Here is the link to the story. It is quite long – here is how I would sum it up:
A teenage girl who had a rough and troubled early life was assaulted in her home. She reports it to the police. In their interviews with her, the cops go after things they think are discrepancies, and pick at her story relentlessly, and since she’s not terribly confident and probably still in shock, she starts to worry she actually might have dreamt it. She recants the story, and the police end up prosecuting her for wasting their time. She agrees to a plea deal and has to pay a fine and probation.
In what appears at first to be an unrelated case in another state, cops find and arrest a serial rapist. This rapist kept trophies in his home, including underwear and photos of his victims – and one of the photos is of the girl in the previous paragraph, who had recanted her story and been prosecuted.
The first cops recognize their mistake, and tell the woman what happened, and she sues them and gets a modest ($150K seems modest for that sort of hell to me) judgment.
I can’t help wondering how common this is – how often do police officers treat victims (especially women victims, and even more especially disadvantaged and troubled woman victims) like perpetrators? How often are actual rapes dismissed by police because the victim isn’t terribly confident, or is in shock, or doesn’t have a perfect memory, or has a troubled past? For every incident like this that is eventually “corrected” (as much as such a blunder can possibly be), how many are not?