What a confusing debacle this one turned out to be. You may recall the strange story of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish girl from Crown Heights who accused several non-Orthodox men from the neighborhood of raping her and pimping her out over the course of eight years—starting when she was 13. It was a sensational accusation, and four men were arrested and jailed as the Brooklyn DA prepared a case. Then the whole thing fell apart when it was revealed that the accuser recanted some of her allegations, and the DA failed to share this information with the defense. Now the alleged victim's father is lashing out.
Yesterday the DA dropped the charges and a Brooklyn judge dismissed the case.
"Our family has the misfortune of living under the jurisdiction of the Brooklyn District Attorney, who regards the psychological confusion and fear my daughter experienced during her enslavement as proof that she sought out, enjoyed and deserved her victimization," the father said in a statement. "Despite my daughter’s total cooperation, the Brooklyn district attorney has surrendered against our will and without our consent."
Despite the victim's recantation, which she gave a day after filing charges, prosecutors were proceeding with the case against Damien Crooks, Darrell Dula and brother Jamali and Jawara Brockett.—even after it emerged that they had withheld the recantation from defense attorneys. But DA Charles Hynes reversed course yesterday, saying, "We have now reviewed all documents connected to this case. We have concluded as a result that we can no longer proceed with this case. We understand the frustration of the family of the victim."
The defendants had insisted that their relationship with the girl was consensual, and other recordings of interviews between investigators and the accuser reportedly had her defending Crooks and Dula. "I feel overjoyed," Dula, 25, told the Daily News yesterday. "I feel justice has been done." Crooks, 32, who was the alleged victim's neighbor, also told the News, "I want to tell her it wasn't good what she did. But I forgive her."