September 10, 2003

'This case destroyed me'

Santana reflects on life after Central Park jogger case

As part of Trisha Meili's attempts to get her shattered life back on track, the Central Park jogger ran, literally, back to the site of the vicious attack and rape, 14 years later. As for Raymond Santana, convicted but later cleared in the case, he hasn't set foot in the park since the day he was arrested.

"I've been near it," Santana said last week of the park. "But as far as in, no. I don't know, I'm not trying to go there. Or run into anybody and they say, 'Oh, he's back in the park.'"

Like Meili, he is a victim, said Santana, in one of the rare interviews he has given since the convictions were overturned and his name cleared in the Central Park rape. He has slowly tried to put his life back together, taking business courses at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, and working as an office assistant there.

But some things may never get back to normal. At 28, he has been unable to sustain a relationship with a woman for more than six months, he said, largely because of the stigma of the case. And by the time the conviction was overturned, half of his family had shunned him.

"This case destroyed me..."

More to come later this month and later this weekend, the beginning of a FAQ (finally!).

Posted by ronn at September 10, 2003 02:23 AM