Charges dropped in gang rape probe at Brownsville playground after victim recants story

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Charges Dropped In Alleged Gang Rape At NYC Playground



BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (PIX 11) — Charges have been dropped against the five teens who had been accused of raping an 18-year-old girl at a Brownsville playground last month after the victim changed her story.

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Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said Wednesday the victim refused to cooperate, gave conflicting accounts, and was having sex with her biological father on the night of Jan. 7, when she made the allegation of gang rape.

"That night, this young woman's father and the five young men engaged in conduct that was reprehensible and wrong, but because of the lack of reliable evidence, criminal charges simply cannot be sustained," Thompson said in a statement.

Images related to the case:

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18-year-old woman allegedly gang raped at Brooklyn playground
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Charges dropped in gang rape probe at Brownsville playground after victim recants story
This image from security video provided by the New York Police Department from a security camera at a bodega at 635 Watkins St. in the Brooklyn borough of New York, shows one of five men who are wanted by police in connection with the gang rape of an 18-year-old woman who was walking in the nearby Osborn Playground with her father later the same evening. Authorities say five men approached the pair. They say one of the men pointed a gun at the father and ordered him at gunpoint to leave before they took turns raping the woman.The father returned with two police officers, but the attackers fled. (New York Police Department via AP)
This image from security video provided by the New York Police Department, from a security camera at a bodega at 635 Watkins St. in the Brooklyn borough of New York, shows three men who are wanted by police in connection with the gang rape of an 18-year-old woman who was walking in the nearby Osborn Playground with her father later the same evening. Authorities say five men approached the pair. They say one of the men pointed a gun at the father and ordered him at gunpoint to leave before they took turns raping the woman.The father returned with two police officers, but the attackers fled. (New York Police Department via AP)
New York Mayor Bill deBlasio, left, and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton address a news conference in New York's City Hall, in front of a painting of Alexander Hamilton, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. A fifth teenager was taken into custody Tuesday in connection with the suspected gang rape of a woman at a Brooklyn playground last week. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
This Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 photo shows Osborn playground in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, N.Y., the site of an alleged gang rape, in New York. Four teenagers were in custody on Monday in connection with the incident, and a fifth was being sought. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Police say 4 suspects in Brooklyn gang-rape are in custody https://t.co/3mxLzZoGIB
#BREAKING: 4 Suspects In NYC Gang Rape In Custody, NYPD Says No Delayed Action - https://t.co/F5DdjRgTpe https://t.co/4nsOGLA18a
4 Suspects in Brooklyn Gang-Rape in Custody: https://t.co/3HNzEM5KzM
5 men rape 18-year-old girl at gunpoint in Brownsville playground NYC. These are the suspects RT til we find them https://t.co/slzIbvi5HX
Those condemning the dad in the NYC rape case who left his daughter to find police, just stop. Had he not, they'd probably both be dead.
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The teens accused — ages 14, 15, 15, 17 and 17 — were originally charged as adults, each with one count of rape, two counts of criminal sex act, and one count of sex abuse in connection. Last month, they had been released from jail after the DA decided the case was not ready to go before a grand jury.

"We are determined to get to the truth about what happened in that park," Thompsontold PIX11 on Jan. 15.

Along with recanting her story, the victim also refused to cooperate with any prosecution on incest charges against her father, who the DA said was engaging in sexual conduct with her.

"It is my fervent hope that this young woman gets all the support that she needs going forward. My office, including our victim advocates who have been working with this young woman, stand ready to provide her with any assistance she may need," Thompson said.

The NYPD has been informed of the decision by the office of the Kings County District Attorney to dismiss this case. As of this time, the NYPD investigation into this matter is now officially closed.

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At about 9 p.m. the night of Jan. 7, the young woman said she was with her father at Osborne Park in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn when a group of five teens came up to them.

The father told police one of the boys pulled out a gun and ordered him to leave. He says he did and that's when he alleged the teens attacked the girl.

Officers found the young woman heavily intoxicated and later learned she'd been drinking in the park with her father, a police source told PIX11 News. She allegedly refused to get into an ambulance and bit an officer, the source said.

Among the evidence is cellphone video recorded by one of the suspects.

The matter outraged the community and sparked calls for arrests. Police released surveillance video of the group inside a bodega earlier that evening.

But the story was burdened with inconsistencies and problems from the very beginning. Among them: there was no gun.

Here is the full statement from Ken Thompson:

"Working closely with the NYPD, my office has thoroughly investigated disturbing and very serious allegations of a gang rape at gunpoint last month inside the Osborn Playground in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.

The complainant, as well as her father, provided multiple inconsistent accounts to NYPD Detectives and to experienced Special Victims prosecutors about important material facts in this case. The complainant has recanted her allegations of forcible sexual assault and the existence of a gun, and she does not wish to pursue criminal charges against any of the defendants. She also refuses to cooperate with any prosecution against her father, who was engaging in sexual conduct with her.

That night, this young woman's father and the five young men engaged in conduct that was reprehensible and wrong, but because of the lack of reliable evidence, criminal charges simply cannot be sustained.

It is my fervent hope that this young woman gets all the support that she needs going forward. My office, including our victim advocates who have been working with this young woman, stand ready to provide her with any assistance she may need."


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