist him in his transition, including living in a different dorm if he chooses to, said Connolly.

"I think in some ways the announcement last night was as heartbreaking as finding out or thinking that the incident had occurred originally. Again, a student did something that hurt another student."
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(Chau Lam, Sumathi Reddy, Carl Macgowan, Sophia Chang, Joseph Mallia and Pervaiz Shallwani of Newsday contributed to this report.)
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Link: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view.bg?&articleid=1198366&format=&page=2&listingType=natne#articleFull