January 24, 2007
By TINA A. BROWN, Courant Staff Writer
A woman who recanted a story that she had been raped by an unknown black man in Hartford's Bushnell Park was arrested Tuesday and appeared in Hartford Superior Court on a charge of filing a false police report.
Rosemarie Clark, 28, of Waterbury, was taken to court from the state women's prison in Niantic, where she has been held for three weeks on stolen-credit-card charges.
Clark, who is white, told Hartford police in November she had been raped on a weekday afternoon near the park carousel by a stranger who she described as a heavyset black man with a gray beard. In response to the report, police beefed up patrols in the heavily traveled downtown park.
In December, police said, she recanted her story but maintained she had been raped - not by a stranger in the park but by a man she knew in another location. She has refused to identify that man, police said.
Clark's arrest Tuesday was her third in the past year.
Authorities said she was sentenced Jan. 2 to a 90-day jail term, suspended, and one year of probation on a charge of sixth-degree larceny in Waterbury. The next day, she was arrested and charged with stealing credit cards in Glastonbury and running up nearly $900 in charges.
A mother of two, Clark has been held at Niantic since Jan. 3, with bail set at $905, on the credit-card charges.
Hartford police initially decided not to charge the woman with filing a false report because they still considered her a sexual-assault victim and did not want to further traumatize her. But police reversed that decision earlier this month after leaders of the city's black community - saying her story perpetuated harmful stereotypes - called for criminal charges.
Hartford State's Attorney James Thomas secured an arrest warrant Thursday.
Police and prosecutors have refused to name the woman, saying her identity should be protected by the state's rape-shield law. Police said she has refused to cooperate in an investigation.
The warrant for her arrest is sealed, but authorities in court Tuesday - including Assistant State's Attorney John O'Reilly and the bail commissioner on duty - called Clark by name when she was brought into open court.
There was little discussion about the false-report charge. Clark, who is 5-foot-9 with long, auburn hair, did not speak during her court appearance. Public defender Elizabeth Ahern, who represented her, was not available for comment.
The bail commissioner recommended $1,000 bail on the false-report charge, but Judge Bradford Ward raised it to $2,500. The case was continued until Feb. 9.
Ward said he would consider a motion by The Hartford Courant asking for a hearing to unseal documents in the case. The Courant's lawyer, Michael T. McCormack, filed a written motion later Tuesday, but no hearing date has been set.
Neither Hartford Police Chief Daryl Roberts nor Thomas would comment Tuesday.
In the arrest earlier this month, Clark was charged with stealing three credit cards from a woman she worked with at a Glastonbury restaurant, according to court records. She went on a spending spree with them in September, the records say, racking up $900 in charges at stores including Victoria's Secret in Glastonbury, a CVS pharmacy and Dunkin' Donuts in Hartford, and a Footlocker and Wal-Mart in Waterbury.
Clark told Glastonbury police that "she used the cards to get some things for her daughter and two nieces," the records show.
The woman filed the rape report after police were summoned Nov. 14 by officials of Hartford Hospital, where she had gone for treatment. She told police a heavyset black man approached her and asked her for change. When she kept walking, she told police, the man pulled her back by her pony tail and raped her.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at