Charges against 16 defendants have been dropped in a multi-state sex trafficking case involving at St. Paul sergeant who had been put on paid leave amid accusations she "fabricated" testimony.
A Tennessee appeals court found Sgt. Heather Weyker "likely exaggerated or fabricated important aspects" of a victim's story and is accused of lying to a grand jury as the lead investigator in the case. Thirty people were charged, 21 of whom were from the Twin Cities.
Three metro area Somali-Americans were convicted over their involvement and spent four years in prison before they were acquitted last week, and the Star Tribune reports charges against all 16 remaining defendants in the case have now been dropped.
According to WCCO, some of these defendants may file a lawsuit for wrongful detention, while the previous cases in which Sgt. Weyker was involved are now being reviewed by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office.
The Pioneer Press reports Weyker is back working for the department, though in a different capacity than before, and notes St. Paul police have paused an internal investigation into her conduct.
Weyker is said to have spoken regularly with one of the alleged victims, a teenage female, and this led to a story in which she was described in the case as an "innocent child taken in by a Somali gang who used her for sex."
Instead, it emerged she had a history of running away, with MPR reporting one of the men sentenced to prison time in 2010 was in a consensual relationship with the teenager – who was "of age."
Yassin Yusef's lawyer told MPR the woman in question was not a minor, adding: "He did not sex traffic her. They had a consensual relationship with each other."