For a while, Stalin Felipe thought his life was over.
Falsely accused by a college freshman of being one of five men who she said tied her down and gang-raped her at Hofstra University in New York, Felipe was being held on half a million dollars bail and facing countless years behind bars if convicted of a heinous crime he knew he didn't commit.
Felipe, 19, is in the clear now, as are the four other men Danmell Ndonye, an 18-year-old student, said had raped her in a dorm at the university's Hempstead campus on Long Island.
Ndonye confessed to police late on Wednesday that she made the whole story up after a cell phone video surfaced showing her involved in consensual sex with several men in a bathroom in the dorm.
But for Felipe, being accused and arrested was a harrowing experience, and he is not keeping quiet about it. In an exclusive interview with FOXNews.com, he described his time in prison, his feelings upon being wrongly suspected of a terrible crime, and his thoughts on the woman who falsely accused him.
On Sunday morning, Felipe said, he left a party at Hofstra and went home to the Bronx to hang out with his girlfriend. That evening, he said, he saw police outside his apartment building.
"I went out to get food. I come back, and I'm being handcuffed," Felipe told FOXNews.com.
It was not until he was sitting in the back of a Nassau County police car, surrounded by officers, that he began to get an idea of what he had been accused of.
"They are asking me, 'Was there rope? Was there rope?' But they're being indirect, so I'm not really sure what they mean," Felipe said.
He was taken to prison, where he and his 20-year-old brother, Kevin Taveras — another suspect named by Ndonye — were held on $500,000 bail each.
"I was devastated. At first I kept thinking 'we'll get through this,' but then it just kept getting worse -- saying we raped her, then that there was rope," Felipe told FOXNews.com.
"And I know no one's going to pay one million dollars," he said, referring to the bond. "We're looking at at least six to eight months due to the trial."
Being in prison was like being "in a cage," Felipe said. But the worst part was being perceived as a monster when he knew the truth.
"It seems more like you're guilty until proven innocent," Felipe told FOXNews.com.
"Our names were tarnished. We were rapists, we were dirt, we were dogs.
"We weren't even suspects. We were rapists."
As for the 18-year-old freshman who accused him of being a rapist, Felipe had very little to say.
"I don't know her from a hole in the wall," he said. "I found out her name today from the newspapers. If she didn't know there was a video out there, she wouldn't have cared. She would have let us rot in jail."
Felipe said he cannot provide many details of the night the incident occurred, due to an ongoing investigation. Authorities have said they are considering filing charges against Ndonye.
But on a few key facts, he is adamant. Felipe insists he did not have sex with Ndonye, he did not touch her, and he had nothing to do with videotaping her sexual encounter.
"I grew up in an all-women household — my mom, my sisters, my grandma. They would never raise me to treat a woman like that," Felipe said. "It really hurt. I treat all women with respect."
Felipe admits he had at least one thing to be grateful for throughout his ordeal.
"I want to thank God that I was with my brother. He was with me in there."
Now that both he and his brother have been cleared of charges, Felipe is enjoying his freedom. "I'm home now," he said, with a smile.