Eugene Robinson wants the world to know that he is not a rapist.
Ever since police mistook him for a wanted sex offender in 2008, he’s told anyone who would listen that they have the wrong guy.
Now, after a three-year struggle to clear his name, Robinson, 60, can breathe easier, even chuckle at the horrific mix-up that landed him in jail for a year and prompted his fiancee to leave. Earlier this month, city lawyers admitted that police made a mistake and agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Robinson.
"I’m not an angel," Robinson said. "Don’t claim to be an angel. I’ve done some things, but see, I would never violate a woman. Even in my worst days, I would never violate a woman."
Robinson’s Kafkaesque nightmare began Aug. 4, 2008, when he opened up the Daily News and saw his mugshot under the headline "WEEK’S MOST WANTED."
The blurb stated that Robinson was wanted for allegedly raping a woman while holding a sword to her throat. The U.S. Marshals Service offered a "cash reward" for information leading to his arrest.
"It just blew my mind," Robinson said. "They had some kind of reward and everybody was trying to get it."
His North Philly neighbors pointed at him, and some tried to flag down police. "Yo, there he goes," some yelled. Robinson ducked into an alley. He made his way to his sister’s house, where he began to cry.
"I just started shaking," Robinson said. "I kept on saying, ‘What did I do? Why is this happening?’ "
Robinson and his sister and brother decided to seek help from state Sen. Shirley Kitchen, D-Phila. They drove to her legislative office on Lehigh Avenue near Glenwood; Robinson scooched his head below the window of his sister’s white Jeep.
Kitchen persuaded Robinson to turn himself in.