After a school custodian was falsely arrested following allegations of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old student at his place of employment, he turned to Raphaelson & Levine for help. New York City Police officers were informed by the alleged assault victim that the custodian may have similarly assaulted three other students.
The victim was jailed, and after some two weeks had passed, the New York City Department of Education launched an investigation of the matter. The investigator opined that our client’s main accusers’ allegations were marred by inconsistencies and that the three other accusers have not been assaulted. The investigator was also concerned by the fact that the main accuser claimed to have been assaulted in a heavily trafficked, well-monitored hallway in which an incident likely would have been observed. The main accuser ultimately recanted her allegation, our client was freed after a 46-day-long incarceration.
As counsel to the school custodian, Steven Gershowitz, a civil rights attorneys at Raphaelson & Levine, sued the New York City Police Department, the office of Queens County Dist. Atty., the New York city Department of Corrections and the parent of each of those agencies, the city of New York; alleging that our client was wrongfully arrested and convicted.
Mr. Gershowitz claimed that the main accusers’ allegations were marred by inconsistencies, but the investigating detectives disregarded those inconsistencies. He further claimed that the investigators did not perform a follow-up investigation after the custodian was arrested.
Defense counsel contended that the identifiable, credible victim identified our client on two separate occasions, thus establishing probable cause for the custodian’s arrest. He also contended that the main accuser’s accusations were consistent until ultimately recantation.
Injuries/Damages: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Our client endured 46 days of incarceration. He claimed that he suffered the humanization and psychological distress that cause post-traumatic stress disorder, with manifestations that include paranoia and a loss of confidence and self-esteem. He undergoes psychological counseling.
The custodian, who had not previously been arrested, also claimed that his arrest and incarceration blemished an otherwise unquestioned reputation. He resumed his job after being released from prison, but he transferred to another school about two years later.
Our firm sought recovery of damages for our client’s past and future pain and suffering. During the trial’s third day, the city asked Mr. Gershowitz if he would agree to a disclosed settlement. The city then agreed to pay $500,000.