WXXI AM News

Johnnie Cochran Agrees to Examine Local Case

Jan 10, 2001

Rochester NY – The noted defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran filed a notice of claim against Monroe County on behalf of a 20-year-old woman who says she was raped by three county sheriff's deputies.

Cochran was joined by the Reverend Norvel Goff of the Rochester NAACP in calling for rapid completion of a state police investigation into the rape charge. Cochran also wants the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Bureau to investigate the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

The rape allegedly took place November 30th at the sheriff's substation in Henrietta. Cochran says he's spoken to the woman who made the charge, and finds her credible.

The deputies' union has issued a statement saying it's confident state police investigators will find the allegations are false. The union says it will look into legal action of its own against the accusers if that happens.

Cochran and the woman's supporters say the sheriff's department and the state police have had more than 30 days to investigate the matter. They want the investigation wrapped up, and the information made public.

Reverend Goff read a statement from the woman and her family. In it, she says she's been mentally devestated by the assault, but spoke up even though she was threatened she'd be killed if she talked about it.

Cochran is the attorney who helped defend O.J. Simpson against murder charges, and represented Abner Louima in a sexual abuse complaint against the New York City Police Department. He was invited by Rochester lawyer Albert Parisi to examine the woman's case. He agreed to take it because the allegations against the three deputies are so serious.

Cochran is working for the woman's family. He says he hasn't discussed fees, or how much he'll seek in damages when the lawsuit is filed.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Department says it has every confidence the state police are conducting a thorough and objective investigation.