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Men claim sex with woman was consensual

Some things that at first seem to be so clear in a criminal case fall apart under closer scrutiny. Such appears to be the case regarding five Brooklyn teenagers who are accused of the gang rape of a young woman at a Brownsville playground.

Even as the last suspect was arrested at Samuel J. Tilden High School this week, two of the others arrested earlier are claiming the alleged 18-year-old victim was engaged in sex with her own father prior to their arrival at the playground. The teens also claim that their contact with her was consensual.

Four of the teens have been charged as adults with forcible compulsion, sex abuse, rape and criminal sex act.

Two readily admitted to New York Police Department officers that last Thursday, after encountering the woman around 9 p.m. at Osborn Playground, they had consensual sex with her. They also claimed that she was drunk and having intercourse with a man who later claimed to be her father when they first saw her, according to sources with the NYPD.

Relatives of some of the accused said that one teen boy recorded cellphone video that allegedly shows the victim near her father with her pants pulled down. According to the New York Post, a short video clip shows a half-dressed woman smiling and rocking back and forth on the ground. Laughter from young men is audible in the background.

One teen is reportedly heard speaking to the man with the victim, asking permission to engage in sex with her, a police source claims.

The man with the woman was also allegedly intoxicated, according to reports from witnesses and statements from the accused.

If the video reports are accurate, this decimates the prosecution's case, as it backs up the teens claim that the sex was consensual.

Police were obtaining a warrant to view the cellphone video clip.

Four of the five suspects appeared in Brooklyn Criminal Court this week. One of the assistant DAs admitted that none could be positively identified in a line-up. Still, prosecutors asked that one suspect be remanded while the others remain in jail on a $500,000 bail.

It is vital that anyone facing similar charges work with defense counsel to identify and preserve exculpatory evidence as soon as possible.

Source: New York Post, "Suspects claim teen was having sex with father before alleged gang rape," Larry Celona, Reuven Fenton and Kevin Sheehan, Jan. 12, 2016

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