Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stephanine Ann Bennett's false rape claim brings 30-day jail sentence

1. Ms. Bennett, so long as she stays clean of any further wrongdoing, will have her record expunged in 3 years. How many men falsely convicted of rape are able to only serve 30 days and get their records expunged?

2. Once again, a man is to blame, as her former boyfriend coerced her to make the false rape claim. The fact that she came forward after the accusation and told the truth does count in her favor, but when are women going to be held culpable for their decisions?

Thankfully, they did not arrest the man she falsely accused, and she has to repay the court associated costs (it is unclear if that includes the cost of the police investigation).

Stephanine Ann Bennett sentenced to 30 days in jail for false claim.

BENTONVILLE - A Colcord, Okla., woman was sentenced to 30 days in jail for falsely accusing a man of raping her.

Stephanine Ann Bennett, 18, pleaded guilty Monday to filing a false police report, a class D felony. She agreed to plead guilty under an agreement that Public Defender Brynna Barnica reached with Deputy Prosecutor Ben Poole.

Bennett was arrested Oct. 20, 2008. She had earlier reported to police that she had been raped, but recanted the allegation a few days later.

Poole told Circuit Judge Robin Green that police investigated, but did not arrest, the man who Bennett claimed raped her.

Barnica told Green that Bennett was coerced by a former boyfriend to make the allegation against the man.

Green said the only reason she accepted the plea agreement is because Bennett came forward to report her lie.

Green accepted the plea agreement and Bennett's guilty plea.

Bennett was placed on state-supervised probation for three years with Act 346, which means her conviction can be expunged if she successfully completes her probation.

She must perform 120 hours of community service and must serve 30 days in the Benton County Jail.

Bennett must report to the jail by noon June 16. Green delayed Bennett's sentencing until she graduates from high school.

She must also pay $1,870 in court-associated costs.