Four members of Polish death metal outfit Decapitated were scheduled to face trial in Washington this month on charges of rape and kidnapping. However, just 11 days before the trial was set to being, Spokane County prosecutors have now decided to drop all charges.
Band members Waclaw Kieltyka, 35, Michal Lysejko, 27, Rafal Piotrowski, 31, and Hubert Wiecek, 30 were standing accused of holding two women against their will on their tour bus last August. While one woman managed to escape, the other said the four men brutally gang-raped her and forced her to perform sex acts on them.
Today, Spokane County prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion to drop all the charges without prejudice, leaving the door open for future prosecution. The motion cited the victim’s “well being” and “the interest of justice” as reasons for the dismissal. “This has been traumatizing to her,” Fitzgerald said, according to The Spokesman-Review. “It’s obviously something that is a multiple defender case, and it would be a lengthy trial. We’ve discussed with her and her advocates and feel at this time it’s best for her to heal.”
However, attorneys for the band point to newly admitted evidence and a weakening case as the true reasons the charges was dropped. Besides the women’s own testimony, much of the prosecutors’ case was based on observations police made at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center on the night of the alleged rape. They noted “significant bruising to her upper arms consistent with being restrained” and “small abrasions to her knuckles that were scabbed over.” The accuser said she had dug her knuckles into the wall to distract herself from what was happening.
Steve Graham, the attorney for Kieltyka, said testimony from other attendees at the August 31st concert cast doubt on the accuser’s story. “We subpoenaed the list of concert attendees and found numerous people who say that she was in the front row of the mosh pit and was climbing up on stage, and getting jostled about as much as anyone else there,” Graham said. The argument was the injuries could have been explained by the “violent dancing” going on in the mosh pit.
Defense attorneys also planned to question the credibility of the alleged victim. In 2014, she had admitted to lying to police regarding an assault in which her boyfriend was accused of stabbing three people. She said her injuries at the time were caused by the three victims, but it turned out her boyfriend had given them to her during a previous argument.
The members of Decapitated were released on their own recognizance in October after pleading not guilty. They’ve been in Washington ever since, and are currently awaiting permission from Immigration and Customs Enforcement to return to their native Poland.