Tuesday, May 25, 2010

SWAT team invades home, arrests men falsely accused of rape

Below is a news story that illustrates what we frequently say on this site: innocent men falsely accused of rape are treated as collateral damage in the "more important" war on rape. Here, police SWAT teams stormed the home of two young men, who were arrested on the say so of two young women. The victims of the false claim were later released when one of the false accusers recanted. So storm and arrest first, ask questions later. The most disturbing part? They'd do it all over again. According to the prosecutor: "Investigators took this seriously from the moment it was called in," he said. "We take all rape allegations seriously, it just turned out that this one wasn't true." A hell of a lot of them aren't true, sir, for your information. You really need to rethink this awful policy about storming the homes of the innocent, sir.  Go watch the short news video here.

The print news story follows:

Mother Apologizes for Daughter in Fort Smith False Rape Accusation

The mother of a Fort Smith woman that claimed she was raped over the weekend now says she knows her daughter lied to her.

19-year-old Heather Erin Smith and her roommate, 21-year-old Jeni Lea Melton, were arrested Saturday after police say they claimed Smith had been raped. Two men, 23-year-old Thomas McDaniel and 30-year-old Steven David, were arrested after SWAT teams stormed their home on South 24th Street but were later released when police say Smith recanted her accusation.

Smith's mother, Ericka Church, told 5NEWS on Monday that at first she had completely believed her daughter's story. She even began posting messages on the Facebook page of the man Smith accused, and called him to ask why he had hurt her daughter.

"I went onto Facebook and I left messages all over his Facebook (page), and two people that he knows," she said. "I want to apologize for saying those things, to his friends and for calling him, I shouldn't have done that, I reacted out of anger."

Police say Church now faces charges of harassing communications, and Deputy Prosecutor Joey Self says her daughter may face additional charges as well.

"That's because the false police report led to a SWAT team being called out, it led to an invasion of a home and two men being arrested," said Self.

Self said that police worked diligently to investigate the rape allegations, which turned out to be false. When asked if this case may discourage actual rape victims from coming forward for fear they wouldn't be believed, he disagreed.

"Investigators took this seriously from the moment it was called in," he said. "We take all rape allegations seriously, it just turned out that this one wasn't true."

Smith and Melton have currently bonded out of jail, and could face formal charges later this week.

Link: http://www.kfsm.com/news/kfsm-news-false-rape-allegation-folo,0,6565514.story