Friday, March 25, 2011

Woman lies to ex-boyfriend that she was kidnapped and raped; he calls police; she's charged with filing false report

The Times-News on-line out of Tennessee reports that Brittany Cheyenne Thompson, 18, 418 Elm Springs Road, Church Hill, was arrested earlier this week after she allegedly called her ex-boyfriend and lied to him, stating she’d been kidnapped by three males. She allegedly told him that two of the men raped her while the third put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her. Thompson also allegedly told her ex, whose name is Chris Wagel, that she wasn’t sure where she was, but she was being held in a field in Surgoinsville.

Mr. Wagel then did exactly what any reasonable person would do: he called the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, which deployed seven officers to search for Thompson. The Church Hill Police Department also became involved in the investigation.

What happened next is both comic and tragic. “At approximately 1:30 a.m. Monday Ms. Thompson called Chris Wagel again and was cursing him, wanting to know why he called law enforcement,” Detective Jeff Greer stated in his report. “She also admitted to him that she made the story up. This conversation was also heard by Deputy Brad Depew.”

Get that? She cursed him -- for whatBelieving her?!

Detective Greer then called Thompson, and Thompson allegedly told Greer she was fine. Then she told the detective she hadn’t spoken to Wagel for a couple of days. Thompson agreed to meet Greer to prove she was OK, and during that meeting she again denied speaking to Wagel that night. At that point she was arrested and charged with filing a false report. Thompson is scheduled for arraignment in Hawkins County Sessions Court on April 13. Link:

I am assuming that the false report charge stems from the boyfriend's call to police, not the lies the woman told to detective Greer directly.  Assuming I am correct, should a woman be charged with filing a false report even though she's not the one who actually called the police? 

It is only appropriate that her lie be deemed a crime. Assuming that the newspaper account is correct, when the woman lied to her boyfriend, she intended him to take it seriously, and the only reasonable response on his part was to call the police.

It is well to note that too many young men whose girlfriends told them they'd been raped have attempted to take the law in their own hands to avenge what turned out to be a false rape claim. These efforts typically have tragic consequences for both the avenging young men and the males falsely accused. Usually, the male falsely accused is badly beaten or even killed and the avenging young man is charged with a serious crime. The woman typically is not charged -- and we've always assumed that it's because she reported the lie to her friend, not the police.

The decision to charge the woman in this case is a welcome change.  The cry of "rape" should be sacrosanct, whether it is made directly to police or to another person whose only reasonable response is to call the police.