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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Doctors Who Examined the Central Park Jogger: We Said Matias Reyes Did Not Act Alone, But Bill de Blasio Ignored Us! Attackers' Lawyer Says Drs. are "Part of a Conspiracy" with Police and Prosecutors

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Note that "The Jogger’s" (Trisha Meili’s) doctors have been insisting for at least 12 years that Matias Reyes could not have single-handedly inflicted all of her wounds.
 

“Central Park Jogger's” Doctors Said Injuries Indicate More Than One Attacker
Matias Reyes' Confession He was Sole Attacker Led to Conviction Dismissals for "Central Park Five"
By Sean Gardiner
Updated June 20, 2014 4:16 p.m. ET
Wall Street Journal

 

Raymond Santana, right, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam, left, with supporters on Jan. 17, 2013. Associated Press
 

Two doctors who treated the "Central Park jogger" after she was beaten, raped and left for dead in 1989 say that medical evidence shows her confessed assailant might not have been her only attacker.

Convicted serial rapist Matias Reyes's 2002 confession, in which he said he acted alone, was the cornerstone of prosecutors' 2002 decision to dismiss the conviction of five teenagers who were found guilty of the crime in 1990. They became known as the Central Park Five.


 
Dr. Jane Haher (Jen Judge for the Wall Street Journal)

 
Footage of defendant Yusef Salaam walking into the courthouse flanked by police officers in the documentary 'The Central Park Five.' (Sundance Selects)
 

The confession is also the basis for the five men's federal civil rights lawsuit against New York City. On Wednesday, the city and the five men agreed to settle the suit for $40 million, according to a person familiar with the matter.

City attorneys, at the direction of Mayor Bill de Blasio, began negotiating the settlement with attorneys for Yusef Salaam, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey "Korey" Wise and Raymond Santana when he took office. For about a decade, the Bloomberg administration litigated the plaintiffs' allegations that prosecutors and detectives coerced false confessions out of the five men.

During their trials, the jury heard testimony that semen recovered at the crime scene didn't match their DNA. They each served between 6 ¾ and 13 years. The prosecution's case relied on their statements incriminating each other and a theory that an additional rapist hadn't been caught.

The case continues to be controversial. In 2013, documentarian Ken Burns and his daughter, Sarah Burns, released the film "Central Park Five." Both are outspoken proponents of the men's innocence.

The two doctors who treated Patricia Meili after the attack said in recent interviews with The Wall Street Journal that some of her physical wounds weren't consistent with the description of Mr. Reyes's acts, which he provided to authorities. DNA tests have confirmed Mr. Reyes raped Ms. Meili, prosecutors said.

The doctors said their findings aren't evidence of the innocence or guilt of the five men or that they were involved in the attack. But their information, they said, should call into question Mr. Reyes's assertion that he was her only attacker.

Mr. Reyes wasn't prosecuted in Ms. Meili's case because the statute of limitations expired. Letters sent to him in Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, N.Y. seeking comment weren't answered. A spokeswoman for the city's Law Department declined to comment. Ten lawyers representing the five men and their families didn't return messages for comment. Several of the defendants in the civil suit said they were under orders from the judge not to publicly discuss the case.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Meili said she suffered amnesia as a result of the attack and has no memory of it. She said that over the years she has discussed her injuries with her doctors and they shared their opinions that some of the wounds weren't consistent with Mr. Reyes' description of the attack. Ms. Meili, who said she hasn't been contacted by city attorneys negotiating the settlement, said she gave the doctors permission to discuss her injuries and medical treatment.

"I will never know what happened that horrible night," Ms. Meili said. "But I am determined to give voice to this information that people
just seem to gloss over and ignore."

Robert Kurtz was the director of the surgical intensive-care unit at Metropolitan Hospital supervising Ms. Meili's recovery during her approximately seven weeks there after the April 19, 1989 attack.

The doctor, now 72, said city lawyers litigating the case have never contacted him. He said he thought it was important that city officials are aware of his information after Mr. de Blasio said he wanted to settle the case. A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio did not return a message seeking comment.

Dr. Kurtz said Ms. Meili, then a 28-year-old investment banker, nearly bled to death from five lacerations to her head.

Three of those injuries were blunt wounds that could have been caused by the tree limb and rock that Mr. Reyes, now 43, said he used in the attack, Dr. Kurtz said. But two other wounds were caused by a cutting instrument, such as a knife or razorblade, he said. In the portions of his confessions made public, Mr. Reyes didn't mention using sharp weapons.

"There had to be another individual or a group who inflicted injuries with a sharp-edged instrument if he only used a blunt object," Dr. Kurtz said.

He was called by the government and testified at the trials of the five men. But lawyers didn't ask what weapons could have caused the lacerations, Dr. Kurtz said.

Jane Haher, the former chief of plastic surgery at Metropolitan, said she examined Ms. Meili the day after the attack. Dr. Haher said what she saw on Ms. Meili's legs, which were swollen with fluids, was something "I'll never forget as long as I live."

There were several sets of handprints, as if left on clay, indented on Ms. Meili's thighs, calves, ankles and behind her knees, Dr. Haher said. That indicated to her that "people held her legs down while somebody did this horrible act."

Dr. Haher said the hand marks weren't technically injuries and she didn't record them on her medical chart. "I was not thinking of the legal case," she said.

Dr. Kurtz is in possession of Ms. Meili's medical records. He said he remembered speaking with Dr. Haher about the handprints. But he said the marks didn't strike him as unusual because media reports at the time said there were multiple people involved in the attack.

Dr. Haher said she was questioned by city attorneys fighting the men's lawsuit about six years ago. She said she hasn't been contacted by the current administration.

Jonathan Moore, an attorney who represents three of the five plaintiffs in their lawsuit, said there is "absolutely no evidence," including medical records, supporting the doctors' claims.

The doctors coming forward at this point, he said, appears to him to be part of a conspiracy that stretches from former detectives, prosecutors and others "responsible for this terrible injustice." It is a desperate attempt, he said, to scuttle the settlement talks to protect their reputations.

"You're talking about someone who said it's not in the [medical] records but he just remembers it from 25 years ago?" Mr. Moore said.
Both doctors denied that they are part of any conspiracy. Dr. Kurtz said his information consists of "medical facts." Dr. Haher said she is "just telling the truth about what I saw that day."

Mr. Moore is correct that Ms. Meili's medical records lack specificity, Dr. Kurtz said. The records only list the size and location of the lacerations, which he said is standard. "I watched those wounds as they healed," he said. "I know what they looked like."

Corrections & Amplifications
Robert Kurtz, the former director of the surgical intensive-care unit at Metropolitan Hospital, is 72 years old. A June 20 article about his observations of the "Central Park Jogger's" wounds incorrectly said he was 73.

Write to Sean Gardiner at sean.gardiner@wsj.com

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Look at those savages with the clenched fists.

Anonymous said...

Does the victim of the rape have recourse in civil court for damages? I would like to think so but I guess there is a statute of limitations here. Or is there?

Nicholas said...

For whites, there is a statute of limitations. For blacks, none applies.

Anonymous said...

There is no justice in America except that you have the courage to make yourself. Our leaders and our law have failed us.

Anonymous said...

Looking at a good many of the comments to the article, you see (again) how liberals refuse to acknowledge the black crime rate.

They are like slavish supporters of a dictatorship.

David In TN

Malcontent X said...

THOSE LOWLIFE THUGS WERE/ARE GUILTY AS SIN. I REMEMBER WALKING AT THE PARK THE NEXT DAY, IT WAS LIKE WALKING THRU MOSUL IRAQ LAST WEEK, A WAR ZONE. THE EVIDENCE AGAINST THOSE PUNKS WAS SOLID, BUT D.A. MORGENTHAU WAS A WALKING CORPSE BY TIME IT CAME TO REPROSECUTE AND HE WANTED TO RELAX WITH HIS MILLIONS $$$$$ NOT DO THE JOB HE WAS WAY TOO OLD FOR.

Anonymous said...

Uh the evidence against them was zero and non existent. the confessions were sloppy inconsistent messes. The doctors could well be wrong


If anything conservatives refuse to acknowledge large amounts of racism and poverty.

Nicholas said...

Anonymous Coward (Friday, July 17, 2015 at 3:01:00 PM EDT),

Racist liar. We both know you are, but I felt the need to state it for the record, as a formality.