Rape Case Dropped Against Ex-Leader of Turks and Caicos

Authorities have dropped a rape case against the former leader of the Turks and Caicos Islands, citing insufficient evidence.

The FBI and local police had launched a 19-month investigation after a Puerto Rican woman claimed Michael Misick raped her in his home last year, but the woman's lack of recollection hindered the case, Attorney General Kurt DeFreitas said late Wednesday.

Legal counsel from London also had reviewed the evidence against the former premier of the British Caribbean territory and recommended the case be dropped, he said.

Misick had denied what he called "outrageous allegations," and accused the woman of filing a false complaint against him after visiting his home in March 2008.

He could not be reached for comment Thursday.

In an interview with the Turks & Caicos Sun newspaper published on its Web site Thursday, he was quoted as saying that the allegations are "all part of a wider conspiracy to tarnish my name and to bring down my government."

Misick resigned in March amid a corruption investigation that prompted Britain to place the islands under direct rule.

British legislators have said they received claims that Misick and four other government officials had gotten rich by selling government-owned land to property developers.

They issued a report stating that there was a "palpable climate of fear" in the Turks and Caicos, where residents complained of rampant corruption and suppression of freedom of speech.

In August, Britain suspended the government and legislature and installed a London-appointed governor.