The police theory that five teenagers whose convictions were overturned actually did attack a Central Park jogger in 1989 is not supported by any evidence, a prosecutor said Thursday.
However, a confession by an imprisoned serial rapist last year that he acted alone is supported by many facts, Manhattan Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. James Kindler told a City Council committee.
"There was substantial reason to credit his account of the crime," Kindler said.
Kindler's comments were the first extensive statement from the district attorney's office since a Police Department report released Monday alleged that it was "more likely than not that the five original defendants participated in an attack upon the jogger."
The report suggested that serial rapist Matias Reyes probably dragged the jogger deep into the park woods and brutalized her after an attack by the teens. The defendants' supporters have called the report a whitewash.
Testifying before the council's public safety committee, Kindler said, "The theory that Reyes may have come along later, it is a theory; there is no evidence to support it."
The convictions of Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Kharey Wise and Yusef Salaam were overturned last month because Reyes confessed and DNA linked him to the crime.
The five men, who were ages 14 to 16 at the time of the attack, had already completed prison terms ranging from six years to 11 1/2 years.
Reyes is serving a life sentence on unrelated convictions. He cannot be prosecuted in the jogger case because the statute of limitations has expired.