Man Freed After 4 Years, Victim Admits False Rape Report
Biurny Peguero claimed three men kidnapped and raped her. She swore to it under oath at the grand jury and at the trial of William McCaffrey, a construction worker. He was convicted and sentenced to 20 years. He went to prison. Four years later, McCaffrey was officially cleared today.
How did it happen? His attorney was able to get new DNA tests on bite marks on Peguero's arms. The reports at the time of the trial were inconclusive. The new testing showed the bites didn't come from McCaffrey but from two women who had fought with Peguero.
Peguero later confessed to a priest and then to the DA's office that she made the whole thing up. She wanted people to feel sorry for her.
She claimed she was raped because she wanted her friends "to feel badly" for her, and then was afraid to back down from her story as the case continued, prosecutors said in court filings this fall. She thought McCaffrey ultimately would be acquitted because of a lack of other evidence, prosecutors said.
Peguero, who now goes by the name Biurney Gonzales, pleaded guilty to perjury last week and faces up to 7 years in prison. And it sounds like DA Morganthau thinks she deserves a break. Her lawyer praises her for working to help free McCaffrey for the past 7 months.
"People, you know, can manipulate the system, and this woman did in this case," Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said Thursday while discussing an unrelated case with reporters. "But she's paying a price for it."
...Her lawyer, Paul Callan, said she was "very, very happy" about McCaffrey's vindication. "My client has been working diligently over the last seven months to see that this day would come," he said.
The AP reporter interviews only a prosecutor (no defense counsel) who says most recanted rape claims get caught before the defendant goes to trial. What about cases where the victim lies about the offense and never recants? How many of those defendants are still doing time for a crime they didn't commit because it didn't happen?
What should Peguero's sentence be, for lying to cops, prosecutors, a grand jury, a trial jury and the sentencing judge, costing a man four plus years of his life and a ruined reputation? Maybe the 4 years McCaffrey spent in prison less the 7 months she tried to turn it around?
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