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Sexual Assault & False Accusations: Inside The Chilling Truth Behind The Central Park 5 Case

The Central Park 5 Case
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May. 31 2019, Updated 11:45 a.m. ET

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Nearly 30 years after five New York City teenagers were wrongfully convicted of raping a female jogger, a new Netflix limited series lifts the curtain on what happened and retells the story of the case that gripped the nation.

When They See Us chronicles the legal battle of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, covering everything from their police interrogations and incarceration to their 2002 exoneration and subsequent lawsuits.

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Check out this RadarOnline.com gallery for more on the case, the fate of the five wrongfully accused, and the future for those involved.

Controversial Case

The Central Park 5 Case
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The Central Park jogger case was a major news story at the end of the 1980s.

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Left For Dead

The Central Park 5 Case
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On the night of April 19, 1989, Trisha Meili, a then-28-year old investment banker, was assaulted, raped and left for dead as she jogged through New York’s famous landmark.

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Fighting to Survive

The Central Park 5 Case
Source: Julia Xanthos/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

The attack left Meili in a coma for 12 days.

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Wrongly Accused

The Central Park 5 Case
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On the night of the attack, five juveniles were apprehended for their alleged connection to a number of violent incidents across Central Park.

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On Trial

The Central Park 5 Case
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The Central Park 5, as they would become known, were tried for assault, robbery, riot, rape, sexual abuse, and attempted murder relating to Meili's and other attacks in the park.

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No DNA Match

The Central Park 5 Case
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But before the trial, the FBI tested DNA from the rape and found it did not match to any of the suspects.

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Justice Not Served

The Central Park 5 Case
Source: Mike Albans/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

Regardless, the five were convicted in 1990 by juries in two separate trials, receiving sentences ranging from 5 to 15 years. McCray, Salaam and Santana were hit with guilty verdicts for rape, assault, robbery and riot. Richardson was found guilty of assault, robbery, attempted murder and rape. Korey was found guilty of assault, riot and sexual abuse.

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Shocking Confession

Truth-Behind-The-Central-Park
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In 2002, Matias Reyes, a convicted murderer and serial rapist serving life in prison, confessed to raping the jogger. DNA evidence confirmed his guilt, and he knew facts about the crime that only the offender could have known.

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Finally Free

The Central Park 5 Case
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The five convictions were vacated in 2002 and all charges withdrawn.

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Fighting Back

The Central Park 5 Case
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The wrongfully convicted men sued New York City in 2003 for malicious prosecution, racial discrimination, and emotional distress.

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Making Amends

The Central Park 5 Case
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In 2014, mayor Bill de Blasio settled the case for $41 million. The victims are still pursuing an additional $52 million in damages from New York State in the New York Court of Claims.

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