DECAPITATED guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka says that he and his bandmates are "ready to return," two months after all rape and kidnapping charges against were dropped against them in Spokane County.
Less than two weeks before the Polish death metal musicians were scheduled to go on trial in January for allegedly kidnapping and raping a woman on their tour bus four months earlier, Spokane County prosecutor Kelly Fitzgerald filed a motion dismissing all rape and kidnapping charges. The motion cited "the well being of the victim" as a reason for dropping the charges without prejudice, meaning the four members of DECAPITATED could be prosecuted in the future.
Defense attorneys questioned the credibility of the accuser, who in 2014 admitted to lying to police about injuries she sustained during an assault, when her boyfriend was accused of stabbing three people. It was later determined that she was actually injured by her boyfriend during a previous argument.
In a new statement posted on the DECAPITATED Facebook page, Kiełtyka once again proclaimed his band's innocence and insisted that they will "never accept someone else's narration about who we are."
The guitarist wrote: "We are innocent. We are free. We are back home. And we are ready to return with the band.
"The last few months were one of the most terrible and irrational times in our lives.
"Jail is a horrible place. 96 days in jail and almost a month outside the jail where we dealing with fear, unbelievable stress, depression, and even violence. It was a really hard time — especially for our families.
"Being in jail in another country with charges that became a criminal case is an extreme experience. We do not wish this on anyone. It caused ourselves and our families many stressful days and sleepless nights. The cancelled tour meant loss of the income we use to support ourselves and our families, but worst of all, it cost us our professional reputation in a community we have loved and been members of all of our lives.
"Unfortunately, while we were jailed, we could not communicate with the outside world, leaving our fans and our metal community to read many news stories and posts on social media that contained inaccurate information because there were no direct statements from us, the band, the ones in the middle of all of this. We ourselves could not report on how the situation was unfolding. This led people who were so shocked by the news to make untrue narrations. Without walking our experience with us, they felt obligated to comment on our case and blamed us, without even knowing the facts that said something opposite. They came to a very fast opinion about us in a very public way.
"In this Internet age, it is really easy to ruin someone, their life, their family, their career. Some media and people just jumped on a topic and made their own inconsistent storytelling, taking one piece of information and creating a story they wanted to tell about us around it.
"For those who do not know yet: Our case was dropped. All charges against all members were dropped.
"Words hurt. Words matter. Truth matters.
"Does sexual harassment happen and do crimes against women exist? Yes, and it is horrible.
"Do false accusations happen? Yes, this really happens. And it is also horrible.
"Many people are falsely accused every day and the metal community is not immune. Unfortunately, it happened to us. People with their own motivations who falsely accuse someone don't seem to understand they can ruin somebody's life without facing any public consequences themselves. A false accusation can change a life in one moment. One day, everything is normal. Then the next day, you wake up in jail with a police record. You are marked, stigmatized while waiting to see how things unfold, even if the charges are not true. And then, when it’s all over, it is not a 'hot topic' on the Internet anymore. Not many people spend time on social media to spread the truth, not many people even care what the truth was. It is hard to feel relief when this happens.
"We cannot and we will never accept someone else's narration about who we are. That is why we have chosen to return with the band. We know who we are and we can hold our heads and our music high with that knowledge.
"I want to thank all of you — families, friends, other bands, and our amazing fans — for your belief in us and your support throughout a horrible situation. Our incredible lawyers, Steve Graham, Karren Lindholdt, Chris Bugbee, Jeffry Finner, and all the teams who stood by us — our management and our label. It's priceless to see that we have so many people who were, are, and will be, with us. You know who you are.
"I also want to thank Mr. Dominik Tarczynski from the Polish Parliament who visited us in Spokane and checked if our human rights were protected during the whole process, for supporting our families from the beginning. It means a lot more than words can express.
"There will be more time in the future to talk about the path of our return, but now the most important thing for us is to get back to our lives, to return to the people and places and things that had been taken from us, to return to what became even more precious to us while we were away.
"We are eager to get our lives back and we are grateful for the opportunity.
"We are really sorry we were forced to cancel tours and festivals, but we will work very hard to bring all plans back to meet with all of you again, our community.
"'From Pain To Strength' is still a valid motto.
"Thank you, everyone, for your patience."
The woman alleged she was gang-raped by the musicians in their tour bus bathroom after DECAPITATED's August 31 concert with THY ART IS MURDER at The Pin concert venue in downtown Spokane as part of the two bands' "Double Homicide" tour. The woman said entered the bus for drinks with the band before each member forced themselves on her.
Deputies later stated the victim had "significant bruising to her upper arms consistent with being restrained" and "small abrasions on her knuckles that were scabbed over."
Andy Marsh, a member of THY ART IS MURDER, provided testimony for the defense, saying he saw the woman violently dancing in the mosh pit in front of the stage. "She was smashing her hands, arms and body against the metal barricade between the audience and the stage," he said in the court documents.
All four members of DECAPITATED were arrested on September 9 in Santa Ana, California after performing at the Observatory. They were held in Los Angeles County Jail before being extradited to Spokane.