A man who spent more than three months in jail wrongly accused of raping a two-year-old girl could seek compensation from Northern Territory Police.
Charges have been dropped against the 24-year-old man, a relative of the toddler, who was arrested on the evening of the girl's rape on February 15.
The crime shocked the nation and highlighted social dysfunction, including physical and alcohol abuse among indigenous communities in and around the town of Tennant Creek.
However on Monday, police announced they had charged a second 25-year-old man over the crime with the same charge of sexual intercourse without consent.
Police acting assistant commissioner Tony Fuller defended the police's handling of such a sensitive and serious crime but conceded there could be financial consequences for the man's wrongful arrest.
"It is a possibility, it is up to the individual," Mr Fuller told reporters on Thursday.
Aboriginal man Gene Gibson was awarded a $1.3 million ex-gratia payment by the WA government last month after spending nearly five years in prison after being wrongfully convicted over the death of Joshua Warneke, 21, in Broome.
Mr Fuller denied dropping charges indicated a police bungle or that police had rushed to make the first arrest.
He would not say what had changed in the investigation in relation to evidence or when they had decided the first man to be charged should be released.
"The evidence we had on the night, showed that with this person there was enough prima facie evidence to put the man before the court and that occurred," Mr Fuller said.
"I understand why people are saying that but we stand by our original decision.
"We have since found other evidence and ... another person has been identified."
He said police had not rushed the investigation but said the crime occurred in unusual circumstances because of the attention it attracted.
"This is a complex environment, vulnerable witnesses are involved, persons involved with alcohol, it is not as simple as people think," Mr Fuller said.
He also would not rule out the man who was just released or other people facing charges as the investigation continued.
The two-year-old girl received shocking, violent injuries and was transferred to Alice Springs and then the Adelaide Women's and Children's Hospital for surgery and a blood transfusion.
She was infected with gonorrhoea and given post-exposure HIV medication.
The attack prompted strict alcohol restrictions in Tennant Creek and an investigation by the NT children's commissioner, which found the department failed the child was at "foreseeable risk of harm and that risk could have been managed or mitigated".