Strauss-Kahn and five other vexing sexual assault cases

Sexual assault cases rank among the most difficult to prosecute, as the one against ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is demonstrating. Here are five high-profile sex-crime cases that fell apart.

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3. Hofstra University gang-rape case

An 18-year-old Hofstra University freshman accused five men, including another Hofstra student, of gang-raping her after a campus party in Hempstead, N.Y., in September 2009.

Four of the men were charged and a fifth was about to be arrested after the woman told police she was lured to a dormitory after a dance party. She said she was bound with rope while the five men took turns sexually assaulting her in a stall in the men's bathroom.

Then a grainy and explicit cellphone video of the incident emerged, showing the sex was consensual. The woman recanted her story after the prosecutor asked her: “If there is a video, and I get that video, it's going to show me that what you're saying is true?”

The charges were dropped. “Her actions and demeanor depict a very troubled young woman in need of much help," prosecutor Madeline Singas said later.

"The men did nothing illegal, but that doesn't make the behavior any less despicable," wrote Newsday columnist Joye Brown about the case. At the same time, "one woman's lie could have sent five innocent young men to state prison for up to 25 years."

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