Katelyn Webster arrested for false rape claim that cost Matthew Folino his freedom and found him facing 10 years if convicted at trial


Katelyn Webster, 18, of Venetia, PA, just outside Pittsburgh, arrested and charged with making a false claim of rape against Matthew Folino, a young man with no prior history of arrest, whom she’d met only weeks before. Folino spent months in jail and faced 10 years at trial, having been arrested on the basis of Webster’s statement to police.

Police showed up at young Matthew Folino’s house one night at 2AM. Guns drawn.

They grabbed Folino out of his bed and arrested him for an allegedly brutal rape of a young woman named Katelyn Webster from nearby Venetia, PA.

It wasn’t just a crime that Folino didn’t commit, however; it was a crime that hadn’t even occurred.

The police had no evidence but the alleged victim Katelyn Webster’s statement.

Katelyn Webster told investigators that Folino had stalked her. Choked her. Raped her. She showed police bruises around her neck.

According to Webster, Folino met her at the South Park Wave Pool, then drive her to a parking lot where he choked and raped her. Webster said he stopped only after they were seen by two of her girlfriends.

Then, said Webster, Folino shoved her from the car and took off.

Webster’s lie was good enough for police. They didn’t try to track down the two supposed witnesses of the crime, because Webster couldn’t “remember” their last names.

Besides, they had the suspect in custody. That’s what mattered. Closing the case.

Folino would sit in jail for months, thinking about the 10 years he would face at trial, until his attorney did detectives’ job for them.

Folino’s attorney, Bill DiFenderfer, hired an investigator who, unlike police, had no trouble tracking down the two alleged witnesses.

According to CBS Pittsburgh:

DiFenderfer said the women refuted the whole story, saying Webster was in a new relationship and didn’t want her father to know. The women said those choke marks on her neck turned out to be from that other boy.

“It came right to light that none of this even happened. They told about sucker bites and none of them were at the wave pool. They were with the alleged victim the night before and she wasn’t even at the wave pool.”

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt, however, rather than admitting any culpability, defended his detectives to reporters.

“They did what they could do in an instance like this,” he said. “We had a girl at the hospital saying she was raped, she had marks around her neck.”

Folino, like anyone unaware of easily how false cases proceed from allegation to arrest to trial, told reporters, “It was scary. I had never been arrested. I’d never been in trouble in that way. But, I figured, I was innocent, so they’re going to figure this out in a day or so and I’m going to be out of here. They’re going to do their job and this is going to be over. But that never happened,” Folino said.

Folino had met Webster just weeks before she accused him. They’d had a brief fling, but he’d decided Webster was not for him.

“I just told her this really wasn’t working out. I didn’t know where it was going and I thought we should move on,” Folino told reporters. “I can’t believe someone would accuse a person of this.”

DiFenderfer also commented on the larger picture, what it means for the accused, and what it means for the victims of actual crimes.

It’s very disappointing to me in these cases that can clearly destroy people’s lives that more isn’t done to investigate it. To me, the public should be aware that this does happen.

And for the women who really are victims, it really hurts their case. To me, that what’s so outrageous about it. It damages the true victims.

Read more at “South Hills Man Wrongfully Arrested For Rape.” CBS Pittsburgh. March 25, 2013 http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2013/03/25/south-hills-man-wrongfully-arrested-for-rape/