Friday, August 23, 2013

Woman lied that former boyfriend raped her, but prosecutor used wrong statute to charge her

A judge has dismissed a felony charge against a woman accused of falsely reporting that she was raped by a former boyfriend.

Judge G. Todd Baugh has granted a defense motion to dismiss a charge of fabricating evidence filed against Christina Nadine Nelson.

The judge said in an order issued Tuesday that evidence clearly showed Nelson lied when she reported the rape to police and hospital staff, but the prosecution’s reliance on a report from a sexual assault examination
is misplaced.

“To apply (the law against fabricating evidence) to the occurrences in this case is a stretch at best,” Baugh said in the order. “Basically, what (Nelson) did was lie to the Billings Clinic and the Billings Police Department. There are specific statutes that cover conduct of this nature; perjury, false swearing, unsworn falsification to authorities and false reports to law enforcement come to mind and there may be others.”

Baugh gave prosecutors 30 days to amend the charge against Nelson.

Nelson was charged in December for an incident last August when she reported that her former boyfriend raped her as she left her workplace.

Nelson was brought to Billings Clinic later that evening after telling her husband about the alleged rape after the couple had unprotected sex.

An investigation revealed Nelson’s former boyfriend was out of state at the time of the alleged rape.

Billings police also said surveillance video from Nelson’s workplace showed her leaving work and driving away in her vehicle on the date of the alleged rape.

A review of Nelson’s medical records showed she made four other similar reports in recent years.