Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heads roll as Chabad rape charges dropped

NYTimes   In a startling reversal in a case that raised questions about misconduct in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, defense lawyers for two of the four men from Crown Heights, indicted last year on charges of raping and forcibly prostituting a neighborhood woman for nearly a decade, said that prosecutors notified them on Wednesday that they were planning to drop all charges in the case. 

 The charges, brought against the men last June, created an initial shock not only because the victim complained of being attacked beginning at age 13, but also because she was a member of the Chabad Lubavitch community of Orthodox Jews and the accused were older black men in the same neighborhood, where those two groups coexist, but rarely interact. 

Shortly after the police report was produced, Abbie Greenberger, a prosecutor on the case who had quit her job, said that her boss, Lauren Hersh, the chief of the district attorney’s sex-trafficking unit, had pressured her to move forward despite concerns about inconsistencies in the case. Weeks later, Ms. Hersh herself resigned after facing questions from an internal ethics panel.

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