Judge dismisses rape charge filed against Johnson City man after alleged victim recants story

Becky Campbell • Dec 19, 2013 at 9:45 PM

The aggravated rape charge against a man accused of raping a woman in his car was dismissed in court this week because the woman recanted her story.

Carlos Enrique Alegria, 27, 204 Wilson Ave., appeared in Washington County Sessions Court for a preliminary hearing Wednesday. He was charged with aggravated rape and resisting arrest, which stemmed from an early morning incident Dec. 12.

“She recanted. She really doesn’t remember much of what happened. She said she had been drinking heavily,” said Alegria’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Phillip Ratliff, about the woman. She testified during the hearing and said the rape didn’t happen but the two had sex.

“She waffled,” Ratliff said. “She said they did have sex and it was consensual and she said they didn’t have sex but had planned to and hadn’t gotten to it.”

Because the woman changed her story, and the only other evidence to show the attack had happened was Deputy Darrell Collins’ testimony, Judge Don Arnold said he had no choice but to dismiss the charge.

Ratliff said the alleged victim testified that she called 911 because she was afraid and wanted to go home. The woman and Alegria had apparently been at a party in the hours prior to the incident and both got into the car “willingly.”

The two are related by marriage, he said.

“The officer testified the windows were fogged up and he couldn’t see inside the vehicle. He opened the door any my client was getting back into the driver’s seat and (the female) was in the passenger’s seat,” Ratliff said.

In addition to the woman’s and Collins’ testimony, Assistant District Attorney General Justin Irick played a portion of the 911 call the woman made that night.

Ratliff said he was told the call was very long, about 40 minutes, and would need to be translated because basically all that could be heard was in Spanish.

He said both Alegria and the woman speak Spanish, so there were two interpreters appointed in the case. The language barrier made the hearing difficult and lengthy, he said.

Irick said he learned right before the hearing that the woman had changed her story.

“I did speak with her before the hearing and she gave me one version of the story that was different from what she told the police,” Irick said. “At that point it was my duty to tell defense counsel she had recanted.”

Irick pointed out not all the evidence was available for the hearing.

“We did not have all the evidence here. We didn’t not have the results of the rape kit, which was a sticking point. It would show if there were any biological specimen present.”

Alegria was bound over on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. That came from him pulling away from officers and resisting when they arrested him.

After Arnold dismissed the rape charge, he reduced Alegria’s bond from $50,000 to $1,000.

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