On Sept. 14 four young men were charged with raping a young woman in a Hofstra University dorm. The media said the rape was brutal and premeditated. The accused rapists were named and their photographs published.
The headlines were sensational. The fact the crime was alleged and that the police were beginning to collect evidence about the rape was treated as a mere technicality.
The message was clear: A woman was raped and these guys did it. It was the message put out by the Nassau County police and office of the Nassau County district attorney. No one told the press that detectives were beginning to have problems with parts of the alleged victim’s story.
Two days later the police announced the girl had admitted she had made up the story. Any sex she had that night was consensual. The men were set free but their lives, reputations and families have been damaged.
The woman who falsely reported the rape may face criminal charges. But what about the Nassau police and DA and the media? They have some self-examination to do.