Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Leicester police seek charges against teen who reported rape

About time. The police chief wants stiffer penalties for false accusations. Let's all hope he gets what he wants. And notice, this story actually contains 2 separate false accusation cases.

18 year old unnamed woman files false rape accusation.

LEICESTER
— Police are seeking criminal charges against an 18-year-old woman who authorities said lied about being raped by a family acquaintance.

The investigation is unrelated to the case against a Brookfield man whose rape charges were dismissed recently in Western Worcester District Court in East Brookfield after a teenager admitted her accusations were a lie.

Citing fraudulent crime reports in his town and around the area, Police Chief James J. Hurley said stiffer penalties for filing false police reports are needed. Those accused face harsher penalties than those making false claims against them, he said.

“The Leicester Police Department has laid off police officers due to funding shortages yet the taxpayers have to foot the bill for this type of fraudulent report,” Chief Hurley said. “The punishment for this type of crime needs to be increased. If you fraudulently accuse someone of a crime that could put them in jail for 20 years, then the person who fraudulently reports the crime should face the same penalty.”

Police Chief James J. Hurley declined to identify the woman, a former town resident, saying she has not been charged in court yet. Police have filed an application for criminal charges of filing a false police report, misleading a police investigation and perjury against the woman in Western Worcester District Court. The woman will appear in court at a future date, police said.

Leicester police received a report in November that a woman living in an apartment in town — the address was not released — went to do some laundry and came back to her apartment to find a man inside.

The woman told police she was grabbed from behind by the man, who was armed with a knife. She claimed the man forcibly raped her and identified her alleged attacker as a family acquaintance.

“During the course of the investigation police processed the crime scene for evidence and interviewed a number of individuals pertaining to the crime,” police said in a news release. “The woman even went to the hospital and submitted to a sexual assault evidence kit, which was sent to the state crime lab for processing.”

Police helped the woman receive an emergency restraining order and she later appeared in court to extend it, which was granted.

The detective working the case noticed inconsistencies in the woman's story. The investigator had sufficient evidence to show the reported rape never occurred and he confronted the woman.

“More of the story didn't add up,” Chief Hurley said.

The man was never arrested or charged in the case, the chief said. The woman, in a videotaped interview, admitted the accusations were false, according to the chief.

Sgt. Paul Doray, who investigated the case, spoke to the chief during the investigation about the inconsistencies. The family also began to pressure the investigator about why no criminal charges were filed, Chief Hurley said.

The chief commended the work of Sgt. Doray and noted that without the sergeant's dedicated work, someone could have been falsely accused of a serious crime.

“As police officers, this is something we don't want to have happen on our watch,” Chief Hurley said. “Sgt. Doray did an outstanding job in getting to the truth in this investigation.

Filing a false police report and misleading police are crimes that can lead to jail time. The maximum penalty for falsely reporting a crime is one year in jail and/or a $500 fine. Misleading a police investigation carries a sentence of no more than two-and-a-half years in jail or a maximum of 10 years in prison, or a fine of $1,000 to $5,000.

Also frustrating to the chief is that these types of false reports place police in the position of having to scrutinize victims more to verify their stories. Having to interrogate a true victim is “just not right,” the chief said.

In the past 18 months, Leicester police have investigated four different reports, including cases involving an armed robbery, a pedestrian allegedly hit by a car and an abduction on Route 9, which all turned out to be false.

Investigations also cost money in terms of manpower dedicated to the cases. This can cost the department thousands of dollars, Chief Hurley said. The department has laid off officers and is facing more cuts.

The charges in the Brookfield case were dismissed last week after the girl sent a letter to the court indicating the accusations were false.

Link:
http://www.telegram.com/article/20100209/NEWS/100209762/0/NEWS06