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Falsely Accused of Rape, Former High School Football Star Finally Cleared

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Published on May 24, 2012

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- After a decade, it was the judgment that Brian Banks and his lawyers from the California Innocence Project fought for: Case dismissed.

"My only dream in the world was to just be free and to have the same opportunity as everybody here," said Banks following Thursday's hearing.

At age 16, Brian Banks had been a popular student at Polytechnic High in Long Beach, an athlete being scouted by eight colleges.

He verbally accepted an offer to attend the University of Southern California on a four-year scholarship when a serious accusation came from a fellow classmate and childhood friend.

Wanetta Gibson, then 15 years old, claimed Banks had raped her at school. With a case of he said she said, Banks did as his lawyers urged -- to plead no contest and accept a short prison term rather than risk a long one.

Gibson collected $1.5 million after suing the school. Banks spent five years in prison and five years on parole, finally reaching out to California Project Innocence. But the case turned when the alleged victim contacted him through Facebook asking to be his friend.

LINK: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?sec...

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