Criminal Justice

Family of Girl Cleared of Bogus Rape Charges Sues Over Abuse of Power

Prosecutors pursued case because of political pressure


The parents of an 11-year-old Canfield girl cleared of false rape charges is suing the city, police department and investigators for $5 million, alleging investigators pursued the case because of political connections even after they learned the accusations were false.

The parents alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. Northern District Court in Youngstown that Canfield Police Chief Chuck Colucci pressured investigators and juvenile prosecutors to pursue the case against the girl despite investigators believing that her three accusers were lying to get her in trouble.

The lawsuit said the girl fell asleep on her mother's lap during a five-hour interrogation, that she was eventually charged with multiple counts of rape and was held in the Juvenile Detention Center on charges despite detectives believing the girl was innocent.

The charges were dismissed after one of the accusers, all 11 year olds, told police the group conspired to lie to get the girl in trouble.