Kathleen Rice, district attorney in Long Island’s Nassau County, told Newsday why she did not prosecute a young woman who lied about being abducted and raped by five men in a Hofstra University dorm. Rice said her goal had been to ensure that the young woman publicly admitted guilt, accepted accountability and responsibility for her crime, and repaid the community through service. “This is a big deal,” she said. “You look at the Duke case and at the Tawana Brawley case and you see that those women never admitted to anything.”
Rice said prosecutors had plentiful evidence of Danmell Ndonye’s lie, which sent four innocent men to jail. She said that evidence – which included cell phone video – led her office to insist on language in a deferred prosecution agreement that would make it impossible for Ndonye to change her story and claim that while she may not have been raped, she’d been sexually assaulted or sexually abused. “I know there are some who believe that 18-year-olds don’t act like this in college dorms, but I am not the moral police,” she said. “No matter what it was, it was consensual.” The agreement effectively made Rice prosecutor, jury and judge in a high-profile case. It included requirements that Ndonye get mental health treatment for a year and do 250 hours of community service.