CROWN HEIGHTS — After weeks of intense speculation, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office officially dropped its sordid yearlong sex trafficking case against four black men accused of repeatedly raping and pimping an Orthodox Jewish teenager in Crown Heights.
What had originally been touted as an open-and-shut case began to crumble in April, after District Attorney Charles Hynes revealed that the victim had recanted part of her statement to police. This fact was improperly withheld from the defense team while defendants Darrell Dula, Damien Crooks, and brothers Jawari and Jamali Brockett languished in jail.
Dula and Crooks were released in April but the Brockett brothers remained behind bars on unrelated charges.
Little more than a month later, the county's lead prosecutor for trafficking crimes resigned amid whispers that she had mishandled the case. This month, amid increasing speculation about the young woman's credibility, rumors began to swirl that the case would be dismissed.
"I immediately directed that the documents be turned over to the defense attorneys and we joined in the application to have the defendants released pending the outcome of a reinvestigation," Hynes said in a statement announcing that the indictment had been dismissed.
"We have now reviewed all documents connected to this case. We have concluded as a result that we can no longer proceed with this case."
The victim's father told the New York Daily News he was "saddened" and "ashamed" that the case had been dropped.
"We understand the frustration of the family of the victim," Hynes said. "If it is any consolation our office has made the prosecution of sex traffickers a high priority even though many cases are difficult because the sole witness is usually the victim."