The Nassau County, N.Y., District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it had dropped charges against the four men accused of raping an 18-year-old Hofstra University student after the woman admitted that the sexual encounter was consensual.
The four men – Jesus Ortiz, 19; Stalin Felipe, 19; Kevin Taveras, 20; and Rondell Bedward, 21, all of the New York metropolitan area – had been arrested, arraigned and jailed after the woman said they pulled her into a bathroom where they bound and raped her. They were facing five counts of first-degree rape each, and bail had been set at a half-million dollars.
Wednesday night, a judge dismissed all charges and ordered the men released. "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," said District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
Rice said the charges centered on reports given by the woman.
The rape report, which stunned the Hofstra University community, was reminiscent of the case involving the Duke University lacrosse team in 2005. In that case, a Black exotic dancer accused four White members of the team of gang-raping her in the bathroom of a frat house where she had been hired to dance. She later recanted her charges and the men were exonerated, but not before their faces, and reputations, had been dragged through the public mud.