Thursday, December 16, 2010

Woman Arrested For Falsely Reporting Sexual Assault

EDGEWOOD—A woman, who claimed to have been abducted and sexually assaulted, has been arrested for filing a false report following a joint investigation by the Edgewood Police Department and Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office.

On October 30, Emily Marie Prestidge, 25, Edgewood, told police she was abducted upon leaving a friend’s house in the 300 block of North Houston Street in Edgewood and sexually assaulted by two men.

Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Sam Mayer and Edgewood Police Department Investigator Robert Dearing launched an investigation; however, according to a press release from the Edgewood Police Department “the facts reported indicated this to be a targeted assault.”

Edgewood Chief of Police Henry Askew even stated he believed this to be an “isolated incident.”
Then on November 11, a 34-year-old male contacted Sheriff R.P. “Pat” Burnett and stated that he was with the victim at the time she claimed to be assaulted.

At that time Burnett contacted Askew and advised him of the information.

“Askew and Mayer then began taking statements from the man and obtained copies of text messages from him admitting to Prestidge falsifying the details of her assault.

According to the press release, “The man stated he and the victim had been having an affair and she had told her husband she had been raped to cover for being with him that night.”

Pardon me, but if she filed a false report, how is she still a "victim"?

“She told the young man she was either going to tell her husband she had a flat tire or she was raped,” Askew said, adding that upon the urging of her friend to go with the “flat tire story” Prestidge told the rape alibi.

Askew and Mayer began interviewing others who the man stated had knowledge of their affair, and the statements obtained supported the man’s admission to the two being together, according to the press release, during the time the victim reported to have been assaulted and to their having an affair.

Askew said after speaking with Prestidge following her filing the assault report, “Things just didn’t add up.”

Witness statements saying they had seen Prestidge’s vehicle parked on a county road nowhere near where the sexual assault was reported to have taken place at the time it was to have taken place, and other things that just didn’t fit with the story she gave law enforcement were other indicators of a false story.

“We didn’t just take his word for it. We got witness statements to prove and backup his statement. We did enough investigating to prove this was a false report,” Burnett said. “We didn’t just dismiss it.”

They investigated, found corroboration for his side of the story. And they didn't even arrest him. Are we starting to see some progress?

“The only good thing that came out of this is that the community is more aware of what could happen,” Burnett said.

You mean they realize that a person can be accused of rape at the drop of a hat in order for someone to cover up her own bad behavior? Yeah, I think the community is more aware of that.

“She gave us a full confession and is extremely sorry for the panic she caused to the local women is what she told me here in the office,” Askew said. “She said she didn’t realize what a panic it would cause all the local women.”

Never mind the panic that the local men may have felt, being viewed as potential rapists.

Prestidge has been arrested and filed on by the Edgewood Police Department and the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office for false report.

Askew said a warrant will be issued for Prestidge’s husband for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

I would love to know what that is about.

“A lot of times when people get in situations they use us and using the police to lie is not a good idea,” Burnett said.

“It takes a lot of man hours away from other cases in order to work on these reports, and it should because they are important,” Burnett said. “This type of case has to be on the front burner, but this false report has caused a tremendous amount of hysteria.”

Burnett said the biggest benefit in this case has been the awareness it has brought the citizens.
“There is just no good reason to make a false report,” Burnett added.

Actually, for those who make the false report, there is a good reason. They think. Obviously, this woman thought it would be a good way to cover up her infidelity. And, until we start to see false accusers held accountable to the same extent that someone accused of rape would be, then they will still have a good reason to make a false report.

Because they can. And because they will get away with it.