Being charged with any crime comes with serious consequences, including dealing with the public’s suspicions and theories. If you are accused of a crime that has garnered considerable attention across Minnesota, the public may believe you are guilty even before you have a chance to defend yourself in the courtroom. When you are charged with a high-profile crime that happened several years ago, however, it is easy to stir-up the passion of community members with very little or unreliable evidence.
Unfortunately for a 20-year-old St. Paul man, police are charging him with a rape that happened almost five years ago. St. Paul police have alleged that he was involved in the sexual assault of a then 13-year-old girl in the Payne-Phalen neighborhood that riled up St. Paul residents and pushed police to not stop “until the attacker was captured,” according to the Pioneer Press.
While the investigation eventually went cold, St. Paul Police say they have discovered evidence that links the 20-year-old to the case. After the supposed rape, a nurse at Children’s Hospital apparently found DNA evidence that was run through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. This scan was initially performed in 2007 and almost five years later, they have arrested a man who has no history of rape or sexual violence.
What is unclear, however, is just how reliable this evidence is and whether errors have crept into the investigation along the way. The Pioneer Press reports that over the years, dozens of police investigators have had their hands in the case. It is possible that with the high volume of turnover and involvement, that current investigators are placing their trust on undependable evidence.
Source: Pioneer Press, “Arrest made in 2007 rape of St. Paul girl attacked on way to school,” Brady Gervais, Nov. 9, 2011