Charges have been dropped against three men from the Bronx and one man from Long Island accused of raping a Hofstra University student inside a dormitory, after their accuser recanted her story.
The 18-year-old freshman originally claimed she was gang raped over the weekend by five men inside a men's dorm; four were arrested.
She had charged that she was lured to the dorm by her stolen cell phone.
But the Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice says the accuser, who the DA called "very troubled," admitted last night that the encounter was consensual.
"What we now know is what she told us, that a crime did not happen," said the district attorney.
The DA said that her story changed when she was told there may have been a tape of the incident.
The judge last night dismissed the charges against Hofstra student Rondell Bedward, 21, and his friends 19-year-olds Jesus Ortiz and Stalin Felipe, all from the Bronx, and Kevin Taveras, 20, of Long Island.
Bedward says his release from jail has him overwhelmed with joy.
"This has meant a lot to me," he said. "It's been a troubling time. I'm sorry this whole thing happened and I'm just ready to move forward with my life and my career and just put this in the past and move forward."
A criminal investigation has been opened into why the young woman lied.
Bedward says he has no harsh feelings toward his accuser, but his mother was not as forgiving.
"She could have destroyed these boys' lives forever," said Bedward's mother, Mae Bedward. "Those are some serious charges. And then the women that do really get raped, it effects them."
Earlier this week, Bedward was suspended from Hofstra, where he was studying political science and communications, as a result of the charges. The university today said he could return to school.
The university has now suspended the 18-year-old accuser.