Rape charges were dropped against two former New York City police officers accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in a police van after arresting her for marijuana possession.
The New York Times reports the Brooklyn District Attorney's office on Wednesday dropped more than 40 charges against former Detectives Richard Hall and Edward Martins, including rape, sexual assault and kidnapping.
The teenager was driving with two friends near Coney Island in September 2017 when the two plainclothes detectives pulled her over and found marijuana. After they released her, the woman went to the hospital, where prosecutors say DNA was obtained that matched both men.
The officers, who resigned after the allegations broke, pleaded not guilty and claimed the sex was consensual. They've now been newly charged with accepting sexual favors as a bribe.
The case spurred legislation to close what some called a police sex loophole. While New York law already bars sex between prison guards and inmates, it didn't apply to officers and those in their custody. The loophole has since been closed.
A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office, Oren Yaniv, blamed "unforeseen and serious credibility issues" after recent evidence surfaced that contradicted the woman's testimony to a grand jury.
"We are fully committed to holding these defendants accountable by vigorously pursuing the charges in this case that can be proven with independent and reliable evidence," Yaniv said.
"This is a sad day for victims of sexual violence in the United States, that something like this could happen," the woman's lawyer, Michael David, said. "She needs to get justice."
Martin's lawyer, Mark A. Bederow, said the sex-crime charges "should never have been brought" in the first place. "Now we can try the case. What's left of it."
Hall's lawyer, Peter Guadagnino, said the detectives were dedicated to being police officers. "They still feel hurt," he said.