The allegations in the case that were brought by Madam X, and have changed over time - first abduction, rape and sodomy; then unlawful imprisonment, assault and sexual abuse; and then finally kidnapping, sodomy, sexual abuse and assault. This inconsistency is troubling, and suggests that instead of examining the allegations closely, the DA's office has simply thrown as many serious allegations they can at Jovanovic.
Based on comments made by a homicide detective and the presence of homicide detectives during the search of Jovanovic's apartment, it appears that Madam X either expressly or implicitly implied that Jovanovic was a serial killer. Law enforcement sources said cops seized material found in Jovanovic's refrigerator and freezer for testing (NY Post, 12/8/96), a totally fictitious claim. The DA's office has not pursued the murder allegations further, presumably because of their utter absurdity and lack of proof or evidence. However, they have enthusiastically and blindly pursued the equally absurd accusations of kidnapping and sexual assault, for which proof or evidence were equally lacking.
At the outset of the case, few facts were available. The DA's office refused to make information available to the defense, despite repeated promises to do so. The little available information came from the media:
A neighbor living directly below Jovanovic's Washington Heights apartment said he heard nothing alarming the night the assault allegedly occurred. "I never heard anything resembling fighting or yelling, and I can hear people talking through these walls. No one ever cried for help," he said (NY Post, 12/7/96).
Days after her encounter with Oliver Jovanovic, a Barnard student described it to a close friend as merely "kinky" and "weird," The Post has learned. The friend said the woman came to decide she had been a victim of sexual torture, and not just sexual play, during two weeks of soul-searching. The sex was "kinky," and "weird," the victim told her friend - sounding like she wanted to shrug it off. A few days later (over Thanksgiving) The victim said her encounter with Jovanovic was gnawing at her. The friend told her she should see a counselor and call the police (NY Post, 12/13/96).
Despite the hysterical claims of Linda Fairstein, the lead prosecutor: "He terrorized this young woman to the point that she was too frightened to call the authorities until weeks after it happened," (NY Post, 12/8/96), there is no evidence that Madam X was in any way terrorized, nor did she ever mention anything of the sort to her close friends before making her accusations.
After bringing the charges, Madam X told a friend that she "escaped" when Mr. Jovanovic untied her to give her a lesson in martial arts so that she could defend herself against attackers (NY Times, 12/16/96). How reasonable does this scenario sound?
It seems more likely that Madam X had not experienced rejection before. This might explain why, two weeks later, Madam X would approach police making claims that Jovanovic kidnapped her, sexually assaulted her, and was a serial killer. Rather than stop and carefully consider the charges, the person making the charges, and the person being charged, the lead prosecutor, Linda Fairstein, saw a chance to score with the media, and proceeded to blindly perpetrate a gross injustice. Linda Fairstein's political ambitions are well known in the NYC area, and it may be that she saw the accusations as a perfect vehicle for them. On closer consideration, this case may prove to be her political ruin, particularly when taxpayers come to realize exactly how much of their time and money she has spent prosecuting someone innocent of the absurd charges she and her office brought.
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