New York police solve 23-year-old rape case that media called a hoax

10 January 2018 - 13:49 By Timeslive
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

Detectives working on cold-case files in New York City have solved a 23-year-old rape case that media at the time labelled a hoax.

According to a report by The Guardian‚ NYPD detectives announced on Tuesday they had cracked the case by using new technology and able to match the sample from the rape kit with a known perpetrator on file.

The woman‚ at the time 27‚ was walking through Prospect Park in Brooklyn on the day in 1994 when she was attacked by a man who choked her from behind before dragging her to a secluded spot where he raped her.

The report states that "she gave police a detailed description of her attacker but the NYPD initially cast some doubt on her account and shared its scepticism with the media".

Mike McAlary‚ a late New York Daily News columnist‚ published a piece in which he said a police source had told him she had fabricated the ordeal to "bolster a speech she was planning to give at a rally protesting violence against lesbians".

Police soon backtracked on this stance after they collected semen from her body and clothes but DNA testing technology at the time was not advanced enough to separate her DNA from her attacker's.

New tests managed to match to a known offender.

McAlary continued to write about the woman‚ sowing doubt over her integrity and even calling for her to be arrested.

The Guardian reports that NYPD chief of detectives Robert Boyce identified a "notorious serial rapist"‚ James Edward Webb‚ as her attacker. He is currently serving 25 years to life in prison for raping 10 women in the 1970s and 90s.

“You can imagine how emotional she was‚” the report quotes Boyce as saying. “I think my detectives cried with her.”

“She’s feeling a combination of pain‚ confusion and relief‚” said attorney Martin Garbus‚ who represented her at the time.

The victim is asking for an apology from both the New York Daily News and police and is looking into possible legal action.