The 18-year-old Hofstra University student who claimed she was gang raped by five men in an on-campus dormitory last weekend has recanted her story, and admitted to authorities that the encounter was consensual, according to a statement by Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
The four men arrested on the bogus charge were released from the Nassau County Correctional Facility early this morning.
“Moments ago my office moved to dismiss all charges against four men accused of committing a sexual assault on the campus of Hofstra University,” Rice said in the statement. “Late this evening, during the continuation of the Nassau County Police Department’s investigation of the allegation, and under questioning by my office’s chief trial attorney and chief sex crimes prosecutor, the alleged victim of the sexual assault admitted that the encounter that took place early Sunday morning was consensual.
“Following the interview, my office moved quickly to appear before a night court judge to dismiss all charges and request that the judge order the individuals’ immediate release. Nassau County Judge Robert Bruno dismissed the charges and ordered their release. “
Four men were charged with five counts of first-degree rape following the allegations. Rondell Bedward, 21, of the Bronx, is a Hofstra student. The other three were identified as Jesus Ortiz and Stalin Felipe, both 19 from the Bronx, and Kevin Taveras, 20, of Brentwood.
“I’m so happy everything worked out in our favor,” said Romilo Taveras, who picked up his son outside the jail. “That’s no way to treat people.”
Kevin Taveras said he was looking forward to a hot shower.
Felipe, who heard the news while half asleep in his jail cell, said he didn’t have any hard feelings toward his accuser. “I’m just happy to be free.”
He declined to discuss what occurred Sunday morning.
Bedward, who had been suspended by the university after his arrest, declined to speak with reporters outside jail.
The woman, who remains unidentified, claimed she had been at a dance party at an on-campus nightclub on Sept. 13 and after dancing with one of the men, who snatched the woman’s cell phone from her and left the club. She pursued him outside, repeatedly asking for the phone back.
She originally told police that the man then entered a dormitory and went into an elevator as the woman followed him, Nassau police said. The two got out at an undisclosed floor, where the man met an acquaintance. The pair then proceeded to bind the woman’s hands with some rope and took her into a dormitory men’s room, where they sexually assaulted her, she told investigators in her first statement. She added that three men later entered the room and joined the assault after she claimed she asked them for help.
But her claims were a hoax.
“I have launched an immediate criminal investigation into the statements and reports given by the woman in connection with this incident. Further details regarding this investigation will be released at a later time,” said Rice.
With Frank Eltman, AP