Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rape allegations dropped against Beaverton teen, who is released after two months in jail

HILLSBORO -- After 58 days in jail as an accused rapist, Mohamed M. Garare, 19, stood outside in the bright sunshine this afternoon a free man.

But the Beaverton teen said his sudden freedom didn't make up for two months lost due to unsupported accusations, which has shaken the Kenya native's faith in American justice.

"You can never get time back," he said. "Time is precious, and I wasted precious time."

Garare's trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, but instead Chief Deputy District Attorney Rob Bletko dismissed the charges. Garare's accuser was not a reliable source, he told the judge.

Bletko said despite the teen's time in jail, the system worked in keeping Garare from a wrongful conviction.

As a prosecutor, Bletko said, "if you don't believe the defendant is guilty, you don't take that defendant to trial."

And in this case, he said, "I don't believe he committed this crime."

Bletko said the 22-year-old Seaside woman who told police she was sexually assaulted and cut with a razor didn't show up to court Wednesday, nor could she be found last week when detectives needed to serve her with a subpoena. When authorities finally tracked her down and interviewed her on Tuesday, she took a break to smoke a cigarette and never returned.

On May 12, the woman told police she was looking for a ride near the Beaverton Transit Center back to the coast when she willingly got into a vehicle and was taken to Garare's apartment. Once there, the woman said Garare raped and cut her with some type of blade. Beaverton Police Detective Pam Yazzolino said the woman reported the alleged attack after she escaped from the home and ran to a local business.

The woman was examined, Bletko said, and she did have lacerations on her face. However, forensic tests revealed the only blood found in Garare's apartment wasn't hers but Garare's. The victim's lack of cooperation and a lack of any forensic evidence led Bletko to question Garare's guilt, he said.

Additionally, Garare took two polygraph tests – one for his attorney and one for the prosecution – and he passed both. While polygraph test results cannot be submitted as evidence in court, the results caused Bletko to further question the case, he said.

Before his May 12 arrest, Garare was attending community college part-time, working at a new job and supporting himself on his own in his first apartment. He was living the life his family hoped for when they moved to the United States from Kenya in late 2000.

The biggest reason for the move, Garare said, was a polio-related surgery he needed for his left leg. The surgery worked, and Garare became acclimated to a new country, learning fluent English before entering Aloha High School.

"I had to learn quickly," he said. "I'm a people person."

In the months since his arrest, Garare has lost his job, his apartment and a few friends, said his brother, Abdi Garare.

Garare said he and his family's faith in the justice system and the opportunities this country has to offer has been shaken.

"I believed in the government," he said. "But I lost that respect."

Jail wasn't a kind place for an alleged rapist, Garare said. Many inmates wanted nothing to do with him. Convicted felons complained about sharing space with an alleged rapist. One man even punched him in the face, he said.

In high school, Garare said, he was the friendly class clown. An outgoing teen, Garare said being treated as an outcast made his time in jail even lonelier.

But Garare said the worst result of the allegations has been the damage to his reputation. When he discovered his 2-year-old niece had seen his jail mug shot on the TV news, his heart sank. "That kills me," he said.

Garare and his family worry that the far-reaching accusations won't disappear soon enough. Although he said he has a lot of supporters in the community, he's also seen some friends and neighbors believe the early police reports.

"The first thing I'm going to do is take a warm shower – a bath maybe – eat real food and get on Facebook and clear my image," he said.

[FRS COMMENT] - Do you suppose they could have mentioned if a warrant has been issued for the arrest of this, for some reason, unnamed woman? Does anyone think an arrest warrant will even be issued?

Link:
http://www.oregonlive.com/beaverton/index.ssf/2010/07/rape_allegations_dropped_against_beaverton_teen_who_is_released_after_two_months_in_jail.html