Thursday, April 15, 2010

Police: College Student Lied About Sexual Assault

Comments interspersed.

Bonnie Oliphint admits lying about being attacked.

Upper Allen Township, Pa. - Upper Allen Township Police said a Messiah College student lied about being attacked on campus this past September.

She's now charged with filing a false police report.

Police said 20-year-old Bonnie Oliphint, who withdrew from the college in the fall, admitted she made the story up during an interview with police last week.

According to court documents, Oliphint "stated that she was upset over a failed relationship and made the fictitious report in an attempt to regain the interest of her former boyfriend."

[FRS COMMENT] - Once again we see the attempt to use a false allegation as a means to try to get the attention of a boyfriend. One has to wonder how it has gotten to the point that young women think that falsely crying rape/sexual assault will win them back?

In September, police said Oliphint told them a man attacked her on the school's fitness trail, dragged her into the woods, and tried to remove her pants.

Police searched the area using tracking dogs but found nothing. They continued to investigate the incident for nearly six months.

"There was a lot of time put into this case," said Upper Allen Police Lt. Michael McLaughlin. "In fact, she did waste our time."

Messiah College spokesperson Beth Lorow said the incident prompted campus leaders to increase security, including adding lighting and surveillance cameras.

"There was never really panic on campus, just more concern," Lorow said. "I think concern for the student that this might have actually happened and concern that it could potentially happen again."

[FRS COMMENT] - It would be interesting to see Ms. Lorow explain, how if nothing actually happened, there could be concern that it could potentially (hypothetically?) happen again? Could it be that you jumped to a conclusion of certainty before you even had any information about what actually happened?

Lorow said the false report was unfortunate, but that lessons were learned.

"If nothing else it served as a good reminder to students that you really can't be too safe," Lorow said. "We'll take the lessons we learned from it and move forward."

[FRS COMMENT] - Umm.... since nothing happened, how were the other students NOT safe? And what exactly were the lessons learned? That some women DO lie about rape/sexual assault?

Senior Dana Scannapieco called the incident "a whole lot of mess for nothing." She said she's relieved to hear that the attack didn't actually happen on her campus.

"Even if I didn't change much it's still nice to know it's still safe here," Scannapieco said. "I'm sure it's extremely frustrating for people that worked here."

Prominent victim advocate Jennifer Storm said cases like this do impact real victims.

"It's always upsetting when someone makes a false allegation as it does indeed detract from true victims," Storm said. "This should not be looked upon as a reflection of the staggering number of assaults that do happen everyday, particularly on college campuses....the vast majority of victims do not false report."

[FRS COMMENT] - Glad to see that Ms. Storm isn't concerned about the immediate victims of false accusations - the person falsely accused. Once again, the concern is for the possible, hypothetical future victim.

abc27 attempted to contact Oliphint but did not receive a response.