CHICAGO — A 28-year-old man sent to prison six years ago on a rape conviction was freed on bond Thursday after his accuser testified that she made up the rape story, ripping her clothes and cutting her body to make it seem real.
"I'm not totally free yet," Gary Dotson said after he was released from the Joliet Correctional Center, about 25 miles southwest of Chicago. "I've got a court date and I've got to take it from there. I'm just going to sit down and relax. That's all I want to do."
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Richard Samuels, who sentenced Dotson to 25 to 50 years in prison in 1979 for kidnaping and aggravated rape, set bond at $100,000 after hearing Cathleen Crowell Webb's testimony. He recessed until next Thursday a hearing on whether to overturn Dotson's conviction.
Mother Posted Bond
Dotson's mother, Barbara, 48, posted the $10,000 cash required to make bond as clerks in the office broke into applause. She was given the money by a neighbor who got it through a bank loan.
Heritage Bank in Dotson's suburban hometown of Country Club Hills, set up two accounts for him: the Gary Dotson Bond Fund, to raise money for his bond, and the Gary Dotson Fund, to raise money for him to spend after he is freed, spokesman Ken Strouse said.
Webb, now a mother of two living in New Hampshire, spoke calmly and stared straight ahead during her testimony. Dotson, who has said he is not angry at Webb, sat about 35 feet away, occasionally putting his head in his hands.
In an affidavit, Webb said she had sex with a teen-age boy in mid-1977, feared that she was pregnant and made up the rape to explain the pregnancy. She was 16 at the time.
Webb testified at the hearing that she created a fictitious description of an attacker, from which a police sketch was made. When shown a mug shot of Dotson, Webb identified him as her assailant "because his picture looked so much like the sketch that, if I didn't (identify him), it would show it (the rape) was a lie," she said.
She testified that she fabricated the rape story "to make it appear for the benefit of my parents that I had been forcibly raped."
Webb said that on July 9, 1977, she left the restaurant where she worked in suburban Homewood then "ripped the buttons from my shirt, I ripped the zipper (on my pants). . . . I may have put dirt on my clothes. . . . I ripped my bra. . . . I tried to bruise my arms to make fingernail marks on my breasts. . . . I used a broken bottle to mark my abdomen."
She said she "made her decision based on faith in Jesus Christ" to recant her story of the rape.