Attorney for alleged 2021 rape victim of Cleotha Abston Henderson speaks on suit against City of Memphis

The attorney for Alicia Franklin, who claims to have been raped by Cleotha Abston Henderson in...
The attorney for Alicia Franklin, who claims to have been raped by Cleotha Abston Henderson in Sept. of 2021 and has since filed suit against the City of Memphis, says the city's negligence in testing his client's rape kit cost the life of Eliza Fletcher.(WMC)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 6:32 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -On Tuesday, Alicia Franklin, the woman who has alleged to be the 2021 rape victim of Cleotha Abston Henderson, filed suit against the City of Memphis for failing to investigate her 2021 case and subsequently failing to prevent the death of Eliza Fletcher.

According to the suit, Franklins says the results of her rape kit were not finished until 11 months after the evidence was obtained.

Wednesday, exactly one year after Franklin’s alleged rape, her attorney Jeff Rosenblum walked us through the process of the filing, saying the reasons for the suit are obvious.

“When (Franklin) found out that it took a year and that the man that did this horrible crime to her had hurt another person and killed another person, she was so upset, and she was outraged by the delay in processing her rape kit,” Rosenblum said.

The Memphis attorney said Franklin sought him out last week for counsel and that he was moved by his now client’s story.

“She’s heartbroken for the Fletcher family,” said Rosenblum. “She is upset that her courage was disrespected... her courage on the day it happened to call the authorities and subject herself to an evaluation and examination where an assault rape kit was obtained. Her courage was not rewarded with prompt attention to this rape.”

The charge for the alleged 2021 rape came just days after Abston Henderson was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Eliza Fletcher.

Rosenblum said the negligence of Memphis Police cost Fletcher her life.

“Obviously, had (Abston Henderson) been arrested for this crime, having the past criminal history that he has with prior violent felonies, he would be in custody,” Rosenblum said. “He wouldn’t have been on the streets of Memphis at 4:20 a.m. on September 2. I think it’s not ‘what if?’ but that it’s definite Eliza Fletcher would not be dead.”

What’s more, is a second lawsuit has been filed against the ownership and management of The Lakes at Ridgeway apartment complex in Southeast Memphis, which is the same complex where Abston Henderson was taken into custody during the Fletcher investigation.

Rosenblum said the complex lacked the surveillance and the security needed to prevent Abston Henderson from, according to the lawsuit, setting up shop in a vacant apartment where he would later hold Franklin at gunpoint and rape her shortly after.

The City of Memphis and the Memphis Police Department have issued “no comment” on the pending litigation.

Rosenblum says he and his client are at the mercy of whichever judge presides over this case as far as setting a court date, but he says it could very well be 18 months to two years before we see the case go to trial.

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