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What was the Chery Araujo case? What is the true story behind the sex allegation?

Cheryl Ann Araujo, a New Bedford, Massachusetts, American woman who was gang-raped in a town tavern by four men in 1983 at the age of 21, while other side-walkers supposedly attended but did not intervene. Her case then became national news, which brought extensive attention to the media coverage of cases of rape.

What was the Araujo case?

Chery Araujo

In 2020, the Araujo case was featured as an event in the Netflix documentary show Trial by Media; the episode “Big Dan’s” traverses the effects of the trial’s reporting on Cheryl Araujo, the culture of New Bedford and American society at large.

Over the past few years, Americans have been involved with the new understanding of the existence of sexual violation and the different ways in which it is possible to revictimize survivors who warn officials or go public with their accounts. But it is not the first time these high-profile rape allegations have rebuilt the perception of assault by the country.

The first court case of its kind to be televised even before the Harvey Weinstein and Brock Turner cases, the trial of Cheryl’s rapists, turned out to be national news. This has now been re-examined in Trial By Media, Netflix’s true crime anthology.

What has happened to her?

Chery Araujo

When my brother saw this girl run out of the bar and run up the street, I was slumped against the glass. He yelled to us, “Naked girl on the street, naked girl on the street,” Dan O’Neill told The Herald News in 2009. “I thought to myself, yeah right. But there she stood in front of the cart like a deer in the headlights.”

Four guys, Daniel Silva, John Cordeiro, and Victor Raposo, Joseph Vieira, were indicted later that month for assaulting Cheryl Araujo. Two others who were in the bar that evening were accused of being accessories to the attack of Virgilio Medeiros (who are not related) and Jose Medeiros. They were tasked with aiding the rapist and stopping the bartender from intruding. In March 1984, at trial, the four accused of raping Cheryl were convicted. He was then sentenced to six to 12 years in prison. The Medeiros were vindicated there.

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