It’s a story which many at the time thought would be wrapped up neatly like an hour long episode of Law & Order. But for Bensonhurst resident William Giraldo, the next five months of his life would more closely resemble the surreal plot of Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial.
After being teased by his friends last June for looking like the person in surveillance footage being circulated of a rape suspect, Giraldo later viewed the footage with his fiance – only to discover that the man in the Dunkin’ Donuts security video was him.
Things only got worse after Giraldo, who reasoned that he had nothing to hide, turned himself in to police at the 66th Precinct. He was picked out of a lineup, arraigned on his wedding day, then sent to Riker’s Island and threatened with deportation back to his native Colombia.
From Daily News:
“They destroyed my life — and they didn’t even say sorry,” Giraldo, 25, told the Daily News.
He came forward to tell the story of how an innocent man accused of a high-profile crime had his life derailed by the justice system — and is still struggling to get it back on track.
It started about 3 a.m. on June 4 when Giraldo went to a Dunkin Donuts in Sunset Park for coffee and a chocolate frosted before taking a fare to Kennedy Airport.
Around the same time, a 29-year-old woman leaving the store was followed home and raped in her vestibule.
Police believed the assailant was the man who attacked three women since March — who would come to be known as the Brooklyn Groper.
It would take five months – including one spent at Riker’s – a city hall wedding and a DNA test before the deportation scare was over and Giraldo was finally cleared of the charges.
Five months the real groper roamed the city a free man, during which time he raped another victim.
And five months William Giraldo won’t ever get back.