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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  • Display: Sort:
    Lots and lots of community service (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:33:53 PM EST
    Plus, she should be obligated to give up all her non-working hours to making Mr McCaffrey's life easier. She can do his domestic chores while he uses his time to rebuild his friendships and his life.

    Putting her in prison won't solve anything.

    Sounds like (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 07:27:33 AM EST
    He didn't have that great of a defense team to begin with - they fell down on the job too.

    This woman should spend some time in prison.  Not only did she deny this man his freedom, use up valuable court time and government resources, she, along with those who lie about rape, also make it harder for future rape victims to come forward and be believed.

    Also as part of her punishment, she should have to work with real rape victims to see what their lives are really like.

    But really - how many rape cases are filed that are truly false?  Does anyone know?

    Why did Peguero (none / 0) (#1)
    by BackFromOhio on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 07:41:37 PM EST
    wait 3 years & 5 months before campaigning for defendant's release?

    She needs some prison time for sure (none / 0) (#2)
    by Saul on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 07:58:17 PM EST
    in order to start to payback the injustice she created.  She took 4 years of this man's life.  Even though he is now proven innocent where does he go or who does he see to get his good name back?

    4 yrs in jail (none / 0) (#3)
    by ruffian on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:01:00 PM EST
    plus the rest of her life living with her own twisted brain ought to about cover it.

    should prosecute perjury more (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:28:52 PM EST
    This one should get 7 years.  Also the famous cases of death row murderers in which all sorts of witnesses "recant" at the last minute--someone committed perjury sometime then.

    Isn't it the job of the attorney's and (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 08:37:10 PM EST
    jurors to sift through all the evidence and claims to get to the truth? How did she manage to fake a rape unless she wasn't properly examined? That should have made prosecuting difficult and defending a bit easier.

    that's kind of what i was (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by cpinva on Thu Dec 10, 2009 at 11:58:06 PM EST
    wondering as well: don't they do a rape kit? shouldn't there have been physical evidence, consistent with rape?

    if not, and the DNA test came back as "inconclusive", and the only "evidence" was her identification, that should have given the prosecutor great pause to begin with. what about the other two claimed "rapists", were they ever identified, arrested, charged and tried?

    this whole thing (based solely on what i've read so far) doesn't sound like it should ever have passed the preliminary smell test.


    what would feminists say? (none / 0) (#23)
    by diogenes on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 06:38:57 PM EST
    I suspect that the majority of sex and domestic crimes are he said-she said with no DNA evidence.  How about when a woman gets an order of protection kicking out a partner for "threatening to kill her".  Do you really want such a stringent standard of proof?

    I am eternally grateful (none / 0) (#9)
    by hairspray on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:03:06 AM EST
    to DNA testing for guilt and innocence and paternity.  This woman needs to be punished, but what form I am not sure.  The whole problem of rape is fraught with injustice, from the man as well as the woman's side.  There are thousands of cases where women and girls are raped and beaten yet never report.  It seems to be that in a society there will be these things.  The justice system sounds awful in this case.  I wonder what in which state this was tried.

    New York (none / 0) (#10)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 08:12:03 AM EST
    This one made my blood boil.... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:18:54 AM EST
    when I read it in the paper...but I don't see what sending the woman to jail will acomplish except adding more misery to a miserable situation.  A better idea would be some restitution for the victim...4 years worth of wages over time from the woman...a check from the city wouldn't hurt either.

    Like ruffian said, living with herself is her main punishment...and the prosecutors who tried this dog of a case living with themselves too.

    You need (none / 0) (#13)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:41:02 AM EST
    to place some blame on the criminal defense attorneys too, kdog.  Sounds like they could have done more for their client too.

    Never looks good... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:43:39 AM EST
    for the defense when innocent men get convicted...but they didn't make false accusations or bring a case based on false accusations alone.

    No (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:07:42 AM EST
    But did they actually do their job to the best of their ability (as they are ethically obligated to do)?  Should they have been able to find this same information that acquitted him?

    I realize this is a criminal defense blog, but this side never seems to get addressed.


    I hear ya... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 10:54:38 AM EST
    they dropped the ball...but the guy isn't even in court if the prosecutors do their job...they have discretion for a reason.

    perhaps (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:30:53 AM EST
    mandated counseling as opposed to prison? Maybe her problems could be better addressed outside the prison system....

    really? (none / 0) (#15)
    by pitachips on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 09:51:30 AM EST
    put someone in prison for 4 years - exposing him to some of the most violent, predatory and psychopathic individuals in our society; possibly tearing apart his family; depriving any children he may have of a father figure and provider; forever taint his name with the accusation of a gang rape - and you suggest counseling?

    i hate to get biblical but assuming there's no evidence this woman wasn't mentally challenged, and not just emotionally out of whack, any punishment that doesn't include some prison time would be a travesty of justice.

    two wrongs make a right? (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jlvngstn on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 11:15:10 AM EST
    Ok, if she does not have mental issues than prison is just, but my guess is that there is some festering illness there.  I would like to know more about the evidence and the prosecutors role in the conviction.  I realize that the victim most likely positively identified him and who wants to not believe a rape victim?  That said, I would like to more know about her and the prosecution to learn from the situation.  

    And I don't think for one minute that he was not in hell for 4 years and will be in close to hell the rest of his life trying to get a job, housing, friends etc.  Travesty all the way around.

    But I still feel like we imprison too much.  Instead of helping those unfortunates who have severe mental illnesses we stick them in prisons with violent predators as I am sure the real victim here can attest to.  


    Well I must admit to real suprise (none / 0) (#22)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 12:46:45 PM EST
    at J's apparent hope that this pos get an "eye for an eye" sentence. This has got to be a first.

    Kudos to the kdogs and Jlivingston's, etc., of TL who stick to their principles.

    Listen to what the falsely accused guy said:

    "We are troubled by what she did, but at the same time, she was courageous in coming forward and against all these odds and in the face of a perjury indictment and deportation, she told the truth."

    Yep, she's a Dominican, married to a US citizen,  and may be deported.

    Here's what the guy's crack defense lawyer had to say:

    "We knew all along she was lying," said Glenn Garber, McCaffrey's lawyer.
    Here's what probably didn't help the guy in court:
    It didn't help that McCaffrey -- who has a long rap sheet of drug and violence arrests -- claimed that absolutely nothing happened in the car, because an argument did erupt, although there wasn't a sexual assault or rape, law-enforcement sources said.
    My dad always said "nothing good happens after midnight" referring to my youthful partying habits, and he was right in this case too:
    The seeds of her false story were sown about 5 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2005, when Mr. McCaffrey approached Ms. Gonzalez -- who then went by the name of her husband at the time, Peguero -- and her friends outside a restaurant in Inwood.

    Diogenes Theorem (none / 0) (#24)
    by diogenes on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 06:42:57 PM EST
    "It didn't help that McCaffrey -- who has a long rap sheet of drug and violence arrests..."

    Victims of false ID and prison as a rule have committed many crimes for which they were never sentenced or even arrested.  Sunday School teachers seldom get nailed this way.  You might say that Karma caught up with McCaffrey and now he's done the time which he had earned from past crimes.