Friday, January 8, 2010

WSU student says sexual assault report was fake

Is it any wonder there are so many false claims? She isn't named, and the police aren't sure if they will charge her (you know, since that might stop an actual rape victim from coming forward - still not sure how that works).

WSU student falsely claims she was sexually assaulted.

A 19-year-old woman recanted her claim that she was forced into a parking lot near Winona State University and sexually assaulted, police said.

The woman, a WSU student, had told police a man snuck up behind her early Saturday morning, put a bag over her head and carried her to a parking lot where he took off her pants and assaulted her. Her claim prompted the school to e-mail a campus-wide safety alert.

Police conducted a follow-up interview with the woman Monday and pointed out inconsistencies in her report, Deputy Police Chief Tom Williams said. The woman eventually admitted the report was fake, he said.

The woman had said she was walking from Morey Hall to Sheehan Hall — two WSU dormitories — and had just finished a cell phone call when a man approached her from behind near King and Huff streets. WSU officials rescinded that safety alert Tuesday after an investigation by police and campus security.

Police have not decided if they’ll charge the woman for filing a false police report, Williams said. Officers must weigh the public fear generated by a false report of a sex assault and the potential chilling effect of charging her, he said, since charges may make future victims of actual assaults reluctant to come forward.

“We don’t want to give the impression that we are not sensitive to the needs of the people that make reports as serious of this,” Williams said.

Police said they don’t know what motivated the woman to make a false police report.