Woman who wrongly ID’d Richmond man as rapist now on mission

RICHMOND, Va. — The woman who mistakenly identified a Richmond man as her rapist — putting him behind bars for 27 years — spoke with CBS 6 News for the first time Wednesday.

Thomas Haynesworth, who was 18 when Janet Burk identified him as her attacker, was convicted in 1984. He remained in prison until DNA evidence helped exonerate him in 2011.

Now he’s coming together with his former accuser to advocate for victims who mistakenly identify their attackers.

“We would definitely like to bring awareness to mistaken identity so this doesn`t happen to others in the future,” Burik said. “I think so many people think, ‘Well, that was 30 years ago. This doesn`t happen now, DNA is perfect.’ That`s not true. I definitely didn`t know this until three years ago when all of this happened.”

Haynesworth said there is room for forgiveness.

“They were victims,” Haynesworth said. “They made honest mistakes. Not intentionally done. Over the years I’ve had time to reflect… I hold no grudge or hard feelings to none of the victims.”

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli advocated for Haynesworth’s release and gave him a job in the AG’s office where he still works today.

23 comments

    • Robbie

      Ken Macaroni only did his job for once. The rest of the time he was filing frivolous lawsuits and taking bribes , I mean gifts from Bozo Bob & Ms. Beverley Hills boyfriend. Best you bash your hero before moving on to his replacement that has done nothing wrong.

  • Timmy McFadden

    She made a false allegation and ruined his life. I’m not surprised. Women make false allegations most of the time.

  • kelly

    yeah, she blamed the first black man she could. practically drew one from a hat. not surprised. thats how some white people are. she couldnt have been any more selfish.

    • mike

      YES…She is the femail version of clayton (the guy on here that speaks his mind through a keyboard but wont bust a grape for real)

    • Amber

      Really Kelly? I’m sure you know that because you where there, right? You sound real ignorant. The article does state that “they where victims” so that means more than n one accused him. Anyone of then could’ve been black. Regardless of color she stood up and apologized. Said she was wrong. He holds no hard feelings so why should you?

      • kimberly

        Yes, she is sorry now that DNA proved what she did. She accused someone and wasnt sure if it was them or now. If not for the DNA test, this man will still be living a limited life because of her negligence. She knows she wasnt sure but she didnt care. She just wanted someone to pay. Now that DNA testing exposed her, she is sorry. If she was really sorry, she would have came out and said she wasnt sure years ago!!!!

      • mike

        It does not say there were victims. I see you have no reading comprehension. He was accused of raping THIS woman; not of multiple rapes. It says “Now he’s coming together with his former accuser to advocate for victims who mistakenly identify their attackers.” Meaning they are going to advocate for other people like this woman who have mistakenly (I use that term loosely) identified their attackers.

      • H. Ann

        We can’t have one story without some ignorant uneducated idiot making a racist remark. If that person knew that this lady was 1 of the victims who was told the other 4 BLACK women picked him out of a line up then maybe she wouldn’t have put her foot in her mouth.

  • KB

    If Hayenworth doesn’t hold a grudge and offers forgiveness, why are some of you on here holding a grudge and so negative about something that didn’t happen to you

  • deborah ripley

    THESE COMMENTS R INSANE>>>SIMPLE<SHE WAS YOUNG<DONT KNOW THE STORY BUT SHE CAME TOGETHER TO MAKE IT RIGHT<STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT ANTHING OTHER<IF THIS MAN CAN $GIVE WHO R U?REALLY?

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