WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – An award-winning National Guard sergeant who was falsely accused of kidnapping and raping a woman in Northern Colorado says the last nine months have been a walking nightmare.
Dustin Toth, 26, of Windsor, has been exonerated, but not before losing his job and nearly losing his military career.
A Weld County jury on Thursday convicted Katherine Bennett, 21, of the false rape report that she filed in November. Bennett had accused Toth of kidnapping her at knifepoint in Windsor. She claimed that he drugged her, held her captive and sexually assaulted her.
What actually happened on that night, Toth says, was a consensual night with a woman he thought was a friend.
“It was a pretty low moment. I really wanted to throw myself off a cliff,” said Toth, who could have spent his life behind bars if he had been convicted of the charges he faced. He had a clean record up to that point.
Toth said the situation alienated him from his family, cost him two jobs and prevented him from getting an apartment at one point.
“Somebody turned my whole world upside down, quite literally,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to stay in a hole, but each day I somehow gain the strength to get outside my door, get on the Internet, and look for a job.
Now that his accuser has been convicted, Toth is hoping to move on with his life.
“I stuck with what I know, and that’s what keeps me going, is the truth,” Toth said.
Bennett is scheduled for a sentencing hearing in October. CBS4’s calls requesting an interview with her were not returned.
Toth said he is trying hard to forgive her, but that “it’s very hard to do.”