PROSPECT PARK – A woman who was raped in Prospect Park in 1994 and then called a liar by a newspaper columnist finally has closure now that police have cracked the case.
On April 26, 1994, the 27-year-old victim was walking home through Prospect Park when she was dragged into the bushes and raped, WNYC reports. Following the incident, Mike McAlary, a columnist for the New York Daily News wrote a piece titled, “Rape hoax the real crime,” claiming that police sources told him the victim made up the rape to promote a gay and lesbian anti-violence rally she was organizing, according to the article.
John Miller, an NYPD spokesperson at the time of the crime told press following the rape that investigators “had some doubts” about the victim’s report and added there was a “lack of physical evidence” and “inconsistencies in her story,” according to the New York Post. Miller is currently the NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism and Intelligence.
The woman sued McAlary for libel but the case was dismissed, WNYC says, because McAlary had reported information he received from the police, the judge decided. McAlary died of colon cancer at the age of 41 in 1998.
Following the rape, police recovered semen at the scene of the crime, however it was mixed with the victim’s DNA. At the time, examiners were unable to separate the genetic material to find a match, the Post reports.
Approximately two months ago, the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad re-tested the DNA using new technology and were able to successfully separate the two DNA profiles, matching the suspect’s to 68-year-old James Edward Webb, according to the Post.
Webb is a serial rapist currently serving 75 years to life at Sing Sing for raping four women in Fort Greene while on parole in 1995, the Post reports. Webb had previously served 20 years in prison for six rapes he committed in the 1970s.
According to a representative at the District Attorney’s Office, “the statute of limitations in the Prospect Park case expired over a decade ago…making criminal charges legally impossible,” the Post reports.
Martin Garbus, the woman’s attorney, says the Daily News and the NYPD owe her an apology, according to WNYC.