Pa. Man Falsely Accused as Rapist Gets $85K

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on April 28, 2011 6:47 AM

In August 2008, the life of Eugene Robinson changed dramatically.

The plumber, in his late fifties, spent 5 months in jail after he was falsely accused of rape due to a widely publicized police mix-up. The city of Philadelphia has agreed to pay him $85,000.

Returning home from work, Eugene Robinson was informed by his neighbor that police were looking for him, reports CNN. Plastered in the "Week's Most Wanted" section of the Philadelphia Daily News was his photo, accusing him of rape.

At the urging of his family and a local politician, Robinson turned himself in, knowing that he was being falsely accused.

Robinson spent 5 months in jail before police realized what had happened.

Both he and the real rape suspect shared the name Eugene and, according to CNN, police didn't double check the mug shot that was pulled for the rapist's warrant.

Eugene Robinson's mug shot was on file because of an earlier arrest for theft by deception, notes CNN. He ended up spending 8 more months in jail because his incarceration caused him to fall behind on restitution payments.

The city likely settled with Robinson because officers failed to follow proper procedures and check the name on the mug shot. If they had bothered to look beyond the suspect's first name, they would have realized that the photo was of Robinson, not the actual rapist.

Additionally, the mix-up caused Robinson to lose his job and spend an extra 8 months in prison--something that would not have happened had he not been falsely accused due to officers' negligence.

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