Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chilling: Man has lost everything due to prosecutorial assumption that the male must always be guilty when a female cries rape

This article sums up many of the reasons why this blog is necessary.

Man's life in ruins by wife's false rape claim

He was made out to be a rampaging "Rambo," an armed and dangerous beast who raped his wife and later tried to kidnap her.

But it turned out that it was all wrong. Stephen Vaughn was innocent.

When the gavel finally came down, it was clear that Vaughn was not much more than a hapless character in an existential nightmare caused, in part, by his own poor judgment.

According to his attorney, Vaughn was primarily a victim of a prosecutorial process that operates under the assumption that the husband must always be guilty in domestic disputes in which violence is alleged.

A passing glance suggests that the system actually worked in the end. After all, an Orange County grand jury threw out the 2008 rape charge. Last month, a Westchester County found Vaughn not guilty of attempted kidnapping and a host of lesser charges.

But if justice was served, then at what cost?

As a result of the charges pending against him, Vaughn spent a year protesting his innocence in the Westchester County jail. An honorably discharged career soldier, who was named Army Recruiter of the Year in 1992, Vaughn lost his job as an ROTC instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He lost his home.

Perhaps worst of all, Vaughn was deprived of seeing his 16-year-old autistic son throughout the legal ordeal. He has no realistic hope of seeing him again anytime soon.

"His life is ruined," said his attorney, Michael Bank.

Bank summarized the case as a tragedy involving parents who loved their child equally, but whose marriage was irretrievably falling off a cliff.

Citing testimony, Bank said the downward domestic spiral accelerated in the couple's home in Cornwall when Vaughn accused his wife, Rebecca, of stealing Percocet, a painkiller that was prescribed for him to treat an old Army injury. He said if she kept up her pattern of drug and alcohol abuse, he would throw her out of the house.

At one point, Vaughn lost his temper, raised his voice and banged his hand down on the bed. The next day, Sept. 19, 2008, Rebecca Vaughn obtained an order of protection against him.

It got worse, much worse. She told police he raped her on Sept. 11, 2008, and that he also had a loaded gun, which he had originally purchased for her protection when they lived in Florida.

On Oct. 16, Vaughn, free on bail, then made a critical mistake. He drove to Mount Kisco where Rebecca Vaughn worked as a massage therapist and tried to talk to her about a number of issues, including the consensual sex she said was a rape. The incident resulted in a slew of new charges.

In the end, Bank got him off by appealing to the jury's good sense. But Bank told me that a red flag should've been raised in Westchester after the grand jury in Orange threw out the rape charge. Instead, he said the prosecutors over-zealously pursued the case and ultimately wasted taxpayers' money.

As it stands, Bank has written a letter to the Westchester District Attorney's Office, requesting that Rebecca Vaughn be investigated for perjury. Examining her testimony against other statements she had made, Bank found wildly conflicting dates for the alleged rape, one of them a day when she was actually vacationing in the Bahamas with a girlfriend.

She is now in Florida with the boy. And Steve Vaughn, homeless and jobless, is still wondering what the hell happened.

He was made out to be a rampaging "Rambo," an armed and dangerous beast who raped his wife and later tried to kidnap her. But it turned out that it was all wrong. Stephen Vaughn was innocent.