Ten years ago 16-year-old Brian Banks was accused of rape. He pleaded no contest and spent five years in prison.
Recently, he was contacted by his accuser, Wanetta Gibson, who told him in two meetings that she wanted to recant her accusation. She was willing to explain that, ten years ago, she had lied about a consensual sexual act.
The Washington Post reports on what happened next:
In two meetings, she said she had lied and offered to help him clear his name, but there was a catch. She did not want to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against the Long Beach schools.
She refused to repeat her new story to prosecutors but they accepted the account which had been secretly videotaped by the defense.
It was uncertain whether Gibson will have to return the money and unlikely she would be prosecuted for making the false accusation so long ago.
The court exonerated Banks, ordered his electronic monitoring bracelet removed, and declared that he was no longer a felon.
I don’t know the legal issues here, but it offends everyone’s sense of justice that she is allowed to keep the money she obtained under false pretenses. It is also profoundly offensive that she will not be punished for what she did.
Gibson is not just getting away with having taken years from a young man’s life. She was rewarded for it. And she believes that she should not have to give up her reward.
Clearly, something is wrong with this picture.
Most women do not lie about rape. Unfortunately, some do. Those who do not lie deserve justice, but so do those who do.