Just because someone is arrested and charged with a crime does not necessarily
mean that person is guilty. While the authorities and the court of public
opinion may forget that defendants are innocent until proven guilty, the
criminal justice system does not.
In May 2008, a 46-year-old Maryland man was arrested and charged in an
attack that took place the previous month. According to the authorities,
the defendant raped a woman in Charles Village and was involved in at
least one other
rape in the north Baltimore neighborhood. However, the man was released from
custody 14 months later, when forensic evidence failed to show a connection
between him and the victim.
After being released, the man found his life was irreparably damaged by
the incident. He learned his name had become synonymous with the “Charles
Village Rapist,” which was associated with numerous violent attacks
that happened in Charles Village and Mount Vernon between June and November 2008.
He filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court against current and former
police commanders and mayors, as well as several of the arresting officers.
In the complaint, he asserts that he was falsely arrested and that a “pervasive
culture tolerating mass arrests and public hysteria over the attacks led
to his detention.”
In the lawsuit, he explains how police officers posted fliers with sketches
of his likeness and went door to door warning residents about his dangerous
tendencies. Further, he claims the city police performed an incomplete
investigation, failed to sort out inconsistencies in the victim’s
statements and manipulated mug shots so he would appear to be a reasonable suspect.
Moreover, the man says police had access to DNA results which showed no
link between him and the victim within a month of his arrest. However,
they kept him in custody and refused to drop the charges against him until
July 2009. He is seeking $10 million in damages.
Source: The Baltimore Sun,
“Man held in Charles Village rape sues after release,” Peter Hermann, 18 Feb. 2011