Monday, February 27, 2012

Another rape reported as a certainty turns out to false

The opening line of a Philadelphia news report last Wednesday left no doubt that a sexual assault occurred: "Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk and Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson confirmed another sexual assault in the city Wednesday afternoon."  See here.

Did you really "confirm" that a sexual assault had, indeed, occurred, Mr. Faulk and Chief Thomsan? If so, you acted with gross irresponsibility.

The news report continued: "The woman was walking when she was attacked by a man carrying a knife and directed into a secluded area off the road. She was sexually assaulted and the assailant fled."

Reading that story, there was no question that a sexual assault occurred.

Alas, apparently it didn't.  Here's the story that appeared Friday:

"CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) — A 25-year-old Camden woman has been charged with Providing False Information to Police.

"Janira Lebron, of the 200 block of S 27th Street in Camden, initially told investigators on Wednesday that she had been sexually assaulted near Baird Boulevard and Randolph Street in Camden shortly afternoon. Lebron provided information about her assailant that indicated he might have been the same man responsible for three other rapes in the area over the last two months.

"In response to her claims, police dispatched dozens of officers to the scene. Members of the State Police, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the Sheriff’s Department were also deployed. However, hours later, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office released a statement that said there were 'serious concerns about the allegations of sexual assault that were reported,' and a source confirmed to Eyewitness News that Lebron falsified the account (see previous story).

"Police say Lebron’s claims and the resulting investigation of her account delayed their arrest of the suspect believed responsible for the previous three rapes, Kevin Cleveland, who was taken into custody on Thursday."  See here.

That's not the end of our story. It was reported Friday that a suspect was arrested for three earlier sexual assaults. Read what Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson told reporters about the presumptively innocent man who was arrested -- but who has not been convicted -- for those sexual assaults: "I'm happy to tell the residents of the City of Camden that this animal is behind bars."