Charges were dismissed Tuesday against Joshua Walsh, 20, of North Platte, who had been accused of first-degree sexual assault. Walsh was arrested on Aug. 20 in connection with am alleged rape that a woman said occurred 10 months earlier.
Police said the case began Oct. 15, 2012 when a 20-year-old woman said she was assaulted while she slept in her home. The woman said Walsh was an acquaintance who attended a party at her house.
Walsh denied the allegation.
Evidence was collected at the time, including DNA samples. When DNA results finally returned 10 months later, it was said that they pointed to Walsh. He was arrested and jailed on a $100,000 bond.
But in Lincoln County District Court Monday, defense attorney Robert Lindemeier said "this case stinks.”
“The victim lied about where it happened and the DNA tests only show a one in 10 chance it was my client,” Lindemeier said.
Lindemeier was somewhat animated. He told the judge that those kind of DNA results could convict about any male in the court room.
Normally DNA test will point to one person out of 1 million or more, Lindemeier said.
“This 1 in 10 result cannot even exclude the victim’s boyfriend,” he said.
Lindemeier said the alleged victim had had a tough time with her boyfriend that night and went into the bedroom to be alone. Walsh became ill from drinking and went into the bathroom just off the bedroom. When he came out, he went to a couch in the bedroom to lie down. Lindemeier said that after a time the victim came running out, yelling she had been raped.
Judge Donald Rowlands dismissed the charge without prejudice the next day. He said the evidence was insufficient to establish probable cause that Walsh subjected the woman to sexual penetration, and the woman gave inconsistent statements to law enforcement on several key issues, which damaged her credibility.
Prosecutors could re-file the charges sometime in the next two years, Walsh’s mother Shary Griesfeller said, but she is confident her son would be exonerated. She said there is a mountain of evidence in her son’s favor is confident if charges are refilled, a judge would dismiss them or a jury would declare her son not guilty.
Griesfeller believes the alleged victim was also accused two others of similar crimes a few years ago, when the woman was a junior high student. She said those charges were also dropped. She thinks the false reports are a cry for attention and sympathy and she said the woman is a drug user.
She said it has been a miserable time for her son. With a bond of $100,000, "there was no way we could bail him out, so he sat in jail for 91 days," she said. "He lost his job. Some of his friends moved away and he couldn’t say goodbye. He missed several family activities.”
“We are a family that has been smeared by a handful of people.” she said.
Griesfeller expressed thanks for the prayers and support the family has received and she has not ruled out pressing a false reporting claim.
First published in the Bulletin's Nov. 20 print edition.