Rape! It happened in broad daylight 23 years ago but …


In 1994, a 27-year old Yale graduate and activist was raped in Central Park in broad daylight. Soon after, the NYPD and the New York Daily News, one of the country’s most widely read papers, accused her in print of lying. Then her rapist was found.

An NYC resident named Bonnie started this petition to get the victim, known only as “Jane Doe,” a public apology from those that accused her of lying about her rape over 24 years ago.

Two days after Jane reported her attack, one of the biggest columnists in the city Mike McAlary penned a column about her titled “Rape Hoax the Real Crime” in the New York Daily News. Based on his anonymous sources within the the NYPD, McAlarly wrote “everyone who heard the woman’s story about the alleged rape was calling it a hoax.”

Even after the NY Daily News reported the police’s discovery of male DNA in Jane Doe’s rape kit, McAlarly continue to writein his own columns that Jane Doe was making it all up.

Jane sued the NY Daily News and journalist Mike McAlary for libel, but the case was dismissed when the court determined that the McAlary accurately conveyed the false statements he’d received from top NYPD sources regarding her case. McAlary died in 1998.

Last month, after almost 25 years, the NYPD notified Jane Doe that her rapist had finally been uncovered through DNA testing. The perpetrator, James Edward Webb, had been serving a 75-year sentence for serial rape. He was out on parole in 1994 when he raped Jane Doe. An NYPD Deputy Commissioner involved in the initial case later issued a written apology to her.

Bonnie believes it is way past time for the media to treat rape survivors with dignity and respect. The harm Jane Doe has suffered as a result of the NY Daily News’s ugly rush to judgement cannot be repaired, but there is one big step they can take to help make this right.

Please sign and share Bonnie’s petition calling on the New York Daily News to issue an official apology for publicly smearing Jane Doe as a liar and hoaxer in their paper.

Sylvia Rolle
Change.org Campaigns Team

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