The state abruptly dismissed its case
Tuesday against a 26-year-old woman accused of having sex with teenage boys after testimony indicated the defendant may have been gang-raped by the teens
The surprise statements came from the state's first witness
, a 14-year-old girl who said she saw the teens holding the woman down and "taking turns" with her during a party at the woman's home.
"They forced her," the girl testified. "They held her legs down. ... She was saying 'No, get off of me.'"
was originally charged with four felonies, including child molestation and sexual misconduct with a minor, accused of instigating sex acts with as many as six teens
at her Mishawaka home. Authorities said the teens were between 14 and 15, with one being under 14.
After the surprise assertion, the state called a 30-minute recess in the middle of the girl's testimony before announcing a motion to dismiss the case.
The witness' testimony "came as a surprise to me,"
Deputy Prosecutor Liz Hurley told the judge. "It was not what she had said in the past and, in fact, was very, very different."
"In the interest of justice, I don't believe I can pursue this case," Hurley said.
Smith said she had told investigators since the beginning that she had been raped by the young men.
"They didn't believe me,"
Hurley told The Tribune that the statements made on the witness stand had never before been told to investigators and that she had "no idea" why the witness suddenly changed her version of events.
Luber said it was Smith who initially contacted police in September 2009 after realizing her laptop computer had been stolen
. While speaking with police, Smith indicated that a group of teenage boys who had been at her home may have been responsible.
Smith also told officers the teens had raped her.
That report led to a hospital trip and a rape kit being completed, Luber said. The attorney asked jurors to listen closely to the young men expected to testify during the trial and how their version of events changed over time from "nothing ever happened" to "it was consensual" to "she forced us into it."
The state's first witness, who is also a former step-cousin of Smith's, said she had invited the group of boys to Smith's home one night because they were friends of the girl's boyfriend.
The witness said that at first, Smith and the teens were dancing to music when Smith started "nasty dancing" with several of the boys. Smith and the young men then went willingly into the bedroom, the girl testified.
"What happened next, that you could see?" Hurley asked.
"They were starting to take off Sara's clothes," she replied.
"When the three were taking off her clothes, what was Sara doing?"
"She was saying 'No, get off of me. (She was) mad. ...
"Then they switched and took different turns," the witness said. "She was still telling them 'No' and they were telling her to 'Shut up.'"
The witness said Smith later laughed about the incident and spoke about each teen's penis size.
As the night went on, the witness said Smith engaged in sex with two more of the young men at two different times, both times at Smith's request.
Later Tuesday, Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said the 14-year-old witness — who was 13 at the time of the incident — had made a 180-degree turn from her original statements to authorities.
"Either she was not telling the truth to investigators or she was not telling the truth in the courtroom," Dvorak said. "At this point in time, we need to take a step back and re-examine everything while recognizing this (14-year-old's) statements cannot be believed in any further case."
Dvorak said the young teen was a central witness in the case considering she was a third party and had earlier corroborated statements from the group of teens.
The prosecutor said it would have been unethical to continue to try the case after the witness' credibility had been ruined and the assertion made that Smith could have been raped.
Smith, who was free to go after the trial, said she hopes the teens involved will be held accountable for their actions.