A high school football star who was once one of the most highly sought after athletes in the nation has had a rape charge against him dropped after the woman confessed on Facebook that the rape never happened. Brian Banks, who is now 26-years old, spent six years in prison and broke down crying when the prosecutor moved to have the case dismissed.
“There are no words in any language, no gesture in any culture that can explain or describe what I have been through,” said Banks. “I hope my story brings light to a major flaw in the judicial system.”
Banks was once a football star with dreams of playing in the NFL. He was only 16 when a woman accused him of kidnapping and raping her at school. The woman, Wanetta Gibson, added him as a friend on Facebook and in a message said she wanted to “let bygones be bygones.”
Banks’ attorney, Justin Brooks, said that Gibson and Banks met and she was caught on video admitting that no rape every took place, and that she would help him to clear his record. She was then brought before prosecutors and is now obligated to repay the $1.5 million that her mother was paid by the school for what allegedly happened.
“I will go through with helping you but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back,” she told Banks.
Banks went to jail in 2002 for the crime, when he was just 16 years old. At the time, he was being heavily recruited by USC and other colleges. He was on his way to fill out college applications when he met up with Gibson and went to a stairwell to make out. He apparently said something she didn’t like, which led to the allegations of kidnapping and rape.
Investigators found no physical evidence of rape. Due to the pressure from his attorney and prosecutors, Banks pleaded no contest to the kidnap and rape charge, after being told that he would get 41 years in prison if he fought the charge and was convicted.
Banks thought he would get just 18 months based on his attorney’s advice, and instead ended up in prison for six years. While in prison, his case was taken on by the California Innocence Project.
“Brian’s story is so compelling, and his case for innocence so clear, we knew we had to take this on,” said Justin Brooks of the Innocence Project. “Brian lost a huge part of his life when he was unjustly sent to prison.”
Banks has had to remain on probation under electronic monitoring and could not get a job after being registered as a sex offender.
“This is a kid who was a superstar,” Brooks added. “He would be playing the NFL now if this hadn’t happened.”