Jurors in the New York state Supreme Court deliberated for four hours before finding Mark Hartle, 29, not guilty of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse. Hartle was accused of a gang rape in a restaurant bar in upstate New York the night of October 26, 1991 and had pled guilty to lesser charges in 1993 after admitting having sexual intercourse with the 22-year-old woman who was unconscious from alcohol. Fines and court costs for each of the four men pleading guilty amounted to $840 with no jail time, infuriating women's rights advocates. Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994 superseded the district attorney and appointed the state attorney general as special prosecutor. Dennis C. Vacco, successor to former attorney general G. Oliver Koppell, still wants to try the other defendants on felony charges.
Media Resources: The Nando Times and New York Times News Service - March 26, 1996