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County Rules in Favor of Wrongfully Convicted Man


— November 20, 2018
Image of the Daley Center (right), the home of Cook County Circuit Court

Earlier this week, Cook County commissioners voted in favor of a homeless man who was wrongly imprisoned in connection to false rape allegations. As a result, the commissioners approved a $3.7 million settlement in the lawsuit filed by the man, Carl Chatman, in response to his ordeal. According to Chatman’s suit, he was “wrongly imprisoned after a clerk at the Daley Center fabricated a rape claim as part of a scheme to sue the county.”


Earlier this week, Cook County commissioners voted in favor of a homeless man who was wrongly imprisoned in connection to false rape allegations. As a result, the commissioners approved a $3.7 million settlement in the lawsuit filed by the man, Carl Chatman, in response to his ordeal. According to Chatman’s suit, he was “wrongly imprisoned after a clerk at the Daley Center fabricated a rape claim as part of a scheme to sue the county.”

As a result of the false claim, Chatman “was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a purported May 2002 assault at the Daley Center after Chicago police said the alleged victim identified Chatman as her attacker and that he confessed.” At the time that the rape claim was filed, the alleged victim “told police she went into work early on the Friday before the Memorial Day holiday in 2002 to get ahead of the scheduling she did for a judge — even though the judge had been out of the office.” While there, she claimed that Chatman “threatened her with scissors as he sexually assaulted her.”

image of a legal gavel and books
Legal gavel and books; image courtesy of
succo via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com

Soon after the alleged rape incident was reported, Chatman was arrested near the Daley Center and was later convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison after confessing to the crime. However, shortly after Chatman’s confession, “a Chicago police detective filed an anonymous complaint in May 2002 with the internal affairs office alleging that a controversial detective named Kriston Kato had physically abused Chatman and forced him to sign a false confession.” According to the anonymous complaint, “Detective Kato hit the suspect and shouted, ‘Tell me you did it!”

Later in 2013, Cook County prosecutors began having doubts over the so-called victim’s credibility and “no longer believed a sexual assault even took place.” As a result, the rape conviction was “thrown out and he was released from prison” after spending 11 years behind bars. It wasn’t long after his release that Chatman and those close to him began thinking about filing a lawsuit to seek justice for his ordeal.

When commenting on the case and why the woman filed the false rape claim, Russell Ainsworth, Chatman’s attorney, said the woman’s rape claim was “prompted by thousands of dollars in casino losses and an Internal Revenue Service notice of an audit just weeks before the supposed attack.” It was also discovered that the same woman claimed she was “confronted and raped by a knife-wielding man in a bathroom at the North Michigan Avenue office building where she worked as a secretary back in 1979.

So far the city has declined to comment on the lawsuit or recent settlement announcement.

Sources:

Cook County Board votes in favor of settlements in false rape claim case, jail death lawsuit

Accuser’s allegations of rape touched a number of lives; now her credibility is in doubt

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