Statutory Rape Case Shows Complexity Of Justice System

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

A Charlotte man who spent almost two months in jail and another nine wearing an electronic monitor has learned that prosecutors have dropped the statutory rape charge against him.

"It was a shocker to me. Life is precious. Freedom was everything to me," the 46-year-old man told Eyewitness News Tuesday as he described his arrest last February on charges that he raped a 15-year-old girl.

Police had arrested him at his northwest Charlotte apartment after the girl told them the two had sex at her home off Freedom Drive. He was facing a mandatory sentence of 16 years in prison if he was convicted.

But in the months after he was arrested, the case against him began to fall apart.

“There were interviews with the victim in which things that she said initially were not true," prosecutor Kelly Miller said Tuesday.

Miller said there were no witnesses who saw the two having sex and they were hoping DNA tests would help bolster the case, but they didn't.

“When we learned the DNA evidence was unable to corroborate her statement, we had to dismiss the case," Miller said.

She said it is unusual, but not unheard of, for cases like that to be dismissed.

She contacted the girl's father before she dismissed the charges and said he was upset but understood the situation.

The father said Tuesday he said he's convinced that the man, who had lived nearby, did have sex with his daughter, but he also realizes a jury might not convict him because she had changed her story. He said he and his family had moved away even before the charges were dropped.

And the man who had spent time in jail said he will not soon forget it.

"I feel violated. I feel truly angry about this whole thing. I feel a victim," he said.