Charges have been dropped against a Derry man accused of raping a tourist in New York City.
Damien McGuinness (22) was arrested on August 11 for the alleged rape of a female he had met earlier that night, McGuinness who has been working as a bartender, has maintained his innocence from the outset.
Prosecutors said the female, who had accused the Derry man of sexual assault after she had consensual sex with his friend, had refused to testify in front of a grand jury. As a result the case was dismissed at a Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday.
“All charges have been dismissed this morning,” McGuinness’ attorney, Wyatt Gibbons said on Monday.
McGuinness is now waiting to be deported and is expected to return home to Ireland in the next two weeks.
His father Damien senior said his son is “over the moon”.
“He is delighted, he is bursting to get out and get home,” McGuinness told the Irish Voice, after just getting off the phone from speaking with his son.
“It’s a great relief for the family,” he said.
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The young man had recently moved to the U.S. from Derry and was quickly adjusting to New York life as a bartender in midtown Manhattan.
“He was anxious to get away and make a life for himself.
“He moved here under a year ago, he was managing a bar and doing really good, everybody loved him,” his father said, adding “his life was made over here”.
McGuinness first heard about the charges against his son, when he read it in the newspaper in Ireland, the day after Damien had been charged.
“When I first saw it in the paper I was gob smacked,” he said. The very next day he flew to New York, for his first trip to the U.S.
“On Saturday I opened the paper and I flew over on Sunday.”
Days later when he finally got to see his son the first thing he asked him was if he was innocent.
“He told me the story from start to finish without batting an eyelid and I knew he didn’t do this and he was innocent,” he told the Irish Voice.
McGuinness described the experience as a “nightmare” and said seeing his son behind bars was very difficult.
“If I could have swapped places I would have done,” he told the Irish Voice
“He held up rightly, he is a strong fellow and knew he was innocent.”
The father of six has since made several trips back and forth to Ireland over the course of the last six weeks and says him, Damien’s mother and his siblings are so relieved that his name has finally been cleared.
McGuinness paid tribute to all the people who have been so compassionate during this difficult time.
“Our family and friends have been brilliant, they have stuck by us and being supportive,” he said.
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