Prosecutor: Accuser Lied, Rape Charges Dismissed
April 18, 2013
Rape and kidnapping charges against a Gaston County couple have been dismissed.
The charges were dropped because the accuser made false accusations, according to defense attorney Rick Beam.
Jeannette Valero Vazquez was accused of tricking a woman into a bedroom to be sexually assaulted.
Vazquez, 47, and Carlos Sanchez Romero, 33, were charged in early February.
Report of rape
According to police at the time, Vazquez invited a 23-year-old woman to come to her apartment to look at pictures from Venezuela, Vazquez’s home country.
The woman said that Vazquez led her to the bedroom to see the pictures on her computer and that Romero was waiting for her.
The woman said that Romero locked the bedroom door and raped her while Vazquez watched her two small children in another room, according to police.
The accuser told police that the incident happened June 20, but she waited until August to report it because she was afraid of the couple.
In late February prosecutors received photos of Romero and his accuser kissing and hugging in the back of a car.
The photos were reportedly taken after the alleged rape.
The pictures threw up a red flag for Gaston County Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hamlin.
Hamlin called the woman in for questioning without letting her know about the photographs.
“She denied being in a car with him, denied hugging, kissing or hanging out with him,” said Hamlin.
Aside from the alleged rape, the woman said she’d only ever seen Romero at the flea market in Dallas.
Because there was a delay in reporting, there was no physical evidence of rape, only the woman’s statement.
When the woman started backpedaling on her story, Hamlin dismissed the charges against Vazquez and Romero.
“The story didn’t add up,” said Hamlin. “After speaking with her we realized that she just wasn’t being truthful with us. I couldn’t put her on the stand when she lied to me.”
Aftermath of arrests
Vazquez was arrested Feb. 7 and assigned a $500,000 secured bond. She spent a week in jail before a judge unsecured her bond, according to Beam, her attorney.
Romero was arrested five days after Vazquez and remains incarcerated because of immigration issues.
Beam speculated that his client’s health attributed to her release even before the charges were dismissed.
Vazquez gets dialysis three times a week.
In addition to her physical maladies, Vazquez has suffered mental anguish from the incident, said Beam.
“Right now she’s having to deal with reports that have shown up on the Internet that have made her life miserable,” he said.
Beam said Vazquez was dumbfounded and confused by the allegations. He said that the trio knew each other.
Hamlin said she doesn’t know what happened to lead to the allegations. Some of the woman’s friends said that she was in a relationship with Romero and the allegations came about after the relationship soured, said Hamlin.
“I hope she wasn’t raped but I can’t prove it,” said Hamlin. “We proved that she doesn’t tell the truth.”