As previously reported, the trial was set for Jan. 16, after being delayed from Dec. 18. But 11 days before the trial date, Spokane County prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion dismissing all rape and kidnapping charges, citing “the well being of the victim” as a reason for dropping the charges.
However, as The Spokesman-Review explains, the four men could be prosecuted in the future.
BREAKING: Spokane County prosecutors have dropped all rape and kidnapping charges against the four members of the Polish death metal band Decapitated, citing the well-being of the alleged victim. Story soon.
— Jonathan Glover (@glovetrain) January 5, 2018
The news source explains that two weeks ago, Steve Graham, who is representing Waclaw Kieltyka, said “new evidence” came to light that “seriously cast doubt” over the state’s case.
The band were arrested on Sept. 9 in California, while on tour with Thy Art Is Murder, after being accused of kidnapping and raping a woman following their performance in Spokane on Aug. 31. After being extradited to Washington, the band were formally charged, with the members facing indictments of varying degrees: Both Kieltyka and Piotrowski had been charged with first-degree kidnapping and second-degree rape, while Lysejko and Wiecek were charged with first-degree kidnapping and third-degree rape.
Court documents released on Sept. 11 detail the alleged sexual assault in which the woman claims she was “raped by band members in their tour bus bathroom” and that she “entered the bus for drinks with the band before each member forced themselves on her.” The woman's friend reportedly told police that she was almost a victim of the attack herself but escaped the tour bus after kicking Piotrowski in the groin and running to her car.
Graham, Kieltyka's attorney, said there is “another side” to the accusations: “We have witnesses that can testify to the fact that the accuser came to visit the band of her own free will. The accuser has a documented history of providing false information to the police dating back to 2014.”
A police report offered differing accounts of the alleged incident. The women contend they were invited onto the bus and offered drinks before the band members became aggressive and started groping them.
But a volunteer at venue the Pin, where the concert took place, said the two women were “groping” and “all over” the singer and another member of the band (“feeling them up”) before they boarded the tour bus. The volunteer said he later saw both women standing outside smoking a cigarette, and that the alleged victim seemed more “(angry) than anything.”
The woman who said she escaped the bus was stopped for a DUI later that night, according to The Spokesman-Review. The officer involved said she didn't mention a sexual assault at that time. Later, when arriving at Spokane County Jail, the woman “spoke to someone on the phone and… said to him that her friend was raped by five men downtown.”
In ensuing interviews, the alleged victim condemned law enforcement for lack of action following her friend's notification of the assault. The victim said officers “let [her] down” in a written complaint filed with police.
“Why was there no proaction when a young woman was crying for help [when] she just got raped?” she wrote. “Please tell me how three squad police cars can show up to someone stealing, or petty theft, but when a woman's dignity is being taken away from her the police men just drive away?”
Andy Marsh, guitarist for Thy Art Is Murder, provided new testimony that was included with the band's release documents. Marsh claims he saw the woman “violently dancing” in the mosh pit during the Aug. 31 show in Spokane. “She was smashing her hands, arms and body against the metal barricade between the audience and the stage,” the court documents recount. The woman said she sustained such injuries when she was attacked by the band, claiming she was pushed against the wall when the rape occurred.
The band had been out of jail since late last year. They were ordered to stay within the state but were allowed to leave the county until ordered to return.
With the charges dropped, the band can return to their home country of Poland.