Thursday, August 12, 1999

Girl admits at trial she lied about rape

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A man who spent nearly two months in jail on 11 counts of rape was freed Wednesday when his 10-year-old accuser said she made up the story.

        Donald Vulhop, 29, could have faced up to life in prison.

        “It's really scary to think this could happen,” said his attorney, Timothy Cutcher. “There isn't a more despicable crime, but you read all the time about guys who didn't really do it.”

        Another case last month involved a recanted rape accusation in Hamilton County.

        Johnny Reeves was freed from prison in July after serving 10 years for raping a girl who later admitted in court that he was innocent.

        In that case, the girl testified that her father — not Mr. Reeves — had raped her and then threatened to harm her if she didn't blame someone else.

        Prosecutors will decide within a few weeks whether to formally drop the charges against Mr. Reeves.

        In the case against Mr. Vulhop, the girl recanted at the start of his trial in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

        The girl, who is not being named, said she reported the rape in January after Mr. Vulhop ended a relationship with her mother.

        “She was angry because he left,” Mr. Cutcher said.

        Mr. Vulhop was arrested in June.

        With no physical evidence, prosecutors were relying on the girl's allegation.

        Without it, Judge Patrick Dinkelacker declared Mr. Vulhop not guilty of all charges.


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