Charges dropped against five teens accused of New York gang rape

Rape suspects New York

(Reuters) – A New York City prosecutor said he was moving to dismiss charges against five teenagers accused of raping an 18-year-old woman on a Brooklyn playground after the alleged victim recanted the accusations she was assaulted at gunpoint.

The allegations of rape on the Brooklyn playground made national headlines and stoked fear in the Brownsville community after the woman said she was drinking in the park with her father when the teens, brandishing a gun, surrounded them.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said the woman had stopped cooperating with investigators and had given conflicting accounts of what occurred during the Jan. 7 incident.

She had also been engaged in sexual conduct with her biological father when the teens approached her inside the park in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, a statement said.

"That night, this young woman's father and the five young men engaged in conduct that was reprehensible and wrong," Thompson said. "But because of the lack of reliable evidence, criminal charges simply cannot be sustained."

The woman was also refusing to cooperate with any incest prosecution against her father, he added.

Four boys, who ranged in age from 14 to 17, were arrested in the days after the incident and charged with rape and other related counts. A fifth suspect, age 18, was also taken into custody.

"You can only imagine the trauma that would go along with a charge like this hanging over a young child's head," Abdula Green, an attorney for one of the boys, told a news conference on Wednesday.