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Monday, June 6, 2011

Story Behind Teen's YouTube Rape Plea

Sulaiman Kamal | 3:02 PM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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MAY 16--The Florida teenager who posted an emotional YouTube video describing her alleged rape gave police a troubling account of her relationship with a 23-year-old man who recently was cleared of sexually assaulting the girl. 
In police interviews, the 16-year-old girl, identified only as Crystal in her video, describes meeting Casey Mundling, 23, at a party in mid-2007. At that point, while still 15, Crystal began having sex with Mundling, she told investigators. The teenager's claims were recorded during an interview with an Orange County Sheriff's Office detective last November (a transcript from that session can be found below).
Crystal also provided a handwritten statement describing her months-long relationship with Mundling, whom she accused of "always getting me drunk, high on cocaine and pills" before they had sex. A sheriff's report notes that Crystal told investigators that when she quarreled with Mundling he threatened to harm her and her family if "she said anything to anyone." Crystal added that she was transported to a local hospital last June "because she was upset and tried to commit suicide."
Based on Crystal's statements, Mundling, pictured in the mug shot at left, was arrested last November and charged with lewd or lascivious battery, a felony. Since she was a minor at the outset of the couple's relationship, prosecutors contended that Crystal could not legally consent to sexual intercourse.
But records indicate that prosecutors were far from gung-ho in pursuing a prosecution of Mundling. Included in documents released by the State Attorney's office are a prosecutor's notationsfrom March indicating that Crystal's father "wants this to be prosecuted. I really don't know the reason. He has full knowledge of [his daughter's] lifestyle and his is similar." A late-2007 e-mail from prosecutor Nicole Pegues to a sheriff's detective notes, none-too-enthusiastically, "I guess I have to charge this case."
Citing "prosecutorial discretion," Pegues eventually declined to file a case against Mundling "due to the consensual nature of the sexual encounter" and the fact that Crystal "was a mere 1 month from her 16th birthday" when she began having sex with him.
Earlier this month, after Crystal and her father learned of Pegues's decision, the teenager recorded and posted her YouTube video, which can be found above. In that clip, Crystal--for the first time--claims that she was raped by Mundling. In her prior police statements, she repeatedly told probers that the sex was consensual and that, "I wanted a guy in my life 'cause my mom's boyfriends have never been there for me. And my dad wasn't there so I thought alright he's older maybe he'll respect me, but it didn't go like that."
During a contentious May 5 conversation with a prosecutor, records show, Crystal's father was "only concerned w/threats (UTube, press, etc.)" and "indicated he will sue." (14 pages)

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