Rape Suspects Freed
MEDIA COURTHOUSE — A pair of men accused of rape and related charges for an alleged assault on a Darby woman in February were ordered released on nominal bail Friday, pending a trial in October.The story makes clear that prosecutors are waiting for lab tests to help make their case but forensic evidence has not been processed making it impossible to bring the case to trial.
Emmanuel Benson, 22, and Henry Besson III, 27, both Liberia natives, have been charged in the Feb. 28 assault that allegedly took place at an unregistered boarding house on the 700 block of Pine Street, where the two men were living with numerous other individuals.
Judge John Capuzzi cited a Pennsylvania statute known as Rule 600, which states that incarcerated defendants must be brought to trial within 180 days from the date on which the complaint is filed. Defense requests for continuance are not computed in that time frame.
Sounds like Judge Capuzzi did exactly the right thing in releasing these two men to home monitoring.
The reported facts of the case make it sound like a He Said/She Said deal, with the young woman claiming the men forced to drink alcohol and not actually knowing what happened to her.
The accused allegedly made some sort of admissions during police questioning that their lawyers want to have suppressed. What's likely is that they (or one of them) admitted to having sex with the woman but claimed it was voluntary.
DNA evidence from two condoms found at the scene turned out not to match the defendants. This unlicensed boarding house sounds like a lovely place. But at least some of its inhabitants are practicing safe sex.
Anyway what's right is right and the law is the law. You either try the accused within the statutorily required time frame or you let them go. These men deserve the same presumption of innocence as any other criminal defendant. And the same legal protections. They have already spend six months in jail for a crime that may not have even happened.
It sounds like the DAs case is mediocre at best. But that's tough. Either try 'em or set them free.