Woman recants false rape charge, freeing man after 3 years in prison

Story from CBS News. (H/T Lex Communis)


A construction worker imprisoned for nearly three years was cleared by an apologetic judge on Thursday after his accuser admitted she lied about being gang raped to make her friends feel sorry for her.

William McCaffrey hugged his lawyer when state Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers – who’d also presided over William McCaffrey’s rape and kidnapping trial – threw out the conviction and dismissed the initial charges. DNA tests also had called the conviction into doubt.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” the soft-spoken McCaffrey said outside court. “I’m just glad it’s over.”

Biurny Peguero, then 22, originally said three men, led by McCaffrey, raped her at knifepoint after tricking her into getting into their car after a night out in 2005.

She testified at his trial and said at his 2006 sentencing that the “tragedy changed my life forever.” He got a 20-year prison term.

Defense lawyer Glenn A. Garber later persuaded prosecutors to use new technology to retest DNA samples from an apparent bite mark on Peguero’s arm.

The initial tests were inconclusive. The new ones showed the genetic material not only wasn’t McCaffrey’s but came from at least two women, apparently friends of Peguero’s who fought with her.

Peguero confessed her lie to a priest and then to authorities this year. She claimed she was raped because she wanted her friends “to feel badly” for her, and then was afraid to back down from her story as the case continued, prosecutors said in court filings this fall.

My concern about this is twofold. First, it undermines the testimony of women who really have been raped. Second, it makes men mistrustful of women so that men will think twice about forming any kind of relationship. Good women need to speak up about these injustices now… that is, unless they really don’t care that men are imprisoned on false charges of rape.

Why do women make false accusations of rape?

One recent study listed three reasons why women invent false rape accusations.


A study of rape allegations in Indiana over a nine-year period revealed that over 40% were shown to be false — not merely unproven. According to the author, “These false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations.” ( Kanin EJ. Arch Sex Behav. 1994 Feb;23(1):81-92 False rape allegations. )

In 1985, a study of 556 rape allegations found that 27% accusers recanted when faced with a polygraph (which can be ordered in the military), and independent evaluation showed a false accusation rate of 60%. (McDowell, Charles P., Ph.D. “False Allegations.” Forensic Science Digest, (publication of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Vol. 11, No. 4 (December 1985), p. 64.)

Please leave a comment below explaining what you think should happen to a woman like Biurny Peguero, who makes a false accusation that sends a man to prison for 3 years, because she wanted to obtain sympathy and attention. And be sure and check the links below for other false rape accusations that cover the other two common reasons for making false rape accusations.

False accusations in divorce trials

False accusations of domestic violence and sexual abuse are also commonly made during divorce settlements in order to get custody of the children, and the attendant benefits.

Consider this article from Touchstone magazine, by Stephen Baskerville.


Today it is not clear that we have learned anything from these miscarriages of justice. If anything, the hysteria has been institutionalized in the divorce courts, where false allegations have become routine.

What is ironic about these witch-hunts is the fact that it is easily demonstrable that the child abuse epidemic—which is very real—is almost entirely the creation of feminism and the welfare bureaucracies themselves. It is well established by scholars that an intact family is the safest place for women and children and that very little abuse takes place in married families. Child abuse overwhelmingly occurs in single-parent homes, homes from which the father has been removed. Domestic violence, too, is far more likely during or after the breakup of a marriage than among married couples.

Yet patently false accusations of both child abuse and domestic violence are rampant in divorce courts, almost always for purposes of breaking up families, securing child custody, and eliminating fathers. “With child abuse and spouse abuse you don’t have to prove anything,” the leader of a legal seminar tells divorcing mothers, according to the Chicago Tribune. “You just have to accuse.”

Among scholars and legal practitioners it is common knowledge that patently trumped-up accusations are routinely used, and virtually never punished, in divorce and custody proceedings. Elaine Epstein, president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, writes that “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage” in custody cases. The Illinois Bar Journal describes how abuse accusations readily “become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.” The UMKC Law Review reports on a survey of judges and attorneys revealing that disregard for due process and allegations of domestic violence are used as a “litigation strategy.” In the Yale Law Review, Jeannie Suk calls domestic violence accusations a system of “state-imposed de facto divorce” and documents how courts use unsupported accusations to justify evicting Americans from their homes and children.

The multi-billion dollar abuse industry has become “an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice” writes David Heleniak in the Rutgers Law Review. Domestic violence has become “a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory,” write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in the scholarly journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. “No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.”

If we care about justice for all, then we have to care about this, too.

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29 thoughts on “Woman recants false rape charge, freeing man after 3 years in prison”

  1. Aren’t there laws against false accusations and giving false witness (perjury etc) that would cover what this woman did?
    What should happen to the (possibly overzealous) prosecutors who sent this man to prison?


      1. I’m not familiar with the case, but it seems there was some action taken by the falsely accused against (at the least) the city.

        I didn’t find any action taken against the accuser, which I assume means she wasn’t charged in any fashion?

        It does seem to be somewhat of an imbalance if there is no real deterrent against making false statements of that variety.


  2. Since the woman lied while under oath, she should serve at least the same amount of time the man served. And I believe in a hypothetical case where the woman lied but was found out before the man served any time. she should be prosecuted and sentenced to however much time a judge thinks is appropriate. If they start prosecuting the women for lying, then it might make a woman with the same idea think twice about doing something so blatantly wrong.


  3. I was jury forewoman on case in NYC in which the defendant was sentenced to five years for lying under oath. It’s not like this woman is going to be excused for making a false accusation and committing perjury.


  4. She lied under oath. That’s perjury. She also made a false allegation/ police report. She should have charges brought against her and serve time. Period.


  5. Women who lie about rape consistently get away with it without being charged with perjury or making a false accusation. The Duke Lacrosse false rape allegations come to mind immediately.

    I agree with Orlando, the women who make false rape allegations should be sentenced the same amount of tie that the man would have served. If there was a way to stigmatize the woman the same way the man was, I’m all for it. Unfortunately, the thinking now is that the woman is always a victim, so it’s not her fault she lied and ruined a man’s life.


  6. 1redhead:

    Are you just saying that women who lie about rape consistently get away with it or do you know for a fact? I’d like to see some substantiation for your claim, not because I don’t believe it, but because if any data exists, it would be helpful to know.



  7. I wish data exists. Data exists that up to half of rape claims are lies – for reasons ranging from revenge to getting sympathy to obtaining an alibi. ( http://tinyurl.com/2cuw3tk ) If these statistics are even remotely correct, why aren’t there more charges of perjury against these women? To be truthful, some women are charged, generalizations are generalizations, after all. However, I find it funny that a) I can’t find any statistics on what happens to false rape accusers and b) some high profile false accusation cases have accusers who are not charged.

    Three blatant cases are the Duke case, the Hofstra case ( http://tinyurl.com/ye5bbj3 )and the Tawana Brawley hoax. I won’t bother submitting links to the Duke and Brawley cases because they are quite famous.

    A couple of other cases, in the UK:

    I’m not even touching the false allegations of sexual child abuse by mothers who want to alienate their child’s father from them. This mother had her 6 year old daughter go through 5 SART exams – not one of them showed sexual abuse – and she is still free from charges of false accusation. http://tinyurl.com/2394dwy

    “Any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes that there is.” http://tinyurl.com/2dpz3nc

    Wintry, sorry for all the links.


      1. Sorry! One more thing. Why do women (again, up to 50% of rape accusations are false) perjure themselves, unless they feel that they can get away with it? Obviously, they don’t feel that the consequences of their actions are dire enough if they get caught.

        Thanks, Wintry. :)


        1. It’s similar to the situation with frivolous lawsuits here in the USA, or the Human Rights Commissions there in Canada. As long as the accuser has no risks if they are wrong, and it’s all paid for by the government, it really encourages people to do bad things. The system is encouraging people to make poor decisions and then to make trouble. All because of the financial incentives.


  8. I’m wondering if anyone in this thread, having considered some real, hard, data, will revise their opinions on the topic of false rape accusations. I went looking for data online and it was not hard to find. For all of you above who think that 50% of rape charges are false, here’s an article that examines that number (reported by detectives in one community) and analyzes it, and offers others from the only research conducted in the US to evaluate the percentage of false reports made to law enforcement.

    This was but the first article I found and you are certainly welcome to look for others. But check this out before you throw numbers around:

    Click to access the_voice_vol_3_no_1_2009.pdf

    The report states that “methodologically rigorous testing research conducted estimates for the percentage of false reports begin to converge around 2-8%.”

    This is based on a multi-site study of eight U.S. communities involved in the :Making a Difference” (or “MAD”) Project collected by law enforcement agencies for all sexual assault reports received in an 18-24 month period. Of the 2,059 cases that were included in the study, 140 (7%) were classified as false.

    A higher number of 41% is also discussed from a frequently cited study in which Professoor Eugene Kanin (1994) reported that 41% of the 109 sexual assault reports made to one midwestern police agency were deemed to be false over a nine-year time period. However, the determination that the charges were false was made solely by the detectives. As another study, Lisak (2007) describes in an article published in the Sexual Assault Report:

    “Kanin describes no effort to systemize his own ‘evaluation’ of the police reports—for example, by listing details or facts that he used to evaluate the criteria used by the police to draw their conclusions. Nor does Kanin describe any effort to compare his evaluation of those reports to that of a second, independent research—providing a ‘reliability’ analysis. This violated a cardinal rule of science, a rule designed to ensure that observations are not simply the reflection of the bias of the observer.”

    The report goes on to say that the practice of this particular police department was to make a serious offer to polygraph” all rape complainants and suspects,” a practice which has been “rejected and, in many cases, outlawed, because of its intimidating impact on victims.” The reason is because many victims will recant when faced with apparent skepticism on the part of the investigator. Yet such a recantation does not necessarily mean that the original report was false.”

    This is all from the report I read and I would encourage all of you incensed over this topic to read it and then keep looking for more data because it does no one any good to throw around false numbers (eg, the “50% of rape charges are falsely made” claim) without making a serious effort to back them up. We’re interested in the truth, right?

    The other thing I want to point out is this: rape accusations don’t always turn into rape court cases. I would venture to say (and I haven’t researched this, but I will) that a good percentage of rapes are never reported by victims. I’m sure there are numbers for this and I will look for them.

    From my own experience: I was assaulted three years ago by a male friend who I had known for years after a two hour marketing meeting for a freelance project. This was someone I trusted who had been over to my apartment before. It was not a rape, but it was an assault. I was chased around my apartment and had to almost peel him off me. I should have punched him but I didn’t. For one thing, I am tall and quite strong and was somewhat confident that I could get him off me without trying to hurt him, which I would have done had he been a stranger. I also would have reported it had he been a stranger. But because I knew him, I never did.

    I’m not offering that as support for any data here. But it’s too easy to get excited about false accusations. They are terrible and when true, a gross injustice. But it’s easy enough to try and substantiate. And that 50% figure, in light of the small amount of info I found, is just not reliable. It is also, apparently, far off the mark.


  9. Why would anybody recant their rape story if it was true because they were facing a polygraph. Seems to me that someone that is so afraid of a polygraph is more likely a liar. It would be more logical to assume that than it would be to continue to assume she had been raped. And what about the accused, if they pass the polygraph……I suppose that just means they are really really good liars. I would suggest that every rape suspect and every rape victim has a polygraph. If the suspect passes AND the accuser either refuses the polygraph or fails the test…..that is it……no case. This nonsense about protecting the rights of the accuser is just rubbish….its gotten the point where you cannot examine evidence objectively and must simply believe any woman who claims rape even where there is absolutely no evidence, nothing except her say so and even if the story is so unlikely that it’s ridiculous.

    I believe anybody that lies or fabricates any evidence in order to convict somebody of any crime, or gain any financial advantage, like in suing someone, or divorce cases……..should rot in jail for a very long time.

    When it comes to women’s jails, I believe they need to be totally overhauled too, they are holiday homes where the prisoners have a public paid for vacation. At least they are here in Australia. More concern is given to counseling and consoling the perpetrators and making them feel comfortable and boosting their self esteem and rubbish like that instead of punishing them.


  10. The other thing that needs to be done about false accusers is…..apart from charging them and jailing them in every case…without exception….is to have a publicly accessible register of false accusers. That way, any man can see who to stay right away from. There are many serial false accusers out there. One women that comes to mind that I read about has falsely accused men of rape 8 times…..and has never been charged. Yet every time she makes a complaint it is dealt with as if it was true…….the right to be believed?


  11. My husband is currently in jail on 10 counts rape and 10 counts sodomy. The accuser is my 17 year old daughter. Needless to say, I’m in a nightmare I cannot wake up from. My husband is innocent. I wish with everything in me that these false accusers could be punished…however if we begin doing that, the women who would recant will cease to do that for fear of trouble. They have already proven that they are selfish enough to destroy lives for thier own gain, so whats to stop them from holding fast to thier lie to stay out of trouble. I hate that that is true, but I would agree (and so would my husband) to not punish her if she would just tell the truth and return our lives back to as normal as they can now ever be. To the person who sites that only 2%-8% of rape allegations are false…dig a little deeper. Those claims are based only on proven false claims. Claims that have been recanted are not incuded due to the possiblity of pressure to recant.


  12. The pressure can come fom the alleged raper or his/her family. It can come from the alleged victims own family to avoid embarassement and the pressure can come from within the alleged victim in the form of fear of not being believed or having to face thier alleged raper. All studies on this subject are skewed in some form or another, however the most common findings range from 40% to 60%. A number I find disgusting and terrifying.


  13. I’ll tell you a story from 30 years ago. I shared a house with two other guys, one of them a policmane by the way. I was home sick in bed one day, one of my flatmates who was unemployed was home also. A girl he had been seeing came over and they went into his bedroom which was right next to mine. I could hear them having sex, and she was one hell of a hot blooded woman. She certainly was very loud, and verbal, had many orgasms. I just laid quietly and enjoyed listening. Then after their sex session was over, they were talking and a argument broke out. There was yelling and insults, but no physical stuff or threats or anything……she left in a huff. A few hours later 5 guys came to the door. I answered the door and one of them said…..is Peter home……I had a feeling that there would be trouble….so I said no……just after a said that….Peter stuck his head around the corner…..they seen him and straight away forced their way in….three guys held me in a corner while the other two beat the stuffing out of Peter….they smashed some furniture in the process…….the reason…..she had said that he had raped her.

    When they left…..I got the plate number of their car…..we reported it to the police and rang the policeman who lived with us….it was his house. The result was that the cops arrested Peter…..took him the police station….where he was treated very badly. The guys were picked up….and the girl…..she originally stuck to her story….which she had never reported. I gave my statement that I had been there the whole time that she had been there….which she did not know. I don’t think it would have made any difference at all…….but the girl recanted when I was able to give details of their heated argument and she realised that I must have actually been their in my bedroom all the time. Two of the guys were charged…..the girl never was.

    Over my life I have heard many women through around false allegations during conversation. I have sat at table full of women and listened to them try and outdo each other on who has been raped more times and worse. And of course none of them have reported it because “nobody would have believed them” when in fact everyone will believe them and nobody will believe the accused. I’m quite sure that women just make false accusations of rape as a way of punishing men for stuff that has nothing to do with rape…..often just angry at them…..sometimes not justifably either.

    Carly…..let me guess……you husband is not the father…..he probably tried to have some control over her teenage bad behaviour…..and she seen him as a threat to her lifestyle of being able to do as she wanted and wrap you around her finger. She probably did not want you to be with him…and probably tried in other ways to split you up as well.


  14. Stu, thank you for sharing your story. It chills me to my core. How have we, as a society, come to a point where every man has to be afraid of a woman (or girl) scorn because she can just say “he raped me”, and he not only goes to jail and goes on trial, but it is instantaneously believed that he is guilty. With the media the way it is today and the abilities of the world wide web it seems impossible to get a fair trial. Then, because I don’t have $10,000 available to retain a capable attorney, my husband must rely on the representation of a public defender. Our only hope is that she will somehow come to her senses and tell the truth. Which brings me back to not being able to punish these selfish women/girls. If my daughter believes she will be criminally charged, then we have no hope at all. A ruthless, unjust and terribly cold hard truth.


  15. “Please leave a comment below explaining what you think should happen to a woman like Biurny Peguero”

    Give her the exact same prison time as William McCaffrey served.


  16. I personally believe that she should have to spend the sentence he received in prison.She should have to reimburse the wages he lost during the time spent in prison and jail. She should have to pay all attorney fees, court fees, any child support (if he has children) that did not get paid during this time, and sum to the children for time he lost with them and the embarrassment she caused them. You may think that is harsh but why should she be let off the hook, he wasn’t. I know some women would not recant if this was to happen to them but if they knew this was the punishment for them for lying maybe they wouldn’t lie in the first place.


  17. She should be given a prison sentence and publicly named, as the very unfortunate accused probably was. The length of sentence should, I suppose, reflect her reasons and take into account her age, any mental disabilities and any background evidence of abuse from the man in question.

    In these cases if a woman recants her claim, the police ask her to sign a statement giving her reasons for recanting. If there is strong evidence to suggest she has been the victim of on-going violent abuse from the person she has said raped her, they may decide to continue with the prosecution as there’s a clear risk that she’s possibly being threatened into recanting.

    What’s very very necessary, is a public education campaign aimed at men, to ensure they understand rape laws and the notion of consent. Consent from a woman is active and clear, and doesn’t amount to her being semi-comatose, therefore unable to react normally. There are many cases where a man has not committed rape, but he has manipulated a woman into sex through false claims of his feelings towards her or the use of alcohol. In my opinion, those men are borderline rapists (i.e. they view women as useable objects). In some cases this sex is also about revenge (the woman ended a relationship with him for example). I’ve experience these scenarios, but obviously, however angry, would not ‘cry rape’ as in those cases I consented, although under a false context or duress.

    Recently, for the first time in my life, I was raped and have reported it. I know that I won’t get justice because there was no violence and I reported it late (I knew the man and he has children so it took a lot of thinking before I reported). Nonetheless I’m glad I reported. Having reported it however, I now feel obliged to move away from my home city as my area of work involves seeing the man who raped me.

    I would like to see less of the dualistic arguing that’s causing further rifts between women and men, and more open debate which acknowledges the misery suffered on either side of the debate. I don’t see much of that level headed argument here on this forum.


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