The man police arrested for being the infamous Park Slope Groper was falsely accused, a jury found last week.
Jesse Dailey — who police collared as the culprit behind a spate of gropings in 2013 — walked out of Brooklyn Supreme Court a free man on Jan. 25 after police bungled the investigation and the evidence against him did not add up to a conviction, according to one juror.
“We didn’t have enough evidence to prove it was Jesse Dailey,” said Community News Group reporter Alley Olivier, one of the jurors in the trial. “He seemed like a victim of wrong place, wrong time.”
The media dubbed Dailey the Park Slope Groper after police charged him with grabbing the butts of three girls, ages 10 and 11, in the well-to-do neighborhood on two separate occasions.
The then-34-year-old computer programmer — who was identified due to his resemblance to a widely circulated police sketch of the groper — has long maintained that he was a victim of mistaken identity.
The case against Dailey was dismantled in large part by the officers who created it. In a pre-trial hearing, one of the detectives testified that he had never shown the victims a picture of Dailey before they picked him out in a lineup. The claim was later proven false, shredding the cop’s credibility.
“We heard that he had lied on the stand,” said Olivier. “The prosecutor admitted to it.”
Experts later testified that, by showing the girls pictures of Dailey before he appeared in a line-up, the detectives had tainted their memory and could have influenced their choice, according to Olivier.
Also sinking the case was the fact that the only victim to see the defendant’s face clearly during the groping did not identify Dailey when asked if her attacker was in the court room.
“The third girl saw the man twice, and both times she saw his full face head on, and she couldn’t ID him,” said Olivier.
Dailey also faced additional charges stemming from an encounter he had with an undercover detective, who — suspecting Dailey of the groping crimes — approached him and asked for identification, which led to a scuffle that left the detective with a dislocated shoulder. The jury acquitted him on that count as well.
The jury — which included parents and teachers — didn’t doubt that someone groped the girls and had a strong desire to see the person responsible brought to justice, but after much deliberation, they simply weren’t convinced Dailey was that man, Olivier said.
“It was a hard decision,” she said. “We really wanted to see justice done for these girls.”