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Cleared Defendants In Central Park Jogger Rape File Lawsuit

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TWC News: Cleared Defendants In Central Park Jogger Rape File Lawsuit
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Three men who served prison time for the 1989 Central Park jogger rape but were cleared last year filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the city Monday.

Lawyers for Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson and Raymond Santana say the suit names the city, the Police Department and the Manhattan district attorney's office, alleging malicious prosecution and conspiracy to cover the truth. The suit seeks $$50 million for each of them.

Largely on the basis of videotaped confessions, which they later said were coerced, the three plaintiffs, along with two other then-teenagers, were convicted in the 1989 beating and rape that left a 28-year-old woman near death. The defendants, who had already served sentences ranging from five-and-a-half to 13 years, were cleared a year ago based on the confession, supported by DNA evidence, of convicted murderer and rapist Matias Reyes.

The three men say they want justice.

“Some of my family won’t even talk to me no more. It's real rough. I couldn't get a job, nothing,” said Santana. “I still struggle now with just daily living. So you want to know what I want? I want justice. I never received justice. This is what I want now.”

One of Santana’s attorneys, Jonathan Moore, says police and detectives who handled the case did not conduct a thorough investigation, which could have led to Reyes years ago.

“What did the Police Department know, and what did they have in their possession that would have exonerated these young men back in 1989?" said Moore.

“The lives of these young men and their families were so adversely affected in many, many different ways that we will never, never be able to personally appreciate,” said Michael Warren, another attorney for the plaintiffs.

Santana went to prison at the age of 14. His family says the last 13 years have been a nightmare, robbing Santana of precious years that they can never get back

“What we went through was very horrible to our family, and for all the families,” said Joann Santana, Raymond’s sister. “We was dragged from the media, from the authorities, from the community - our lives was hell."

“Everybody was attacking me in the streets. I had no friends,” said Raymond Santana Sr., the father of Raymond Santana. “In the job it was the same way. People would talk about me, and I couldn't even go to the cafeteria and have a nice lunch."

The two other cleared defendants, Kharey Wise and Yusef Salaam, plan to file similar lawsuits.

The Police Department and the Manhattan district attorney’s office have denied wrongdoing. The Manhattan D.A. had recommended overturning the sentences, but a report by an NYPD panel said the youths may have assaulted the jogger before Reyes raped her — on a night when others in the park were the victims of “wilding.”
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