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Threesome sex assault charges against Manhattan couple mysteriously dropped

A Manhattan couple accused of sexually assaulting a woman during a group sex encounter at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, last year have been vindicated, as prosecutors abruptly dropped the charges last week.

According to the Daily News, Summit County prosecutors said they dropped the charges against Anne Hardcastle and her boyfriend Michael Taylor on May 4. The couple had been accused of plying a woman into a very rough threesome with booze and ecstasy and assaulting her during the sex act.

“The state filed a motion to dismiss in light of evidentiary issues that have recently arisen in the case,” Summit County, Utah, prosecutors said in a statement. “Based on those evidentiary issues, the State does not believe that there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction if the case were to proceed to trial.”

The prosecutors did not specify what “evidentiary issues” had caused them to lose confidence in the possibility of a conviction.

Hardcastle and Taylor have insisted on their innocence since they were first charged in September, based on the alleged victim’s account given to police and some incriminating text messages Hardcastle allegedly sent to the accuser during a period when police advised the 25-year-old woman to stay in contact with her alleged assailants in order to get a clearer picture of what happened the night she claimed to have blacked out.

The woman reportedly told police that she met the couple at a Park City bar, and they invited her to join them at a festival afterparty. On the way, they reportedly said they had to stop by their hotel room; there, they allegedly fed her more alcohol, gave her ecstasy, and suggested the three of them have sex. The woman said she blacked out before the sex took place, and went to the hospital the next day, after waking up next to Hardcastle.

Both Hardcastle and Taylor were charged with object rape and forcible sexual abuse, and Taylor faced an additional charge of forcible sodomy, according to the Daily News. 

Taylor was fired from his job at a Manhattan private equity firm immediately after his arrest, and the couple was extradited to Utah to be arraigned. They were each required to relinquish their passports as a condition of bail release.

The couple released a statement Wednesday, describing their arrests and the aftermath as a “nightmare concocted by an individual and the representatives of the State of Utah and Summit County.”

 “Sadly this is a nightmare that should never have happened if both law enforcement and the judicial process had properly assessed the facts and acted in a manner consistent with the truth.”
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