September 10th, 2008

New York Jury Finds Three Teens Guilty In Rape, Assault Of Jogger

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AP

 

NEW YORK - Three teen-agers were convicted yesterday of raping and assaulting a woman jogger who was brutalized and left for dead in Central Park by a marauding gang of youths.

The defendants - Antron McCray, 16, Yusef Salaam, 16, and Raymond Santana, 15 - were found innocent of sodomy and of attempted murder, the most serious charges.

The 30-year-old jogger was found lying senseless in a pool of blood after the April 19, 1989, attack. In a coma for two weeks, she later recovered and returned to her job as an investment banker.

The case engendered enormous local concern for the victim, who hasn't been publicly named. The defendants' supporters demonstrated outside the courthouse regularly, charging racism because the victim was white and wealthy, the youths black.

Prosecutors said the three defendants were part of a gang of as many as 30 youths who harassed at least nine people in the park. Three other teen-agers charged in the assault on the woman are free on bond.

Salaam, McCray and Santana also were convicted of charges stemming from an attack on two male joggers in the park.

The three were ordered to jail without bail. Each faces from five to 10 years in prison on the rape count alone. They are to be sentenced Sept. 11.

The woman was jogging through the northern end of the park when she was attacked. She was dragged about 70 feet into the woods, gang-raped and bashed repeatedly with a brick and pipe.

She battled back from her near-fatal injuries, returned to jogging within eight months of the attack, and is a vice president for a Wall Street firm.

While the woman's recovery from near-total paralysis was inspirational to New Yorkers, a few activists claimed police had arrested the youths because they were black. The defense attorneys said Salaam and McCray had made their videotaped confessions under duress.

The defendants showed no emotion at all when the verdict was read. The jurors looked tired and haggard on their 10th day of deliberations.