BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (WABC) --A judge on Thursday formally dismissed charges against five teenagers previously accused of raping an 18-year-old woman in a Brooklyn park.
The teens were arrested shortly after the January incident in Brownsville. Initially, detectives said they threatened the woman's father with a gun, forced him to leave her alone and then raped her. But prosecutors say evidence eventually suggested any sex with the teens was consensual and that the father had been having sex with his daughter when it all began.
Abdula Green represents one of the boys.
"You can only imagine the trauma that would go along with a charge like this hanging over a young child's head," Green said.
They were paraded in front of news cameras as the face of a crime that made national news, and the pressure on police was intense as the community demanded action in the sensational case.
"One of them put a gun in my face, tell me to run, and all of them had their way with her," the father said back in January.
"I was just real scared, I didn't know what to do, I was in a panic mode," the daughter had said.
Police released video of the teens from a nearby bodega and arrested the teens the next day, and that's when the case started to unravel.
"The complainant has recanted her allegations of forcible sexual assault and the existence of a gun," District Attorney Ken Thompson said in a statement. "That night, this young woman's father and the five young men engaged in conduct that was reprehensible and wrong, but because of the lack of reliable evidence, criminal charges simply cannot be sustained."
Mayor Bill de Blasio called the whole situation "very sad and unfortunate," and he defended the NYPD, saying they acted on the information that was available.