COMMENT: The news story below is especially appropriate in light of our discussion this week about how this site is allied with rape victims. A serial false accuser who disrupted the lives of several innocent people -- men and a woman -- with wild and patently false rape tales, is finally, and at long last, being held accountable for them. Her sentence is three years and nine months.
Why must it take repeated lies, and multiple innocent persons harmed, before false accusers are punished? And what if this woman ever was actually raped? Need we remind you of this fable?
By countenancing the rape lies, we not only hurt the immediate victims of her venom, we also hurt actual rape victims. Each rape lie that was excused without punishment only underscored to police and to the persons who learned of them that, yes, unstable persons walk among us who have no hesitation about falsely crying rape, and who threaten to destroy not just innocent men and boys but entire families with their falsehoods. By countenancing one rape lie after the next, we chip away at the credibility of rape victims who have legitimate need to cry rape. When we allow unstable, vengeful, and scared women to spin tales of sexual invasion with impunity and without deterrence -- tales that too often destroy the lives of the innocent -- we discourage actual victims from coming forward, and it makes it impossible to plausibly or justly insist that the public must believe women when they say they were raped.
HERE IS THE NEWS STORY:
Ardgay woman jailed after false rape claims
AN Ardgay woman who falsely claimed that she was raped on two separate occasions and assaulted on another, was this week jailed for two years and nine months.
Heather Bremner, 1 Struie Place, accused a number of men of raping her, including her husband.
Police launched two major enquiries and spent hours investigating the false allegations, Dornoch Sheriff Court heard.
The 38-year-old, who has an alcohol problem, was also examined by a police surgeon, and a forensic scientist was brought in to help with the enquiries.
Bremner appeared for sentencing at Monday's court having previously admitted three charges of wasting police time by making the false representations. Sentence had been deferred for background reports, including a psychiatric assessment.
Sheriff David Sutherland told Bremner he had no option but to impose a term of imprisonment.
He said: "Any allegation of rape, given the enormity of the crime, is taken very seriously and considerable police resources are involved and often officers are diverted from other enquiries.
"You have made such allegations not once, but on two separate occasions, placing - in one charge - your husband under suspicion, and indeed under detention, and on the other charge making allegations against a local woman and various local men.
"I do not consider, having read all the reports, that I can deal with this case other than by a custodial sentence."
Police were first called to Bremner's home in February 2003, prosecutor Roderick Urquhart told the court.
Officers found her in a distressed state and causing damage to her own home. She claimed then that she had been raped in November the previous year.
Bremner alleged her drink had been spiked during an evening out in Lairg. She came to in an unknown house where she claimed she was struck on the back of her head by a woman and raped by a number of men.
She claimed to have made a 999 emergency call from the house at the time.
Fiscal Mr Urquhart said a subsequent enquiry revealed that there had indeed been an emergency call made on 16 November, 2002, from the accused saying she did not know where she was.
"The operator spoke to at least three different men in the house and Mrs Bremner could be heard in the background. She did not appear to be distressed or upset and there was no suggestion of an attack. She appeared to be drunk," said the fiscal.
"As a result of the 999 call, the house was identified and some of the people identified. A woman was asked to come to the police station and was interviewed under caution."
Police eventually decided there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution and the case was closed on 30 April 2003 when it was decided to take no further action.
The enquiry involved five police officers who spent numerous hours attempting to track down and interview witnesses.
Said Mr Urquhart: "It was a significant enquiry and had a significant effect on the woman who was referred to. She was not simply placed under suspicion but was also interviewed under caution."
Bremner's second rape allegation occurred on 8 March 2008 when she phoned Dornoch Police Station and alleged she had been raped and indecently assaulted at Bonar Bridge by her husband in the early hours of that morning.
Another major enquiry was launched involving nine police officers, two police surgeons and one forensic scientist. Bremner was taken to the victim suite at Inverness and examined by a doctor.
Her husband was detained but was "notably distressed and embarrassed" and denied everything that his wife claimed had happened.
Fiscal Mr Urquhart said the enquiry was called off when samples sent for examination by a forensic scientist were found not to be consistent with Bremner's claims. Other people in her house also contradicted her account.
Said the fiscal: "The number of hours expended on this enquiry have not been calculated, but will certainly be in the three figures."
Bremner made another false accusation just four months later, on 17 July 2008, when she called in at Invergordon Police Station, accompanied by a support worker, to claim that she had woken in the early hours of that morning to find a former partner standing over her as she lay on the couch in the living room.
She alleged that he had picked up a number of her pet rabbits and stabbed them in the stomach.
She said the animals were screaming in pain and she had wrapped them up in a towel and placed them outside. When she went back in, her former partner kicked her.
Continued the fiscal: "As a result of that, several police officers went to her house but no trace could be found of the rabbits referred to. The officers then went to her former partner's house. He said he had been asleep at the time of the incident. He gave permission for his clothing to be seized and checked for signs of blood.
"There were discrepancies in Bremner's accounts. She was detained and interviewed and during the course of that she admitted that on each occasion she had lied."
Defence agent Diane Macfarlane said her client had been abusing alcohol for nearly 20 years, beginning at the age of 16.
Psychologists brought in to assess Bremner were of the opinion that she had a borderline personality disorder as a result of an extremely difficult childhood.
Defence agent Ms Macfarlane told the court: "It would appear that because of her childhood experiences, Miss Bremner places herself in high risk situations and has difficulty assessing other people's motivations and intentions.
"This combined with her dependence on alcohol has resulted in a set of circumstances where Miss Bremner does not necessarily understand the situation she is in, thereafter has blacked out and then come to and pieces information together in an inappropriate way, resulting in her belief that she has been abused in some way."
Ms Macfarlane said her client had been in a relationship with her current partner for a year and now did not drink at all.
"She would now appear to be at the point that she can now meaningfully address her alcohol problem," said the lawyer.
But Ms Macfarlane acknowledged that a social enquiry report had identified Bremner as at a high risk of re-offending and in need of professional guidance.
Passing sentence, Sheriff Sutherland indicated that had Bremner not admitted the offences at the earliest opportunity, she would have been jailed for four years rather than 45 months.He also ordered that on her release she be placed on a supervised order for a year.