Friday, April 5, 2013

Five men sue police, prosecutor, for charges stemming from false rape claim

Five men are suing Pocono Mountain Regional Police detectives Chris Wagner, John Bohrman, Lucas Bray and Richard Luthcke, Monroe County District Attorney's Detective Wendy Bentzoni and Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski in connection with the charges against them stemming from a false rape claim. The men were wrongly accused of raping two teenage girls who admitted to testifying falsely under oath at a preliminary hearing, leading to the charges against the men being dismissed prior to trial.

The suit alleges:
Detectives were aware of "glaring inconsistencies" in the girls' statements and had time to reconcile those inconsistencies, but did not do so. 
Detectives did not include one girl's prior recent history of reporting unfounded rape allegations.
The plaintiffs, four of whom are African-American or Latino, allege the case against them was racially motivated. Regardless of whether this is true, the question definitely exists as to whether police did, in fact, have probable cause to charge them, the judge ruled. 
Bentzoni, who says her role was limited to obtaining a search warrant and being a liaison between the prosecutor's office and police detectives, and Rakaczewski, who says he was a prosecutor and not an investigator, are not immune to the plaintiffs' allegations, Munley ruled.

We have no idea if the claims are factual. If so, it is a positive sign that the wrongly accused can hold government officials responsible for their acts.