In April 2008, 48-year-old Tyrone Loftin was charged with raping a 19-year-old woman who was cleaning his house in Syracuse, New York.
Loftin went on trial in Onondaga County Superior Court in September 2008. The complainant accused him of raping her in Loftin’s home. The judge barred the defense from cross-examining her about a previous incident in which she had assaulted and robbed an ex-boyfriend, and then falsely reported to police that she had been assaulted and robbed by the boyfriend.
Loftin testified and contended that the woman was a sex worker and that she became angry when he refused to pay her.
A jury convicted Loftin on September 4, 2008 and he was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
In March 2010, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court reversed the conviction, ruling that the judge had erred by barring the evidence about the prior incident because “[t]hose allegations are similar to the allegations made by the defendant in (this) case,” and the jury should have been allowed to consider what the complainant did in that case as evidence that she lied in accusing Loftin.
Armed with the ability to cross-examine the victim about her prior accusations against her boyfriend, Loftin went on trial a second time in July 2010. On July 21, he was acquitted by a jury and released from prison.
– Maurice Possley