PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Charges have been dropped against a Chartiers Valley basketball player who was accused of raping a teenage girl.
Ross Wilkerson, 18, appeared in court on Wednesday, where all the charges were dropped.
“I just want to thank my family and my friends, and everyone else who supported me throughout all this. Anyone who knows me would know that I would not commit such a crime that I was falsely accused of,” Wilkerson said.
“I commend the DA for making the right decision in this case, finally at this point in having the charges withdrawn and dismissed. It is the right result in this case,” defense attorney Michael Santicola said.
Wilkerson’s defense team searched the alleged victim’s cell phone and via social media found multiple accounts of what happened.
The alleged victim in the case has recanted her story.
In March, Wilkerson was arrested and charged with the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl. He was taken out of school in handcuffs when these allegations surfaced.
“Ross was led out of school in handcuffs. He missed a lot of his senior year. He missed a lot of his senior basketball season. He was a basketball star. He was to go to college on a scholarship. That was in jeopardy and is still in jeopardy,” defense attorney Michelle Santicola said.
Now, The Santicolas want Wilkerson’s record expunged, but know some things can never be undone.
“If you Google his name, forever this will be attached to it. Now, the footnote in our opinion is the most important part where he has been exonerated, but that’s going to follow him forever, and he did nothing wrong and that’s the tragedy in this case,” Michele Santicola said.
At the time of his arrest, the alleged victim told police Wilkerson told her he had a gift for her. But when she arrived at his home, she told police he pushed her into a closet and forced her to have sex.
At a preliminary hearing, Wilkerson’s attorneys said the two had previously had a sexual relationship. They also say there were inconsistencies in the alleged victim’s testimony.
“I think her credibility is shot,” defense attorney Michael Santicola said at the time. “We counted at least 10-15 different answers she gave today [that are] completely inconsistent with the things she said before. She has now admitted to having sex with our client in the past, multiple times, she did not tell police that.”
During that preliminary hearing charges of unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors were dropped.