By JOSE MARTINEZ
An accused rapist will triumphantly walk out of jail today, in another black eye for Brooklyn prosecutors as a sensational sex-trafficking case continued to unravel.
Damien Crooks had been held for nearly a year, on $1 million bail, charged with rape and sex-trafficking involving an Orthodox Jewish girl who he allegedly pimped out when she was as young as 13.
But in court today, prosecutors agreed Crooks should walk with no bail, following last week’s release of co-defendant Darrell Dula. It’s been revealed that prosecutors had held on to documents showing the victim recanted rape allegations one day after making them.
“In light of the developments in the case … we will consent to reduction in bail,” said Michael Vecchione, chief of the rackets division for the Brooklyn DA.
“We are conducting a re-investigation of this matter.”
Rape charges against Crooks are still intact, but defense lawyers believe the case will eventually be dropped.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Walsh agreed to Crook’s no-bail release. As the still-shackled Crooks, wearing a green shirt and tie, left court, he turned to supporters, smiled and mouthed, “Love you.”
Defense lawyer Elliot Kay praised the “professional, ethical and responsible” work of Assistant DA Rebecca Gingold, who took over this case on April 5.
But Kay was still steamed at the case’s previous prosecutor, Abbie Greenberger, and sex-crimes chief Lauren Hersh for failing to disclose the victim’s recantation.
Greenberger has since left the Brooklyn DA’s office.
“The ADA who had the case in front of the grand jury had documents that were totally exculpatory in nature,” Kay said. “Lauren Hersh had these documents in her possession.”
Kay added, “At the time they stood before a judge and made their record, the actual ADA was in possession of documents that completely contradicted what was presented in court. ”
Crooks is expected to be released later today.
There was no underage sex involved, according to Kay, and all relations with the girl happened when she 18, 19 and 20.
The case was a huge headline grabber, with the DA trumpeting lurid accusations in a dramatic press conference. The girl claimed four men had beaten, raped and pimped her out for eight years, beginning when she was 13.
The two other defendants are locked up in unrelated cases.
“He’s [Crooks] relieved that he will be able to go home today and spend time with his family and friends,” Kay said outside court.
“We all should be concerned that someone can stay in jail for 11 months.”