Monday, June 21, 2010

Police: Lake Eola Rape Story Made Up

ORLANDO -- Police say a woman who claimed she was raped at Lake Eola admitted she made up the whole story.

The woman said she was pulled into the bushes and sexually battered near the 200 block of Central Boulevard in downtown Orlando around 2 a.m. on May 14.

She gave a detailed description of a man in his 50s with gray hair and a beard.

Detectives said they followed up on the claim, interviewing people the woman said she had contacted before and after the rape report.

Police said none of the witnesses could confirm the woman’s story, and there were no forensics to support her claim.

When a detective re-interviewed the victim Wednesday, police said she admitted she made it all up, and denied any sexual assault.

The woman told the detective she came up with the suspect’s description from a man who did speak to her, telling her she was attractive and did not belong on the streets.

However, she said there was no further action from there.

The false rape report led to over 100 tips from first responders and CrimeLine before the woman admitted her story was not true.

Police said not only did they spend time interviewing multiple witnesses and reviewing surveillance video, but the false report placed the entire community in fear.

"As much as there was a lot of work done on it, you know, a lot of people were gosh, they were scared. In the end, it didn't happen. But, you know, we did have that case last year that did happen. So obviously people should always -- whether it happened or not -- should always take their own proactive measures," said Sgt. Barbara Jones from the Orlando Police Department.

Why Lie?

Currently, investigators are not releasing any more information about why the woman would lie about being sexually assaulted at Lake Eola.

She could face charges for making a false report.

There are a number of reasons why someone would lie about something as serious as sexual assault.

But the bottom line is that this woman not only lied to police, she scared a lot of people.

So why would someone lie about something as serious as sexual assault?

News 13 spoke with mental health expert Deedra Hunter, who counsels sexual abuse victims.

"There has to be a reason why this woman lied," Hunter said.

Hunter, who has never met the woman, said some people lie just to get attention. Others lie as a cry for help and actually want to get caught.

"They want somebody to, perhaps, find them out and ask them ‘why would you do this?’" Hunter said.

Guilt and fear about past actions can also lead to lying.

Hunter said people who lie about rape only make it more difficult for true victims to come forward.

"For years, women weren't believed,” Hunter said. “For years, women didn't come forward because in court they would be questioned and grilled."

Orlando police encourage anyone to continue to report any suspicious activity.

They said even though this sexual assault turned out not to have happened, they will continue take all reports seriously.

FRS Comment: It would be nice, just once, to stop hearing all of the excuses as to WHY a false report was made. And of course, the same old line is trotted out that real victims of rape won't come forward because someone else lied about being raped. Some day, I would really like to see the evidence for that claim.