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Wanetta Gibson's video confession

Wanetta Gibson was a sophomore, when she met up with Brian Banks, a junior star linebacker, in a stairwell at Long Beach Polytechnic High. They stood in the stairwell making out, and then went their separate ways. That make out session led to an accusation of rape.

Watch the video to see Brian tell what happened to him after their make out session. Then you will see the undercover video of Wanetta, ten years later, saying a rape never occurred.

Wanetta Gibson reached out to Banks on Facebook, of all places, wanting to "let bygones be bygones".  He set up a meeting with her to be secretly recorded, confessing that a rape never happened.  She met him, but refused to go to court, and didn't even give him the courtesy of an apology.

We now know that Brian went to prison off of, what I consider, poor legal advice.  His attorney allegedly told him he would be perceived negatively because he was a big black guy, so he may as well plead no contest.  At 16, he asked if he could talk to his mother, and allegedly the attorney said no.  (I promise you, this scenario has played out in more court cases than you can imagine.)

If a child is facing prison time, or any punishment for that matter, you allow that child to talk to his parent. You do not throw a person to the wolves based off his appearance, when evidence supports his defense.

Yes, appearance does matter (people who decide your fate in court come in with their own perceptions...understand that), but it just influences your legal strategy. You may have to work harder to represent a person who "looks the part", but you do not just give up and send an innocent person to prison.

What happened with Wanetta?

Someone left a comment on the first post I did on this story, saying that Wanetta, now 24, is the mother of two children, a boy and a girl.  According to the LA Times, Wanetta was ordered to pay six hundred dollars or more for their support.

The comment poster also claimed that Wanetta is working on her masters degree.  I'm not sure how true any of this is, but according to the LA Times, the 750,000.00 settlement probably will not be recouped.  Further, at some point, Wanetta received public assistance, so the money may be gone anyway.


Can Wanetta be forgiven? Wanetta Gibson may not face any prosecution for her false allegation. A number of people are outraged by what she did, but remember she was fifteen (or maybe fourteen) years old, and there were adults in this situation who caused a lot of this damage.

Wanetta's parents, the prosecutor who brought the case with allegedly nothing more than he said/she said evidence, Brian Banks's former attorney, and the list goes on and on...are as responsible for this as Wanetta Gibson.

Do I believe she should face punishment? Honestly, yes.  You have to be accountable for your actions, but prosecuting people based on false rape allegations may do even more to chill actual victims coming forward.  It is tough enough for rape victims to seek charges against their attackers, courts do not really want to go around locking alleged victims up.

Brian Banks seems to have forgiven Wanetta, even though she apparently did not ask for his forgiveness.


Anonymous said…
Funny how you mention that she was only 15 at the time. Brian Banks was only 16 at the time but was held fully accountable for his alleged actions. Is there really any justice if the courts hold only males accountable no matter their age, but give females a pass? Both she and her mother should be charged!
CM said…
I mentioned her age to express that there were grown people around who could have put an end to this before it had gone this far.

I explicitly state that I think she should be punished, so I don't know what "pass" you are talking about. Can you explain that to me? I don't feel she should get a pass.
Anonymous said…
You say: "prosecuting people based on false rape allegations may do even more to chill actual victims coming forward"

What about the effect that not prosecuting her would have? Would that cause more people to look at this as a valid way to get back at former relationship that may have ended on bad terms?
CM said…
I didn't say this particular accuser should not be prosecuted. I said prosecuting based on "false allegations" could chill actual victims coming forward.

Wanetta Gibson's case had no actual trial, as Brian was convinced to plea nolo the evidence was never fleshed out in court.

There already exists a law for malicious prosecution. My point is, setting a precedent to prosecute any alleged victim (be they male or female, as men are victims of sexual assault as well), MAY cause real victims to fear coming forward more so than they already do.

In cases where someone admits to making it up for the purpose of setting someone up, that is different.

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