View Full Version : Cops crack infamous Prospect Park rape case with DNA

The Bobster
01-09-2018, 05:58 PM

Cops crack infamous Prospect Park rape case with DNA
By Kirstan Conley, Larry Celona and Shawn Cohen
January 9, 2018 | 12:35pm | Updated

James Webb in a police photo, alongside a sketch of the suspect in the 1994 case.

First she was raped by a stranger in Prospect Park in 1994.

Then she was violated again — this time by the system, including cops who questioned her credibility and a Daily News columnist who called the attack a “hoax.”

But now, after nearly 24 years, she’s finally getting justice.

After running new DNA tests, police have identified the man who attacked the 27-year-old Yale graduate in Prospect Park, linking the heinous crime to James Edward Webb, 68, a serial rapist who’s currently serving 75 years to life at Sing Sing, sources told The Post Tuesday.

“She cried last night when we told her we had the guy,” Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

Police had recovered semen from the victim’s body and her shorts after the crime — but the suspect’s DNA was mixed up with the victim’s genetic material and they couldn’t separate them back then.

About two months ago, the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad took another look at the rape kit, and separated the DNA with new technology. That’s when they found a match in the department’s centralized DNA database.

“He’s a savage,” Boyce said of Webb, whom cops recently confronted in Sing Sing. “He told us, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The discovery brings an end to a high-profile rape case that generated controversy and even spawned a $12 million libel suit.

On April 26, 1994, the victim told cops she was raped in broad daylight while walking through Prospect Park with groceries she’d picked up after a jog.

The woman was on her way home when her attacker, who was carrying a large stick or cane, dragged her from a footpath to a nearby tree, raped her, then demanded money, she told police.

John Miller, then an NYPD spokesperson, told reporters at the time that detectives had some doubts about her account, according to the New York Times.

Citing anonymous police sources, the late Daily News columnist Mike McAlary said she should be arrested because “everyone who heard the woman’s story about the alleged rape was calling it a hoax.”

He also alleged the woman was simply trying to drum up support for a gay-and-lesbian rally.

McAlary’s initial column — one of three questioning the case — alleged that police hadn’t found semen on the victim, but an NYPD lab report written the next day said semen was present on the woman’s body and her shorts.

McAlary also questioned why the victim didn’t have bruises or injuries, sarcastically writing, “Chivalry at a rape scene.”

The victim told The Post at the time that she was stunned by the backlash and “burned the column.”

“I have had the misfortune of being raped twice — once in the park and again in the media. I hope Mike McAlary and all the vultures making their living off my pain sleep better than I will tonight,” the woman said.

She ultimately sued the newspaper and McAlary for libel, but the case was dismissed by a Manhattan judge. :mad:

The victim became “very emotional” during her meeting with detectives Monday — and felt vindicated the truth had finally come to light, sources said.

Her lawyer, Martin Garbus, said the discovery is “long overdue.”

Webb is currently behind bars for raping four women in Fort Greene while on parole in 1995.

Before that, he’d served 20 years in prison for raping six women in the 70s.

Boyce said detectives will meet with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office tomorrow, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to prosecute because the statute of limitations has expired.

Police are still looking to charge Webb “just to give [the victim] some closure.”