In May of 2012 Darius McClinton-Hunter, son of Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter, and three of his classmates from Prosper (Texas) High School were accused of sexual assault when two girls said the boys forced them to have sex. Less than 48 hours after making the accusation, one of the girls recanted her story. Despite the accuser’s admission that the boys did not rape her, the Prosper Police Department continued to investigate the crime. In February, a grand jury did not believe there was a sufficient amount of evidence or probable cause against McClinton-Hunter and declined to indict the 17-year-old high school senior.
Darius, who was being recruited by SMU, Texas Tech, Utah, West Virginia, Arkansas, LSU, and Oregon to play football, was forced to attend an alternative school for juvenile delinquents as a result of the allegations. He was allowed to return to his school after the grand jury did not indict him, but because of the accusations was not allowed to play sports and his scholarship offers have been rescinded.
US Today reports McClinton-Hunter has filed a lawsuit against his accusers and their parents. He is seeking $10 million in actual damages and about $30 million in punitive damages. Larry Friedman, who is representing McClinton-Hunter, has also said that they may also seek legal action against the Prosper Police Department.
“To this day, nobody has taken responsibility – not the girl, not the Prosper Police Department, not the district attorney,” Friedman said. “No one has taken responsibility for what they’ve done to this young man. No one’s said sorry.”
“In today’s world, these types of things go viral in a minute. There are millions of stories out there accusing him of sexual assault that can never be erased. You can never erase those allegations. He will live to be 100 years old, barring something unforeseen. For the next 80 years those allegations will be there. The impact of this is tremendous.”
Rape and/or sexual assault is a crime that is inexcusable and often goes unpunished, but so do those who ruin the lives of the innocent with false accusations. Falsely accusing someone of rape is a form of rape in itself. It’s raping someone of their reputation, respect, opportunities, and self-esteem. It tarnishes that person for life, and although it may be proven false they’ll carry the scarlet letter that comes with such an accusation for the rest of their life. McClinton-Hunter has the financial means through his father to fight back, but there are so many others who aren’t able to. Maybe the legal system which is so quick to label someone guilty until proven innocent should punish those who falsely accuse someone of rape, because it could be argued that is just as bad as the crime itself.