Thursday, October 16, 2008

Serial rapist rumor false, premised in part on false rape claim

In the story below, police dispel rumors about a serial rapist. The rumors were grounded in part on a false claim that a woman recanted.

St. Pete police address serial rapist rumor
ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg police want to set the record straight about two e-mails circulating that are spreading false rumors about a serial rapist.

They say, though, that there is a rape suspect out there they are searching for.

The e-mails:One e-mail mentions a rape at the BP Station at 20th Avenue North and 4th Street North; there is no gas station at that location.

Another e-mail says a rape happened at a BP Station at 62nd Avenue and 4th Street North.

Detectives say they did investigate a possible sexual battery there, but dropped the investigation when video from the business proved the woman wasn't telling the truth, and she recanted her story.

Two other locations are mentioned in the e-mail; one at the Red Mesa on 4th Street North, the other at 5th Avenue North and 28th Street South.

Detectives say they are not investigating cases at either location.

The actual rape suspect they are looking for:

They say the e-mail does have at least one element of truth: it describes the suspect as being a black male with tear-drop tattoos.

Detectives say they are investigating a case with a similar suspect description.

It happened last Friday, October 10, in the area of 38th Avenue North and 28th Street North.
The suspect in that case was said to be a black man with tear-drop tattoos who fled the area on bicycle after the attack.

Anyone with information about this suspect is asked to contact the St. Petersburg Police Department.