"They claim there's no admission of liability," Rudovsky said. "We claim that, essentially, the money speaks for itself."
Godschalk, 43, who now lives and works as a landscaper in South Carolina, continues to pursue claims against the detectives who took his confession, the settlement states.
Godschalk will receive payment for "damages received on account of personal and physical injuries or physical sickness" arising from his being charged, convicted and incarcerated between 1986 and 2002.
Rudovsky said the Oct. 2 settlement with Montgomery County satisfied Godschalk.
"He thought it vindicated his position with respect to his claim against the Office of the District Attorney and the county," Rudovsky said.
Rudovsky called the dismissal of Castor from the lawsuit "normal" when a case is settled. Though named as a defendant, Castor was under the legal principle of qualified immunity, giving him protection from a claim so long as he acted within the proper scope of his office.
"We couldn't sue him individually," Rudovsky said. "We sued his office and the county, and the county is paying the settlement."
Castor said yesterday that he was only doing his job as district attorney.
"I maintained all along that the allegations against me and the D.A.'s Office were without merit, and the judge and Godschalk apparently now agree," Castor said.
The county's insurance company, Lloyd's of London, will pay the claim, county solicitor Richard Winters said. The county has $1 million in coverage under the policy, he said.
Godschalk was a landscaper living in Radnor when two women were raped at the Kingswood apartment complex in Upper Merion in 1986. Acting on a tip from Godschalk's sister, Upper Merion Police Detectives Bruce Saville and Michael Karcewski picked up Godschalk for questioning. After questioning, Godschalk made a 33-minute audio recording in which he confessed to the rapes. He was convicted in May 1987 and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison.
Godschalk maintained his innocence. He asked the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City to represent him in 1997.
The Innocence Project uses DNA testing - not available at the time of Godschalk's conviction - to produce postconviction evidence that proves innocence.
But getting prosecutors to agree to DNA testing sparked a legal fight. Godschalk filed suit in 2000 in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to force Castor, who was not involved in his original prosecution, to have DNA testing done. Castor refused, citing Godschalk's confession. A federal judge ordered the testing in November 2001.
Godschalk walked out of prison on Valentine's Day 2002.
In September 2002, Godschalk filed a civil-rights lawsuit. The federal suit claimed that Saville and Karcewski used "trickery and deceit" to coerce Godschalk into confessing to the attacks. It also accused the District Attorney's Office of refusing for three years to release DNA evidence that ultimately exonerated Godschalk.
Contact staff writer Keith Herbert at 610-313-8007 or email@example.com.