Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Couple that framed man for rape get three years probation each

This story started in September of 2010. The September 25, 2010 Morning Journal of Northern Ohio reported on a rape accusation as if the rape certainly occurred. The story reported that Joseph Melendez, 35, of Cleveland, was visiting the home of an unnamed couple who wanted to introduce him to a woman. Melendez arrived while the husband was out for a jog, and, according to the news report, the wife gave Melendez a tour of the home.  We quote directly from the news report:

"While in the bedroom, Melendez rubbed the woman, put a large kitchen knife to her throat, and asking her for sex, the wife told deputies. When the husband arrived home, he heard his wife yelled, went into the bedroom and saw what was happening, the [police] report said.

"Melendez fled the home, denied to deputies that he tried to rape the woman and said the husband attacked him. Melendez claims that the knife was in the driveway and the wife asked him to pick it up, so he did and put it in the kitchen, Barker said.

"Deputies found the knife in the bedroom. Melendez was charged with abduction, attempted rape and taken to Lorain County Jail. The investigation is continuing."

The names of the unnamed couple are Gabriella Bracken, 18, and James Bracken, 26, and they concocted the entire incident -- they lured Mr. Melendez to the house in order to hurt or to kill him. They were charged with the following crimes:

Gabriella: tampering with records, forgery and falsification;

James:  tampering with evidence, forgery, assault, criminal damaging and falsification.

Before the charges against him were dropped, Mr. Melendez faced up to 20 years for a rape and abduction that never occurred. His false accusers, on the other hand, were looking at a maximum of two years apiece.

Mr. Melendez eventually sued the couple and was awarded $1.5 million in damages (whether he was ever able to collect is unknown).

The false accusers were sentenced for their actions: three years probation each. See here.