Caroline Neal was sentenced Monday to one year of probation for her role in a case that brought allegations of rape against her and her ex-husband, lawyer Joe
Caroline Neal, 24, pleaded guilty to furnishing alcohol to a person younger than 21 and was sentenced as a first offender, meaning the charge will effectively be taken off her record if she successfully completes probation.
“The salacious conduct used in … this case has caused quite a bit of scandal, and I’m sure it’s brought shame and disgust to you,” Superior Court Judge James Blanchard said.
A baby sitter, who was 18 at the time of the Dec. 16 incident, accused the Neals of forcing her into a sexual situation at their home on Kings Way. The Neals and the teenager were drinking wine and smoking marijuana at the time.
There was no physical evidence of rape, however, and the accuser exchanged sexually explicit text messages with Joe Neal the day afterward.
The prosecution conceded at Joe Neal’s trial last month that the evidence was tenuous
and negotiated a plea bargain after the first morning of testimony.
Caroline Neal spoke with a Richmond County sheriff’s investigator after the teenager contacted law enforcement. But she later changed her statement and denied that rape ever occurred.
She was scheduled to testify at her ex-husband’s trial as a witness for the state, but Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Fogus said the differing accounts she gave police would have weakened her testimony.
Joe Neal received three years’ probation and community service for three misdemeanor charges, with the rape charge dropped.
Caroline Neal’s rape charge was also dropped as part of the plea bargain.