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Crown Heights Rape Case Verges on Collapse

Thursday, June 21, 2012

WNYC
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes (Karly Domb Sadof/WNYC)

A 36 count indictment accusing four black men of raping and prostituting an Orthodox Jewish girl in Crown Heights is now in question.

“Charges against all four will be dropped,” said criminal defense attorney Elliot Kay, who represents 33-year-old Damien Crooks, one of the defendants named in the sex trafficking case.

The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office would not comment on the case, saying only that a hearing for all four men would be held on Tuesday. The men allegedly committed the offenses over an eight year period beginning in 2003 when the girl was then 13 years old.

In an indictment handed down last June, the DA’s office charged Crooks and Darrell Dula with sex trafficking, rape, robbery, assault and stalking. Two other defendants, brothers Jamali and Jawara Brockett, were charged with rape.

Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes said last June that the defendants “forced [the victim] to perform sexually humiliating acts” if she refused to have sex with others for money.

Attorney Kay said the accuser recanted part of her testimony, but that exculpatory evidence was not initially provided to him or other attorneys representing the defendants.

Based on that evidence that was eventually released by the DA’s office earlier this year, a judge released Crooks from prison on April 26, 2012.

“But he had already spent about 11 months in jail before he was released,” Kay said, adding that his client was relieved at the news.

Kay said he thought all along that his client was innocent. He added the DA’s case didn’t add up either.

“After looking at the police paperwork that was initially provided to us, none if it matched the story that the accuser had told to the grand jury,” Kay said.

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