Racial Justice Activists

Cases of Interest

Bill Bastuk

May 29, 2008 stands as a day of darkness for Bill Bastuk. He’ll never forget hearing the Monroe County Sheriff accuse him of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. The news came as a shock and Bastuk vacillated between disgust and anger. How could this be happening when all the evidence indicated otherwise? Yet the Monroe County Sheriff and District Attorney would hear none of it. To them, Bastuk was a statistic —one that could hopefully boost their conviction rates and prestige. For nearly 12 harrowing months, they hammered at the public, the jury and even Bastuk’s own family to convince them of his guilt; they dragged their feet in presenting to his lawyer information crucial to his defense . And through it all, Bastuk and his family underwent duress, anxiety, hurt and humiliation. On May 15, 2009 a jury unanimously confirmed, in less than three hours what Bastuk already knew. He was not guilty.

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