Long Beach school district wins $2.6M in false rape case
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Long Beach Unified School District has won a $2.6 million default judgment against a woman who falsely accused a former high school football star of rape that landed him in jail.
The judgment recoups a $750,000 settlement paid to Wanetta Gibson and also includes attorneys’ fees, interest and $1 million in punitive damages, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. Court records show the judgment was filed earlier this week.
Gibson’s whereabouts aren’t known. The ruling allows the school district to get the money through her future wages and property.
“The court recognizes that our school district was a victim in this case,” said Long Beach Unified Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. “This judgment demonstrates that when people attempt to defraud our school system, they will feel the full force of the law.”
Gibson was 15 when she accused Brian Banks of attacking her on campus. He insisted the sexual contact with Gibson was consensual, but pleaded no contest to forcible rape and spent more than five years in prison.
After he got out of prison, Gibson reached out to him on Facebook and later met with him where she said she had lied about the rape and offered to help him clear his name.
At another meeting, Gibson was secretly videotaped by a private investigator and she told Banks, “I will go through with helping you, but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back.”
The tape ultimately led to Banks’ exoneration in May 2012.
Banks, once a star middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, said he had verbally agreed to attend USC on a scholarship when he was arrested.
He has signed a contract to play with the Atlanta Falcons.