Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Man jailed for 21 months for false rape claim, liar walks free

A liar is protected by the statute of limitations. Her false tale of abduction and rape put a man behind bars for 21 months, but Judith Ann Lummis was released on parole after just a third of that time. Lummis, 42, was released April 8 after serving seven months of a four-year sentence and is now on supervised parole in Branson. Neither Armand Villasana -- the man her accusation sent to prison -- nor the Greene County Prosecutor's Office were informed Lummis was being paroled. "Once they are sentenced and they comply with whatever the current parole rules are, they're released," Prosecutor Darrell Moore said Tuesday. "There's nothing we can do, per se, to oppose it. I assume she's done whatever mathematical percent of time she had to do."
At a press conference in August, Moore announced that Lummis' reported rape in 1998 was a fraud -- a lie meant to cover up an extramarital affair.

The deception wasn't unraveled until 2007. Villasana, convicted in 1999, was freed at his sentencing hearing in June 2000 when his attorneys introduced evidence showing Villasana's DNA did not match evidence collected during Lummis' medical examination after the alleged rape. Five years later, the unknown DNA evidence was matched to a man in state prison for an unrelated crime. The prisoner told investigators he had consensual sex with Lummis the night of the reported rape. Lummis -- who was wanted for absconding from probation and parole -- was eventually arrested and confessed to the fabrication Aug. 7. She was not charged with perjury, however. Moore said the statute of limitations had run out. Instead, Lummis was sent to prison in September for repeatedly violating probation in several older cases, including two counts of felony forgery and fraudulently attempting to obtain prescription diet pills.
Brian Hauswirth, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Corrections, said Lummis' release was authorized by the state Probation and Parole Board, which interviewed her in prison Feb. 13. "They use what's called a risk assessment instrument," Hauswirth said. "The board determined at that time that she would be released on parole, under supervision, of course."
Her parole will last until April 2011, Hauswirth said, during which time she must report regularly to a parole officer and abide by a number of requirements, such as staying off drugs and obeying all laws. She also will be restricted from associating with other felons, a condition she has violated in the past. When Lummis' probation was revoked in September, her probation officer noted that Lummis had been dating a convicted felon.

Villasana, whose name was finally cleared in August, said he bears no animosity toward Lummis. "I think she probably should have spent longer (in prison)," he said. "But it's out of my hands what they do with her ... it's up to the judge and parole board." A free man for the past seven and a half years, Villasana said he's frustrated most by the legal bills he's still struggling to pay. He thinks the county or state should reimburse some of those costs, but said his legal attempts to seek payment have stalled. "Everybody just wants to throw this all under the rug," he said. "All I'm asking is at least do the right thing and at least pay what I had to pay to get out."