Official: Charges 'likely' for Hofstra false rape accuser
The woman who falsely accused four men of gang-raping her in a Hofstra University dormitory bathroom is "likely" to face charges this week, a law enforcement official said, as the case became fodder for Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice's election opponent.
The woman, an 18-year-old freshman who has not been identified by authorities, probably will be charged "within days," said the official, who spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because the probe is ongoing.
Nassau police and the district attorney's office are awaiting "a few pieces of corroborating evidence," the official said.
The official would not elaborate on what charge the woman might face or what evidence investigators were awaiting.
News that an arrest was imminent came on the same day that the Republican and Conservative district attorney candidate, former Nassau prosecutor Joy Watson, criticized Democrat Rice's handling of the case.
Watson, who was in charge of sex-crime prosecutions under former District Attorney Denis Dillon, said Rice should have charged the young woman "immediately."
The woman told Nassau police that she was tied up and gang-raped about 3 a.m. Sept. 13 in a Hofstra University dormitory bathroom by five young men, authorities said. Four of the men, one of them a Hofstra student, were charged with rape in a case that gained nationwide attention.
The woman recanted Wednesday evening, after top prosecutors in Rice's office who were interviewing her told her that a cell-phone video of the incident might exist. At that time, the prosecutors did not have access to the video and did not know what it contained, but mention of its possible existence caused the woman to recant her story.
Lawyers for the accused men said the video showed the sexual acts were consensual. Charges against the men were dismissed late Wednesday night and they were released from jail.
Watson, in an interview Sunday, said: "A crime was committed, and there's no question who committed the crime. . . . I prosecuted cases in the past where we had false allegations made, and arrests were made immediately."
Rice's spokesman Eric Phillips said the district attorney "doesn't make snap judgments or let political expedience replace diligent fact-finding in investigations, so it's disturbing to hear that a candidate without the facts running for such a serious office would attempt to politicize and score political points on an issue like this."
While Rice has called the female student "a very troubled young woman in need of some help," Watson said decisions about "leniency" should be made "after charges have been brought."