All Articles Tagged "Wanetta Gibson"
From Black Voices
LONG BEACH, Calif. — The Long Beach Unified School District is suing a woman who falsely accused a former high school football star of rape in hopes of recovering legal fees and a $750,000 settlement paid to her.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/16TjOrb) that the district alleged Wanetta Gibson committed contractual fraud in a lawsuit filed last November.
Gibson was 15 when she accused Brian Banks of attacking her on their high school campus. He insisted the sexual contact with Gibson was consensual, but pleaded no contest to forcible rape on the advice of his lawyer and spent more than five years in prison.
Read more at BlackVoices.com.
Remember Him? Brian Banks, The Football Star Who Was Falsely Accused Of Rape And Sent To Prison, Signs With The Atlanta Falcons
Last year we told you about the story of Brian Banks, who at 16 was once a top football prospect with scholarships to play in college, but ended up serving more than five years in prison and had five years of probation thrown on him after being falsely accused of rape. As the story went, Banks claimed he and fellow student, then-15-year-old Wanetta Gibson, on school grounds, made out, groped each other, but never had sex. However, after ending their rendezvous together on a bad note, Gibson claimed that Banks raped her, and before he knew it, he was arrested and facing more than 40 years in jail. Pushed by his lawyer to take a plea deal instead of fighting, Banks went to prison, and Gibson won millions from the school district after her mother claimed the school environment clearly wasn’t a safe one.
After his release in 2011, Gibson of course contacted Banks, they met up, and she admitted lying the whole time, but didn’t tell the truth to police because she thought she would have to give her settlement money back and didn’t want her children to look at her negatively. Banks actually recorded this conversation, and after the fact, with the help of the California Innocence Project, his conviction was overturned last year, and life could finally go on for him.
And boy has it gone on on a good note! He has been training since his release in 2011 so that he could try out for NFL teams. Last summer, Banks was offered the chance to tryout with a few different NFL teams, and though they didn’t pick him up, he did get to play in the UFL for the Las Vegas Locomotives for a short time. But with that experience and his talents, just today Banks was able to sign with the Atlanta Falcons, and he will be fighting for a linebacker spot on the team. Participating in off-season workouts, if things work out, he’ll get a contract and finally fulfill those dreams he had back in high school before lies and the judicial system halted them for years.
On a side note, when he’s not trying to play football, Banks has teamed up with the California Innocence Project to be their spokesperson. He hasn’t tried to pursue any lawsuits against his accuser and doesn’t want retribution as all has been forgiven by him, but he just wants to be free to play the sport he loves. Kudos to that man, now 27. His future is bright!
Yesterday was a bittersweet day for Long Beach native Brian Banks. Ten years after being accused of rape and five years after serving time for the crime he didn’t commit, a judge told the 26-year-old that his case was dismissed.
In 2002, Brian was a popular 16-year-old student at Polytechnic High and a star athlete on the football team who was already being scouted by eight colleges. He verbally accepted an offer to attend the University of Southern California on a four-year scholarship when an accusation from a fellow classmate and childhood friend took it all away. Wanetta Gibson, who was 15 years old at the time, said Banks raped and kidnapped her on school grounds and the rest was history.
“We went into an area on campus that is known as a makeout spot, we kissed, we groped we touched, but we never had sex,” Brian told ABC. We ended things on a good note. I went back to class, by the end of the day I was in custody.”
And that’s where he stayed. Facing a sentence of 41 years to life in prison if convicted, Brian’s lawyer urged him to take a plea deal. And so he did. Brian told reporters:
“She told me I was a big black teenager and no jury would believe anything I said.”
After five years in prison and five years on parole, Brian reached out to the California Innocence Project to clear his name but a random friend request actually did more for him than the project could. When Brian got out, Wanetta wanted to be friends on Facebook. Brian said he sent his accuser a message asking why she sent the request and she replied:
“I figured you and I could let bygones be bygones. I was immature then, but I’m much more mature now.’”
Right there I would have caught a murder case, but I digress. Brian agreed to meet up with Wanetta and when he did, she admitted that she lied and said she was willing to help clear his name. There was one problem though, she was worried she would have to pay back the $1.5 million settlement that she collected from the school after she sued them over lack of safety on campus. During a conversation that was secretly recorded, Wanetta was quoted as saying:
“‘I will go through with helping you but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back.’”
Her admission was all Brian needed to clear his name and that’s exactly what happened yesterday. Now the former NFL hopeful wants to put his life back together.
“He’s had a monitor on his ankle since that day, it’s been difficult for him to get work, he’s been struggling in the community with people looking at him like a sex offender,” said Justin Brooks with California Project Innocence.
Brian’s lawyers have informed him that he has a right to sue Wanetta for her false claim against him but so far he hasn’t stated whether he’ll go through with that or not. He said his focus is to get back to football and recover his decade-long dream.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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