Monday, June 8, 2009

Karla Forest's false rape report charge dropped

The story first, then a couple of comments.

Karla Forest has false rape charges dropped.

A Greene County woman who spurred panic by submitting an allegedly false rape claim will not face consequences.

Prosecutors on Friday dismissed a misdemeanor charge of making a false report against Karla M. Forest, 29, finding there was not sufficient evidence to prove the woman's tale was fake.

In July 2007, Forest called authorities to report a stranger had emerged from the brush in her backyard and raped her. Deputies found the woman bound and partially nude behind a barn near her East Farm Road 80 home.

The Greene County Sheriff's Office and other agencies dumped hundreds of work hours into the ensuing investigation but came up with nothing.

In the mean time, news of the attack caused panic in the woman's neighborhood. A rape victim who lived nearby would not come out of her home for several days, Sheriff Jim Arnott said.

Finally, in July 2008, prosecutors filed charges against Forest, alleging she'd injured herself, undressed and bound her hands and feet with duct tape before calling police.

Assistant Greene County Prosecutor Jill Patterson, who filed the dismissal, said there was probable cause to believe Forest submitted a false report, but not evidence to prove the matter beyond a reasonable doubt.

"I did not feel like I could meet that burden and I didn't feel like it was in the interest of justice to pursue the matter," Patterson said. "I put a lot of time and energy in to make sure the decision was careful."

In July 2008, Arnott held a press conference to announce the charges and said his office would seek thousands of dollars in restitution from Forest to repay time spent searching for the rapist.

The sheriff was disappointed to hear of the dropped charge Friday afternoon.

"In many ways, it is a travesty that it did not get before the courts to make a decision," Arnott said. "We know suspects lie all the time, but when we have to figure out if the victim is lying, that's more frustrating."

Despite the dismissal, both Patterson and Arnott said there is no reason for the public to be concerned about Forest's alleged attacker.

"I feel that we came to a conclusion in the case, and that we had the right suspect," Arnott said.

But Forest's attorney, Shane Cantin, said his client was attacked as she claims.

"It was very clear to me that Karla was assaulted outside of her home in 2007 and nobody's ever been charged," Cantin said. "It was very bad for Karla. It was very damaging for Karla."


I'd like to take a moment and apply a common phrase from the rape-industrial-complex to this case:

"Even though she wasn't prosecuted, doesn't mean that she didn't file a false rape claim."

The prosecutor felt that a false accusation was filed, but couldn't meet the burden of proof. Funny, that doesn't seem to stop them from prosecuting men and boys for rape, even if it is a false accusation. Maybe, law enforcement officials should stop with the double standards, and simply apply the law to ALL cases across the board.