Monday, August 4, 2008

The lesson of this latest false rape claim: No one 'asks' to have a false rape claim lodged against him

We have seen on this Web site that certain classes of males are at heightened risk of being victimized by false rape claims. Among these are teenage boys who are victims of statutory rape. Another such class are are men who somehow wrong a woman, as illustrated by the news story below.

As in "he asked for it."

Except that no man "asks" to have a false rape claim made against him, any more than a woman "asks" to be raped.

Admittedly the men in the story below (who scammed their false accuser out of money) are not sympathetic figures in any sense of the word, but they are victims nonetheless of the accuser's false rape claim.

It seems that the false accuser decided she exact revenge against the men by crying rape.

It is good that the woman is being charged and that the prosecutor made this clear: "It's [false reporting of rape is] a crime we take seriously."

These men did not "ask" for a false rape claim to be lodged against them merely because they engaged in unrelated misconduct, nor merely because they incurred a woman's wrath. That would be akin to victim blaming. Would it be somehow acceptable for a man to rape a woman as punishment for something she had done to him?

Never.

No one -- I repeat, no one -- "asks" to have a false rape claim lodged against him, and no one "deserves" it, any more than a woman who wrongs a man "deserves" to be raped.

HERE IS THE NEWS STORY:

Woman who reported fake kidnapping-rape-robbery is arrested

By Jennifer Squires, Sentinel Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/30/2008 05:50:41 PM PDT

SANTA CRUZ - Police on Wednesday arrested a Santa Cruz woman who prompted a large-scale investigation when she allegedly made up a complex lie about being kidnapped, robbed and raped in June.

Salustia Irma Ogarrio-Munoz, 36, was arrested on suspicion of filing a false police report.

Ogarrio-Munoz told police that two men kidnapped her at gunpoint from the Ross store on River Street around 1 p.m. on June 5, forced her to withdraw money from her bank and give it to the men, then held against her will overnight and sexually assaulted her.

She reported the alleged crimes the afternoon of June 6, telling officers that the men had just let her go.

The police department invested hundreds of man hours in the investigation, sought medical treatment and a rape examination for Ogarrio-Munoz, pulled surveillance videos from both the bank and the store, asked for assistance from the state Department of Justice and sent out photos of the men in hopes that the public would help identify them.

"Our entire Investigations Division was dedicated to this case for the first 24 hours and beyond that we had six investigators working all of the leads," police spokesman Zach Friend said Wednesday. "She made the unfortunate decision to mislead and deceive the investigators into believing that a horrific crime had occurred, which triggered our large-scale response."

About a week later, police announced that Ogarrio-Munoz had been neither raped nor kidnapped, but that the men had scammed her out of a significant amount of money.

At the time, both police and representatives from the District Attorney's Office said it was fortunate that Ogarrio-Munoz wasn't the victim of the "horrific crime" but said they were concerned that the false report had created fear in the community.

Ogarrio-Munoz's frightening story unraveled when detectives tried to fill in significant time gaps.

"There were so many misleading comments that it was difficult to figure out the whole truth," Friend said.

Investigators eventually determined the two men approached her at the Ross store and convinced her to purchase what she thought was a solid gold bar, according to police. She bought the gold for about 30 percent of what it was worth.

The gold was in fact a piece of metal painted bronze and essentially without value.

That day, June 5, Ogarrio-Munoz went home, then to work later that night. Around noon the next day, she called police and reported the phony kidnap-rape-robbery story.

The men who scammed her have not been identified or arrested, Friend said.

The decision to charge Ogarrio-Munoz with filing a false police report was "made in tandem with the District Attorney's Office," Friend said.

Friend said it's "relatively uncommon" to charge someone with filing a false police report. The crime is a misdemeanor crime punishable by fines, community service and jail time.

Ogarrio-Munoz was arrested Wednesday and booked into County Jail, but later released, according to jail records.

The crime is punishable by up to six months in County Jail.

"It's a crime we take seriously," prosecutor Andrew Isaac said. "It's an abuse of the confidence of the system that at issue here."

Contact Jennifer Squires at 429-2449 or jsquires@santacruzsentinel.com.

Link:http://www.mercurynews.com/centralcoast/ci_10046532?nclick_check=1