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Civil Rights

Now-vindicated woman charged with making a false rape report wins $150K settlement

Posted Jan 15, 2014 5:25 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A woman who says she was pressured by police and social workers to recant her truthful report that she was bound, gagged, raped and photographed by a stranger in her transitional housing apartment when she was 18 years old has won a $150,000 settlement from a city in Washington state.

Despite physical evidence that supported her claim, the unidentified victim was criminally charged with making a false report to Lynnwood police and took a plea rather than potentially face more severe consequences if she was tried and convicted. She also was forced, she says, under threat of losing her home, to undergo counseling and publicly admit to other residents at Cocoon House—the at-risk-youth program where she was living at the time—that she had lied about being raped.

She filed a civil rights suit after a serial rapist now serving a 327-year prison sentence in Colorado was found with her identification and photographs years later, admitted to the crime and was convicted of subsequent rapes. The city of Lynnwood agreed to a $150,000 settlement, and Cocoon House agreed to an undisclosed settlement of the case, which was filed in federal court in Seattle, according to the Seattle Times.

Cocoon House declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper, but attorney Bob Christie, who represents Lynnwood police, said "we are happy to reach this resolution" about what he described as “an unfortunate situation for everyone involved.”

Attorneys Yvonne Kinoshita Ward and Rich Fisher represented the victim, who now lives in Wyoming. They said she is pleased with the settlement, and “ready to move forward in the next chapter of her life,” the Times reports.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Disbelieved and accused of making a false rape report, now-vindicated victim sues"

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