Decapitated are now free men. (CW: rape and sexual assault).
Unless you’ve been living under a very big rock over the past few days, then there’s been some major movements regarding the court case of Decapitated: the Polish death metal band have had all charges of rape and kidnapping against them dropped. (Please note: all charges were dropped, the band were not acquitted).
All four members of Decapitated – Rafal Piotrowski, 31, Waclaw Kieltika, 35, Mikola Lysejko, 27, and Hubert Wiecek, 30 – have had the gang rape charges against them dropped without prejudice, due to the “wellbeing of the victim” and “in the interest of justice”. Because of this, Piotrowski, Kieltika, Lysejko and Wiecek are now be permitted to return to Poland after being detained in Spokane, Washington since September after having all of their passports being revoked, spending a month in jail, and awaiting the trial in the U.S. since December 13th.
Piotrwoski’s lawyer, Jeffry Finer, has stated that “A close review of the evidence is all it took. We are not criticising the county for moving slow. It just took a long time to get all of the evidence, all of the witnesses, and there were so many witnesses”.
For those who don’t know, the technical death metal band were arrested on September 9th with all four members being accused of first-degree kidnapping and that of gang-raping a fan on their tour bus in Spokane, Washington.
Originally, the band’s accuser alleges that she and a friend were invited onto Decapitated’s tour bus after their concert in Spokane on August 31st. The woman alleges that drummer Lysejko groped her breast, making her feel uncomfortable, so she gestured to her friend that they should leave. However, after she went to the bathroom, she was allegedly followed into the bathroom by the band members where she claimed that she was raped against the sink. The woman’s friend alleges that she saw the alleged rape happen, and claims that she was left with bruising after being pushed to the floor by Piotrowski for refusing oral sex. After calling 911, the woman was later picked up two miles from the venue by which the time the band’s tour bus had already left. Police noted the woman had “significant bruising to her upper arms consistent with being restrained” and “small abrasions to her knuckles that were scabbed over” when she was picked up.
All four men denied these charges and pleaded not guilty throughout this entire saga, with their lawyer Steven Graham stating that “the original officer who took the complaint from the accuser stated, ‘I do not have probable cause that a rape occurred.'” The lawyer also stated that “The accuser has a documented history of providing false information to the police dating back to 2014.” (Now, we’ve seen this statement used many times but have yet to see any references or supporting links provided in the wide coverage of this story that fully proves she indeed lied to police dating back to 2014. If we find anything regarding that aspect, we will update this article accordingly).
The band themselves issued this statement online when the news first broke:
“All charges against Decapitated have formally been dropped. Arrested September 8 in Santa Ana whilst on tour, the members of the band were jailed until December where they were released on their own recognizance.
“New evidence arose that helped show that the band was innocent. While a trial would have given the band the opportunity to have all this evidence heard, the band welcome the decision and are excited to return back to their homes in Poland.
“The members of Decapitated – Wacław, Rafal, Michał and Hubert – send a sincere and heartfelt thanks to all who supported them during this difficult time, including fans, friends, and family.”
However, according to U.S. journalist Jonathan Glover – who was covering the story closely for The Spokesman-Review – Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald’s motion to drop all rape and kidnapping charges without prejudice does mean that the four men may very well be prosecuted in the future. With Glover also reporting that:
“On Friday – 11 days before the Jan. 16 trial date – Spokane County prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion dropping all rape and kidnapping charges without prejudice, meaning the four men could be prosecuted in the future. The motion cites “the well being of the victim” and “in the interest of justice” as a reason for dismissal.“
Explaining her decision further, Fitzgerald said of the accuser that: “This has been traumatising to her. It’s obviously something that is a multiple defender case, and it would be a lengthy trial. We’ve discussed with her and her advocates and feel at this time it’s best for her to heal”.
[If you look at practically any social media post about this topic or in the comments on other sites or on other threads, you’ll find a vast amount of slut-shaming and victim-blaming dating right back to the very first news of the band being charged].
A trial for the four-piece Polish death metal band had been scheduled for January 16th at the Spokane County Superior Court, but the case has been dropped for the foreseeable future. So whether or not this case continues at a later date remains to be seen.
Either way, Decapitated’s reputation will have been largely damaged by this – whether they actually committed these crimes or not – and we feel it’s safe to say that the group will most likely never tour America again.