Linda Fairstein was once lauded as a champion of women and victims of sexual assault when she was prosecuting the case against the Central Park Five in 1989 and after she succeeded in getting them convicted. Fairstein was in charge of the sex crimes division of the Manhattan district attorney’s office at the time the high-profile case was being investigated and prosecuted, but since all the convictions of the Central Park Five were overturned, the narrative on Fairstein’s career has been similarly upended.
In 2002, Matias Reyes, a man who had already been convicted of murder and a series of rapes, confessed to raping a white woman as she was out jogging in Central Park 13 years earlier. The problem was that Reyes was not one of the five black and Latino men who had been accused and convicted of the crime, and his confession led to the public questioning of the role racism played in how the New York City Police Department and Manhattan district attorney’s office handled the case. Continue reading ›