There are many inmates professing their innocence from behind bars, but this morning we tell a powerful story of freedom for a young man that fought to have his name cleared after prison. Thanks to a sensible judge and a recanted story, the wrongly accused young man has been freed.
Brian Banks, 26, walks free today after being accused of rape 10 years ago, when he was only 17. He was a high school football superstar that had been awarded a full scholarship to the University of Southern California along with several other Division I schools, including Michigan State University and University of Kansas.
The middle linebacker was accused by classmate, Wanetta Gibson–who he’d known since middle school–of rape and kidnapping. But her story had holes in it from the beginning with her saying that the rape occurred on the high school stairwell and in another story that it occurred in an elevator.
The unbelievable happened February 28, 2011, when she requested his friendship on Facebook. He was able to keep his composure and arrange a meeting with her while having an investigator present. Her family received $1.5 million in a lawsuit against the school and she revealed during the undercover investigation that she was afraid to tell the truth after receiving the money for fear they would make her pay the money back.
The two were known to have an intimate relationship, but sexual intercourse never occurred. According to his attorneys and legal documents:
“Gibson met with Banks and a private investigator and recanted her preliminary hearing testimony that Banks raped her,” his attorneys wrote. She said that the two had been “making out pretty heavy,” but that they did not have intercourse or “anything like that.”
“Gibson said that they were just playing around, being curious about sexuality, and that the adults got involved and blew it all out of proportion,” according to legal documents. “She said the adults ‘put stuff in [her] head.'”
Essentially, Banks was jailed on “he said, she said” for five years and was still on probation until being freed of the tether on his ankle yesterday. His attorneys convinced him that with his 6 foot 4 frame at 225 pounds (and being a Black man), he would surely get 41 years in prison if he did not plead no contest to avoid a jury trial.
He has no feelings of revenge toward Gibson. He simply wants to move on with his life. He still has dreams of getting in the NFL, so we pray that this is simply a dream deferred and a team will give him a shot. Check out the report.