March 31, 2003

Trisha Meili is the Central Park Jogger

[ From George, because he's cool like that (and I'm still lazy, and having phone trouble and miss DSL and...) ]

Central Park Jogger Reveals ID in Book

The woman at the center of the Central Park jogger case is breaking her 14-year silence and revealing her identity, and she says the reopening of the case in the past year made her live the horror as never before.

Trisha Meili, 42, is coming out of anonymity at the same time her book, entitled I Am the Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility is being released, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

The book, being published next month by Simon and Schuster, is a memoir of her ordeal and her recovery. In it, she recounts the trial of the five teenagers who were originally convicted in the case, and her reaction when another man said last year he was the culprit."

I was living the horror as I had not lived it before, since I had been beaten into a coma the first time around," she wrote.Meili, an investment banker with dual master's degrees from Yale, was attacked and raped on April 19, 1989, while jogging in Central Park. Then 28, she suffered brain damage, lost at least three-fourths of her blood and spent two weeks in a coma, doctors said. She has no memory of the attack.

Five teenagers, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Kharey Wise, and Kevin Richardson, were arraigned after four of them made incriminating videotaped statements to police about the attack. Genetic evidence found on Meili later failed to connect the attack with the youths, but they were eventually convicted and served up to 11 1/2 years in prison.

Last year, however, Matias Reyes, a man serving time for murder and serial rape, claimed that he was the attacker, and DNA evidence linked him to the crime. The five men's convictions were thrown out at the district attorney's request.

(more at the above link)

Posted by ronn at March 31, 2003 10:15 AM

Seems like to me, that Trisha finally knows and feels who did this horrific thing to her. I believe that Reyes finally admitting his guilt brought her memory back to that night, and that's maybe why she can't stand to see his face. Too bad the prosecuters in the case can't see it that way. Peace Posted by: drummergirl on March 31, 2003 11:50 AM
yeah i feel for her, but i also feel sorry for the boys who had to spend 11 years of their life behind bars for something they didnt do...what can they possibly say to them "oh im sorry for falsely convicting you"...for me that wouldnt cut it...but i am glad Reyes is getting her story out there Posted by: Ty on April 1, 2003 01:53 PM
It's a different slant when you put a name to the victim. As with all things, it makes her seem so much more human, so much closer, and makes us feel so much more vulnerable, Posted by: PatCH on April 2, 2003 08:41 AM
I don't feel sorry for Meili because I believe she's on the way to recover. Closure? No. She can never have closure because I think she'll always wonder what really happened and won't ever get justice. PatCH: I've been hoping for years that Meili would reveal her identify. Not because of any obligation, but because it would inspire others in similar situations. I was a bit put off by her decision to allow money to delay her coming forward. With her book (and upcoming interview this Sunday on a special Dateline with Couric), maybe the healing process will go in overdrive and inspire others to search for peace and healing. Posted by: ronn on April 2, 2003 01:47 PM
This woman is a survivor. She deserves our kind thoughts and wishes for a full recovery. It is perfectly legitimate for her to write a book and earn the $$ for writing. She is going to show others, especially those sexually assaulted, that it is very possible to survive and to make the most of it. She is an inspiration. There are numerous authors writing on ridiculous topics which are getting lots of $$. Her story is one that should be told. The woman is planning to donate a portion of the proceeds to sexual assault and violence crisis centers. Even if this woman decided to keep all the proceeds, I still applaud her courage to tell her story. She is going to help destigmatize sexual violence. That in itself is worthy of a few hundred thousand dollars. I wish that she could command millions. Posted by: A. Winters on April 6, 2003 01:20 AM
I really dont have any feelings towards Meili.Its tragic what she experienced,but the guys that was charged with the crime also went through hell.(im sure) 11 years in prison for a crime you didnt commit.Why dont the public embrace these men with the same open arms as they do for Meili.I believe she didnt care who her attackers where. Somebody and anybody was going to pay. All proceeds from her book and interviews should be rewarded to the men SHE falsly identified with her own eyes. Posted by: Dre Baze on April 6, 2003 02:54 PM
The men she falsely identified had committed other crimes that night--attacking other people and damaging property. You cannot blame a woman who was beaten so badly physicians doubted she would live. Sounds like "dre baze" isn't thinking about this rationally. Posted by: Johnnie Ross on April 6, 2003 11:09 PM
Uh...DreBaze..."SHE falsely identified with her own eyes"???? She was attacked from behind, and was beaten into a coma. Tell me how she identified them with her own eyes? The ones in the back of her head? (oh yeah, by the end of the beating, they WERE pushed into the back of her head, as a matter of fact...they had to take bone from her skull to reconstruct her eye sockets). I'm not saying that the young men did it, but think of this: all these years, the DA and the police TOLD her that they had done it. She has no personal memory of the incident. When she testified, it was largely about the assault's effects on her. What is she to think now?That's quite a shift in thinking for someone who has no memory of the incident. Posted by: mto on April 6, 2003 11:09 PM
How does that saying go…Ignorance is bliss? The severity of the blows to Trisha’s brain caused her to remember NOTHING from that night someone decided to rape and beat her senseless. Trisha did not falsely identify ANYONE. The boys were convicted based on the information the INVESTIGATORS collected. 4 of the 5 teenagers confessed to the police on videotape that they had committed the crime. There was videotape evidence! Trisha based her testimony on the videotape that we all had seen. She truly believed they had done it just as the investigators did. It was 11 years later that the real rapist confessed, and claimed he acted alone. You should not blame Trisha; if you must blame someone - blame the justice system. Trisha was as innocent as your mother or sister simply taking a walk to the store. Would you feel nothing anymore for your mom or sister after someone was falsely accused of that crime? Would you feel more sorry for the person who was falsely accused and donate the proceeds to them? To this day the investigators are convinced the others were involved as well. But no one knows for sure, we may never know. Trisha deserves any and all of the proceeds from her book. She has worked very hard all her life to be the person she is today. She has also helped many others in her situation. She should be rewarded. Let the boys write their own book. They’ll deserve any of the proceeds. Think they will? Posted by: ~Dee on April 6, 2003 11:14 PM
I saw the Central Park jogger interview tonight. In my opinion she is a very courageous woman, for surviving and not having any hatred towards her attacker. I am sorry for the teenage young men who were wrongly convicted. I'm sorry they were taught to trust(or fear) the police so much to the point they would admit anything. I believe it was incidints like this one that taught so many people to distrust the law. Posted by: Lini on April 6, 2003 11:23 PM
I should create a FAQ on the Central Park 5 because I'm always shocked and amazed (and usually dismayed) by comments made by others. Trisha Meili never identified her attacker because she does not recall the attack. The racist, wrongful convictions were the product of overzealous, avaricious police and prosecutors, lead by Linda Fairstein. I too watched the Dateline interview and was extremely disappointed. While I understand Meili's recovery was the focus of the report, Couric should have focused more on the case and the aftermath of Reyes' admission. I'm hoping the book will address the exoneration of the Central Park 5 and that at some point, all of the victims involved will meet up and discuss the case amongst themselves. It's extremely doubtful that interviewers will ever really talk about the Central Park 5 and what they've endured during nearly 14 years of scrutiny, hatred and racism. Posted by: ronn on April 7, 2003 08:45 AM
I saw the Dateline interview and was deeply moved. This is one courageous broad. For anyone to claim she "accused" others, is to be ignorant of the trial. Her testimony was limited to her injuries. The five were convicted based on many things but NOT her finger pointing. While the five may not have committed the Meili incident, it's not clear that they are not completely innocent...what about the wildings in the park that night...where there WERE eyewitnesses? Were the other beatings worthy of 11 yrs in prison - who knows...but NONE of this should take away the POINT of the Dateline piece which is here is a woman whose inner strength was so deep that she not only lived and recovered but has managed to build a life out of this mess that helps others. To see her as looking for a buck or to connect her story to the 5 kids is a shallow and obscured view. Meili has inspired me and for that I'm grateful. Posted by: Jane on April 7, 2003 11:08 AM
Trisha Meili is an exceptional woman. That she recovered physically, emotionally and spiritually is the result of an indomitable spirit and an agonizingly painful recovery. She is and will continue to be an inspiration to others who fight for survival. I have a friend currently recovering from injuries from a nearly fatal auto accident and I have already placed an order for a copy of Central Park Jogger at for my friend to read. Trisha's decision to write this book was obviously therapeutic and necessary. As a Wellesley graduate and a Yale graduate Trisha was a gifted young woman with a promising future. Her articulate and courageous interview with Katie Couric was awesome. Her ability to forgive the attacker(s) speaks volumes to ALL of us. All the best to this remarkable young woman! Posted by: Brenda on April 7, 2003 11:45 AM
I can't believe the remarks made by some that Trisha identified innocent teenagers to jail, when they confessed on tape and also were involved in other crimes that night. What is one to think when watching that, and to think the Police made them confess, if I was being convicted of a crime I did not do I sure as hell would not say I did it. God Bless Trish and hope she continues to recover from this horrific crime. Posted by: Susan on April 7, 2003 02:37 PM
I watched Dateline, and I too felt that if the story is going to be mentioned at all it should be told to the fullest. If Trish Meili can say what she said last night about "If the 5 young men were innocent of the crime against her than that is even more horrific and traggic with many more lives being affected by the crime." Then we can have the same feelings. I feel like someone should also give a special interview with the 5 young men as well, because their lives and their families lives have also changed forever. But I know that they will never do it because the media will twist the story so bad the young men would probably come out looking worst than before. I feel sorry for all the victims the 5 young men and Trish, and I feel like Reyes should have to pay for all of their lives changing. To the writer that said that the boys should not have admitted to such a crime. I wonder if they were ever harrassed by the police before. It is not easy being young and black in most major cities. I don't think the boys should have to pay such a price for going wilding in the park. We all have done something stupid and wrong in our lifetime especially when we were young. So I feel like people are still doing what they did years ago blaming the innocent 5 young men for something they didn't do. And to say that we will never know is SO UNTRUE, DENIAL WHY??????? We know who did it and we still want to pretend that justice was served. This case went to court as a knowingly lie, just as many cases continue to today. WHY???????? Peace Posted by: drummergirl on April 7, 2003 03:13 PM
My sister and I grew up with Trisha in Pittsburgh. Our families attended the same church, we watched an extremely intelligent, lovely person evolve. After the central park tragedy, Trisha has never been the same physically, but not even the violence and evil of the rapist murderer could break her beauty of her spirit. There is a reason why Trisha was given the chance to recover and live ... think about it, instead of putting all your energies into the boys who should have not "been there" doing what they were DOING in the first place ... you heard it and America heard it from Trisha ... all she wants is to help anyone that she can, to give of herself ... I think that says it all from someone who almost had IT all stolen away from her, don't you?! Posted by: barb on April 7, 2003 09:20 PM
I read Trisha's story with empathetic amazement. I was only four years old when it happened, and I had my own accident and head injury three years ago. My family is also from Pittsburgh, so I related in that respect, as well. I would just like to say that she is a woman to be admired. Relearning everything about yourself is hard enough without having other mental issues to overcome. I pray that Trisha's life is as 'normal' as it can be. And such gives me hope, as well. Posted by: Kimberly on April 8, 2003 11:28 AM
If I had been from Trish's city or home town I probably would feel the same way. But since you all are not from the city from which young blacks are constantly being stopped or picked up by the police simply because of the color of their skin (its called RACIAL PROFILING) you can't begin to relate to this story. The one about CP5. The police stopped many young boys that night. After they got what they wanted from the six that just happened to be scared enough to confess a LIE. They left the rest of the other 20 or more alone. While in the meantime their is a rappist on the loose killing and rapping many women. All they wanted was to have their day in court with the CP5. Nobody was ever worried about the truth nor protecting the city and the other poor victims. Remember the only way that Reyes was ever caught was by someone in an apartment building while attempting to commit another rape. Yet we continue to applaud the NY police for doing what????? I understand Trish's part and her role to help others, but when are we going to look at Prevention. Those boys wilding in the park that night had nothing to do with a MAD RAPIST on the loose. Thats the real story that needs to be dealth with. Peace Posted by: drummergirl on April 8, 2003 11:52 AM
One more thing, if you all can see Trish as a victim, then you most certainly should not turn a blind eye to those young men and their families as well. They were all victims. Their lives were affected and changed forever for the worst! None of them should have been in that park that night. Peace Posted by: drummergirl on April 8, 2003 11:55 AM
I am curious, are there NO black police officers in New York?! ... I am sure, to a degree, your "color profiling" is present in society, but, sterotyping ends with positive examples, good behavior and acts of kindness and contributing to society. This is the year 2003. All races are competitive and offered MANY opportunities in the U.S. Poverty and crime are rampid in whites as well as other nationalities and races. It starts with YOU and I. Instead of transfering blame and finding fault anywhere and everywhere to "get even," Let's use the energy to make the future good ... that only comes from what is on the INSIDE of you. It is called character. Posted by: barb on April 8, 2003 05:24 PM
Thanks to George for this interesting post (and comments) at Fat Shadow. I'll be posting my own followup post shortly. Posted by: ronn on April 8, 2003 05:39 PM
I have had what you call character all of my life. For if I didn't one would have only seen my color. Yes it starts within, and it is up to us. But tell that to the rest of the world, especially the ones in charge of this great country. All they look at is ones outside shell, and the numbers. They continue to play a numbers game. I wish that your comment could come true but we happen to live in a world where power and money rules. Not the minority. I thought you knew, but I forgot we maybe the same on the inside, but the shoe could never walk the same road or take the same footsteps if it is a different shade on the outside. I really wish you would address that and understand that. The world still revolves around race, don't fool yourself. Peace Posted by: drummergirl on April 10, 2003 11:40 AM
Is it me or does it seem that many of the people who support Trisha Meili find an out in this conversation by choosing to sympathize/empathize with Meili INSTEAD of the Central Park 5? And that choice seems to be buoyed by the same ole same ole - de facto racism. These 6 lives will be inexplicably tied forever because of this case - these 6 people who all lost substantial parts of their lives. But what about the recovery of the Central Park 5? Recovery seems like a walk through the park - when you are white and you have the support of your peers ... Posted by: Donald on April 13, 2003 07:45 AM
No its not just you I feel the same way. People come on this board to sympathize with Meili, yet forgetting about the other 5 victims. WHY????? This was suppose to be about the CP5. Like you said all of their lives changed after the incident, and they only seem to consider Meile as a victim with need for recovery and sympathy. WHY???? Peace Posted by: drummergirl on April 14, 2003 11:47 AM
I don't feel sorry for the central park 5 because they shouldn't have been in the park up to no good that night anyway. They were obviously in the park that night causing other people trouble and raising hell in any way they could and that is wrong. As for Reyes, may he rot in hell with all the other murderers,rapists and trouble makers out there. I say to Trisha Meili - YOU GO GIRL! and live the rest of your life surrounded with love and good people and good friends. Walk the path of life in peace and happiness and look forward, never back. Posted by: Karen on May 17, 2003 01:42 AM
Karen: I don't feel sorry for Patricia Meili. She's on the road to recovery (although she'll never be complete), has volunteered to help other survivors and is being paid handsomely for her book. I do however, feel pity for her. She's in deep denial about the Central Park 5. Especially if she believes this case was/is not about race. If we take the tremendous leap in logic you expouse -- that the CP5 were "obviously in the park that night causing other people trouble and raising hell" -- and even if they had been tried on all of the alleged crimes they committed, the possibility of convictions were extremely slim. Even if they had been convicted, they would have served little, if any time. The rape charges were racially motivated and led to the convictions on many (but not all) of the counts. The persecutors had little evidence to charge any of the young men with a crime and didn't care about justice when they coerced "confessions" from most of them. If I feel sorry for anyone, it's the subsequent rape victims and the pregnant woman killed by Reyes in front of her kids. Posted by: ronn on May 19, 2003 11:19 AM
Why do we have to choose between who we feel sorry for. My heart goes out to Trisha, but I also feel bad for the cp5. Posted by: JD24 on January 16, 2004 09:56 PM
JD24: I certainly don't expect anyone to pick sides, but I also don't mind if people do. One usually gravitates to what is familiar and known. For me, and many other POC, we identify with the CP5 and understand the reasoning behind the racist treatment and ugly nature of white supremacy that belittles their pain and we also fight with them to finally obtain some justice. Many of us are just disappointed that Meili is almost flippant about the CP5. You'd think she want Reyes to pay some price for nearly killing her. And that she'd be ashamed and outraged by the incompetence of the NYPD's and Manhattan DA's incompetence that first led to her rape (Reyes raped another women using the same M.O., in the same vincinity two days earlier) and savage beating, and the rape of four subsequent women -- one of whom was pregnant and killed with her young children in the next room. I tried reading her memoir but it's too disjointed and lacking because she doesn't address this disparity in outrage and search for justice. Until she speaks out for them and the other victims, I am decidedly on the side of the CP5 and their family; indeed, the various Black and Latino communities that have suffered in the face of racial machinations by the likes of Trump and Koch and the New York Post in the aftermath of Meili's rape and beating. Posted by: ronn on January 16, 2004 10:06 PM