Charlottesville Police Chief Apologizes

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari
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September 8, 2005

DNA cleared Christopher Lynn Matthew of all charges related to a rape over the weekend. But now Charlottesville Police are answering tough questions about his arrest.

Today Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo said he was sorry for the embarrassment the arrest caused Matthew, his family, and the entire community.

"I am sorry for what Mr. Matthew is experiencing today. I'm sorry for what he has experienced over the last several days," said Longo.

But Longo said given the evidence, Matthew's arrest was based on probable cause. The evidence included a positive face to face identification by the victim. This fact, he said, the media failed to report.

"There's a line in this press release that says incident to a victim identification of the suspect a warrant was obtained and I didn't hear in any of the coverage that a victim identification was made and that's what led to an arrest," said Longo.

The press release the Chief is talking about did not come out until last night. And when asked on Monday what lead police to Matthew, the chief did not give us a specific answer.

Now some are asking whether Charlottesville Police prematurely made comments alluding to Matthew's connection to the serial rapist.

On Monday, Longo said, "We are pleased and hopeful that this apprehension is not only a resolution to this case but perhaps others."

Today he responded, "I think what I also said to Sarah and I said to any other media representative that I talked to was that it was premature to determine what, if any, relationship there was with respect to the serial rape investigation because we had outstanding forensic evidence at the state lab."

This evidence is what eventually cleared Matthew.

"If this was 15 years ago, more likely that not Mr. Matthew would have stood trial for a crime he did not commit," said Longo.

Charlottesville Police don't want the public to lose sight of the fact that there still is a rapist out there. One that say DNA proves has no connection to the serial rapist.

Charlottesville police urge anyone who may have been at Dirty Nelly's on Friday night and may have seen a black male in his 20's around 5'8" with a goatee, wearing a white tee shirt and jeans to call CrimeStoppers at 434-977-4000.

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