Brian Banks spent more than five years in jail on a rape charge that turned out to be fabricated, and now his accuser is being ordered to pay.
Wanetta Gibson, whose allegation of rape sent the former high school football star to prison, has been ordered to pay $2.6 million in damages to the Long Beach School District after she received a $1.5 million settlement following the case. Both she and Banks were students at Long Beach (California) Polytechnic High School when she accused him of raping her.
Banks said the sexual contact was mutual, and that they never actually engaged in sex after sneaking off to a secluded stairwell in the school. But he pleaded no contest to a charge of forcible rape to avoid a potential 41-year sentence after attorneys warned him that a jury would be prejudiced against a black teenager.
Brian Banks said he was led to believe he would serve 18 months, but was instead sentenced to six years in state prison. Compounding his case was the fact that no DNA was recovered, leaving chances for release bleak, CBS News noted.
The ruling against Gibson includes the $1.5 million settlement she received after claiming the district created an unsafe environment. She also will pay $1 million in punitive damages.
“The court recognizes that our school district was a victim in this case,” school Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “This judgment demonstrates that when people attempt to defraud our school system, they will feel the full force of the law.”
Gibson admitted to Banks in a 2012 conversation that the allegation was made up.
Gibson was not present for the court proceedings, but the court will recoup the money through her future wages and property, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. Brian Banks will receive none of the money.
Before being sent to prison, Banks was a football standout and had received a scholarship offer from USC. After his release the Seattle Seahawks — headed by former USC coach Pete Carroll, who recruited Banks — gave him a tryout, though he did not make the team.
His NFL dreams have made more progress since his release. Brian Banks made the Atlanta Falcons roster in April.