Trisha Meili came out in 2003 and publicly announced that she was the Central Park jogger, known for being raped and brutalized in 1989, almost losing her life in the process. Meili’s identity remained anonymous for 14 years; during those 14 years, the Central Park Five were arrested and wrongfully convicted for her rape and assault. In 2002, a year before Meili spoke out publicly to confirm her identity, Matias Reyes (a serial rapist) admitted to the crime.
Meili has said she has no memory of the night she was raped. Following the brutality, she was hospitalized. She was 28 years old at the time, and weighed less than 100 pounds. She was in a coma for 12 days before finally waking up, against all medical odds.
Today, Meili is a motivational speaker. Here’s what you need to know:
Meili Is Now a Motivational Speaker & Published Author
Meili is now a motivational speaker who travels around the world to tell her story. She reportedly received a $500,000 book deal for her memoir, according to The New York Times.
At the time of the attack, Meili was an investment banker working at Salomon Brothers. She did return to work there following her release from the hospital, but only in an administrative capacity. Refinery29 reports that Meili left Salomon Brothers in 1998, nine years after the incident.
Meili is a graduate of Yale Business School. She is married to Jim Schwarz, her husband of 22 years.
Meili Said It Was ‘Her Choice’ to Reveal Her Identity
In 2009, Meili spoke to The New York Times about her choice to finally go public with her identity in 2003. She said in part,
In the end, it didn’t matter, but there was a little bit of that feeling, ‘Hey, that’s my story.’ The media keeping my anonymity is something that I do appreciate. I was known as the Central Park jogger, and when I told my story it was my choice. That was a degree of control that I had completely lost with the attack and the rape. When I’d meet someone it’s not like I would say, ‘Hi, I’m the Central Park jogger.’ It’s kind of a conversation stopper. I decided to share my story because I had a real sense that sharing the story would help other people. That’s the message I’ve gotten, that sharing has given them hope.
Meili has repeatedly said that she has no memory of the attack in 1989. She said to The New York Times in 2009, “From about 5 p.m. that evening, the last thing I remember was a call at work. After that, I have no memory of the next six weeks.” She explained, “The memory isn’t there. It’s like when you have film in the camera. If you expose the film by opening the camera, the photos are gone.”
However, following Reyes’ admission that he had raped her alone, and that the Central Park Five were determined completely innocent of the crime, Meili did relay her skepticism that only one person was involved in the attack against her.
To 20/20 in 2019, Meili said she “so wished” the case with the Central Park Five hadn’t been settled out of court. She explained,
“I wish that it had gone to court because there’s a lot of information that’s now being released that I’m seeing for the first time. I support the work of law enforcement and prosecutors. … They treated me with such dignity and respect.”
Meili also acknowledged that she saw the taped confessions of members of the Central Park Five, who have since maintained they were coerced into the confessions by the police. She said, “It is very, very hard watching someone describe how people beat me, how people were trying to stop my screaming by beating my face.”
As for Reyes’ confession, she said,
“I always knew that there was at least one more person involved because there was unidentified DNA. So when I heard the news that there was an additional person found whose DNA matched, that wasn’t a tremendous surprise. But when he said that he and he alone had done it, that’s when some of the turmoil started, wondering ‘Well, how can that be?'”