Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jogger made up rape story, newspaper uses lie as occasion for fear-mongering about rape

Thank goodness for lies about rape -- they serve as important reminders about rape. Right.

BELLINGHAM — A woman who told police a stranger attacked, abducted and raped her during a morning run near Little Squalicum Beach, Washington last month fabricated the story, police said Wednesday. The woman, who had recently moved to Bellingham, told police she was running on a trail near the beach March 2 when someone attacked her from behind, put a bag over her head, threw her to the ground and kicked her head and body. She then said she was put in a car, raped and later dumped.

During more than six weeks of police investigation, detectives began to question the story’s veracity for several reasons, said Bellingham Police Deputy Chief Flo Simon. Results from a rape exam that came back from a state lab last week showed no indication that the woman was raped, Simon said. An extensive search of the area by crime scene investigators, police explorers and search dogs discovered no evidence that a crime occurred. Simon said officers would expect to find some sign of a struggle, such as displaced items or drag marks, in addition to the victim’s scent, blood or items used in the crime. Physical evidence, including the bag found on the woman’s head and a zip tie she was holding, were sent to a state crime lab but showed no DNA other than the woman’s, Simon said. Three independent search dogs were unable to find her scent in the area she said she had run, Chief Todd Ramsay said in a release. The dogs did, however, find her scent at the roadside ditch at the dead end of Cherry Street, where she told police she was dumped after the attacker drove her there in a vehicle. The dogs were taken to three spots to track from: the ditch; the spot where she said she was attacked and abducted; and her house, where she left from that day to go jogging. The dogs could trace scents only from the house to the ditch, Simon said. Hospital staff told police that the woman’s injuries, which were superficial, did not match the violent attack she described. Simon said the woman’s wounds may have been self inflicted. Ramsay said the woman “has significant needs.”

Simon would not comment on the woman’s mental state. Police took the woman into protective custody Wednesday morning. That process, used when people are considered a danger to themselves or others, includes a mental health evaluation. The woman still believes she was assaulted, Simon said, adding that it remains unclear what happened that day. Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney Dave McEachran said he does not plan to press charges against her.
“We’re trying to focus on getting her the care that she needs,” Simon said. The woman does not have a criminal record and has not made a report like this before, Simon said.

A false report of sexual assault is extremely rare in Whatcom County, McEachran said. Police clocked more than 100 hours of overtime — totaling about $7,000 — in the days following the alleged incident, Simon said. The department dedicated an entire unit to the case, which detectives worked on daily. The department will not seek reimbursement for investigation costs from the woman. Karen Burke, executive director of Whatcom County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, said despite the false report, sexual assault remains an extremely serious and common crime. Burke helped organize a March 30 “Take Back Our Trails” 5K run/walk in response to the reported rape. About 600 people participated to show their support. She said many participants told stories of being harassed on area trails, in addition to accounts of attacks they escaped. “Last month our community really rallied together to provide support to victims of sexual assault,” Burke said. “That’s a message that remains relevant.”Though rape by a stranger is the rarest kind of sexual assault, Burke emphasized that sexual assault itself is not rare.“ (This false report) doesn’t mean this could not have occurred,” Burke said. “It’s always a good idea to take precautions.”

Comment: Amazing. The crime of false reporting is barely mentioned in this article; instead, the woman's lie becomes an occasion for fear-mongering about rapists. The woman is treated as a victim herself. What about some fear-mongering for victims of false accusations? The politically correct author of this tripe should be ashamed for providing such an unbalanced story.