The four men who were falsely accused of raping an 18-year-old Hofstra student said they were treated like animals and that their whole family felt “imprisoned” by the ordeal.
"I was really scared,” 20-year-old Kevin Taveras told a CNN reporter. “I couldn't believe what was basically going through my mind. It was like a big nightmare, and I thought I was going to do time for something I didn't do. ...It was devastating. I was there just letting the clock tick and tick."
The Nassau County, N.Y., district attorney dropped charges and released the four men shortly after their accuser recanted her tale that they had tied her up and raped her in a dormitory bathroom. "The woman admitted the encounters with each of the men were consensual," District Attorney Kathleen Rice told reporters Thursday.
Her story unraveled when police told her that part of the sexual encounter was recorded on a cell phone video, Rice said. "That was when she began to tell the truth," she said.
Authorities have not released the accuser's name, saying they are concerned over her safety. "Her actions and her demeanor depict a very troubled young woman in need of much help," Rice said, adding that she could be facing charges for the crime of falsely reporting a crime. The university has suspended her pending more details.
Stalin Felipe, who was also among those accused of the assault, said he was devastated by the charges. "We respect women," he told WABC TV in New York. "We know how to treat a lady. The thing they said with the rope, come on. That's disgusting. That's what we were looked at as: disgusting men. It did traumatize us. … I'm just happy to be home finally."
Added Taveras: "It was traumatizing. It's supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. …We were treated like animals. My mother was imprisoned with me. My whole family was imprisoned because of this."