Friday, June 11, 2010

Jessica Crider pleads not guilty

A North Platte woman accused of fabricating a rape charge against her ex-boyfriend pleaded not guilty to amended charges May 3.

Jessica Crider, 25, 1115 N. Bailey, entered her pleas to bribery and false reporting. She was initially charged with tampering with a witness as well, but Judge Donald Rowlands opted to dismiss that charge.

Rowlands found that the state did not provide sufficient evidence at a preliminary hearing to charge Crider with the tampering offense. She was arrested January 8.

The false reporting charge stemmed from a phony rape allegation Crider made against Brad McCartney, 27. Crider told police in December 2009 that McCartney sexually assaulted her while she was at his house picking up the couple’s children. Police later determined that no such assault took place.

The bribery charge comes from threats Crider had allegedly been making prior to the false report. Police said Crider threatened to lie to police about a rape unless McCartney agreed to custody terms she proposed. When he refused, she followed through with her threat, authorities said.

Her attorney, P. Stephen Potter, filed a plea in abatement and argued April 19 that County Judge Kent Turnbull erred in binding the case over to district court. He read from the transcript of the March 23 preliminary hearing and claimed insufficient evidence was presented to charge Crider in district court.

Potter did acknowledge, however, that some of the threats Crider allegedly made could be construed as bribery.

Deputy county attorney Tonya Roberts-Connick said that there were ample statements in the testimony at the prelim hearing to show cause to try the case in district court.

The bust

A custody dispute turned nasty led to a North Platte woman being arrested for allegedly falsely accusing the father of her children of rape.

Jessica Crider, 25, 1115 N. Bailey, was arrested Friday, Jan. 8 and charged with false reporting, tampering with a witness, and bribery of a witness after an interview with an investigator at the Public Safety building.

The arrest stemmed from an incident Crider allegedly fabricated Dec. 18. According to police at that time, Crider came into the police station that morning and said that Bradley McCartney, 27, raped her when she was over at his house that morning.

At the time, a police spokesperson declined to discuss why she was over at the house. The Bulletin has since learned that Crider was picking up her children as part of the couple's shared custody.

McCartney was arrested at his job the next day.

Lt. Mike Swain told the Bulletin Monday that investigators began looking into Crider a few days later, on Dec. 22.

Crider and McCartney allegedly had consensual sex in the days leading up to the false report, according to authorities.

Swain said the police became aware of phone conversations that he said indicated that the sexual assault never occurred and that Crider fabricated it to gain the upper hand in the custody case.

The county attorney’s office confirmed that while McCartney was arrested for first-degree sexual assault, no formal charges were ever levied against him.