CHICAGO (CBS) — A rape case that shocked the city of Chicago has taken a dramatic turn: The police officer convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman could soon walk out of prison a free man, his conviction reversed.
John Herman, 45, worked at the 6th District Station. But in 2004, a woman he’d had sex with reported that he kidnapped and raped her.
The 20-year veteran office was later convicted. At the time, even fellow officers said it was shameful.
But just this week, an appellate court handed down a decision reversing that conviction. The opinion says evidence against Herman was insufficient and that there was a lack of credible testimony.
“The system is the greatest on the planet. Sometimes it takes a long, long while, but our system works,” Herman attorney Peter Hickey told CBS 2’s Pamela Jones.
Herman’s attorneys say they knew the woman’s testimony — that Herman took her in his squad car to her South Side apartment, then raped her — was false all along. Hickey said the woman, an admitted crack addict, sought a $5,000 payoff to go away.
But the woman’s attorney says he’s sticking with his client’s original story.
“I have absolutely no qualms that my client was telling the truth,” Matthew Belcher said.
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Asked if the woman could now be criminally charged, he said he wasn’t sure.
“The state’s attorney would have to have her indicted, and I don’t see that that’s going to happen,” Belcher said.
Belcher says he hasn’t spoken to his client yet about all of this.
A panel of three judges issued the 33-page opinion. It details that the woman who made the rape report admitted to smoking six to eight rocks of cocaine on the night in question.
She sued the city and got $1.5 million in a settlement.
Herman’s appellate attorney, Emily Eisner, said it’s not clear how soon the former police officer may leave prison. She said that depends on whether the Cook County state’s attorney’s office tries to take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.