LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday a man once accused of forcibly raping a McNeese student was released from custody last week after the student who reported the rape admitted to fabricating her story.
A rape was initially reported by 18-year-old Kolbie Wade of Lake Charles. Wade reportedly picked 19-year-old Tyler Leger out of a photographic lineup.
"We started checking into her story and it seems to be all matching and the cards were falling in place for what we believe was a rape that occurred," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso.
Leger was then arrested, without incident, at McNeese while he was attending class on Thursday, September 23. He was charged with forcible rape and was booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center. He was held on a $750,000 bond.
"Obviously he professed his innocence and kept giving us witnesses and many of those were not adding up, the timelines were not adding up. Then finally we got some credible witnesses," said Mancuso.
After Leger's arrest, an investigation continued and more information was discovered. Detectives interviewed several new witnesses, which led to another interview with Wade. She continued to allege she was raped by Leger.
According to authorities, the witnesses' information was verified to be true and detectives met with the District Attorney's on Tuesday, October 19. The facts were reviewed and it was decided that the rape charge against Leger should be dismissed.
Leger was released from jail the same day. You may remember this was Leger's second arrest within a week. It was that previous arrest for allegedly using his neighbor's wireless Internet to download child pornography that led authorities to put Leger's picture among the lineup of six potential rape suspects.
"We had probable cause to arrest him based on the information that was provided by her," said Mancuso. "That's unfortunate for him, but based on the information we had we felt like that's what would keep our community safe and we did what we thought was our job and I still believe that."
Authorities say on October 20, Wade admitted to detectives she fabricated her story. She confirmed she did not know Leger, and she did not give a reason why she made up the story.
Wade was arrested and booked into the Calcasieu Correctional Center and charged with criminal mischief. She bonded out later that day.
Meanwhile MSU Police Chief Cinnamon Salvador says they'll continue to take every crime seriously and investigate all claims.
"We don't want this to have a chilling effect on other possible victims of sexual assault. A lot of times they will have this feeling that if it's reported that they won't be believed. We want to make sure that people understand if you come to us we want you to report that if that is what occurred to you, but you have to provide accurate information," said Salvador.