Wednesday, January 22, 2014



PORT HURON — Sara Ylen will serve a minimum of five years in prison after falsely accusing two men of raping her and then using makeup to create the appearance of bruising to corroborate her story.

“This is a tormented and disturbed woman who will go to extraordinary lengths to wreak havoc upon other individuals, potentially subjecting them to life imprisonment in order to gain sympathy and notoriety for herself,” said St. Clair County Circuit Judge Daniel Kelly.

Kelly sentenced the 38-year-old Lexington woman Friday to two to four years for filing a false felony report and three to 10 years for tampering with evidence to run consecutively.

During her sentencing, Ylen sat quietly in orange clothing, wearing shackles around her wrists and ankles. She declined to give a statement.

“I feel that this was justice in its best form,” said Suzette Samuels, Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney.

Kelly departed from Michigan sentencing guidelines — which recommended a year in the county jail — opting for a longer sentence due to the “totality of the facts.”

“Given the facts of this case, such a sentence would be a grave miscarriage of justice,” Kelly said.

“Nothing in the guidelines gives adequate weight to the diabolical nature, the methodical orchestrations, or the callousness of her treachery.”

After deliberating for less than 30 minutes, a jury found Ylen guilty on all counts Dec. 5.

During her three-day trial, witnesses testified that Ylen went to police some days after the alleged rape, claiming she had been sexually assaulted by two men at her Lexington home.

But both men testified they were at work at the time of the alleged assault.

Police said Ylen had the appearance of heavy bruising on her face, as well as lacerations on her arms and legs. When deputies took Ylen to a doctor after her report, the bruises wiped off with a bit of gauze.

“She was willing to go so far as to self-inflict wounds to corroborate her falsehoods, to carve into her forearm the word ‘slut’,” Kelly said.

At the sentencing, Ylen’s victims, Terry Stone and Kevelin Patton, gave statements. Both Stone and Patton said they have suffered damage to their reputations because of Ylen’s accusations and the publicity of Ylen’s case.

“It’s clear now to all that Sara Ylen has an intense need to be a victim, and this has wreaked havoc on the lives of many over the past 10 years or more,” Stone said.

“What will protect the public from these unlawful accusations, or these sick fantasies?”

In November 2012, James Grissom — a man convicted in 2003 of raping Ylen — was released from prison after nearly a decade.

After investigators discovered that Ylen had made other unfounded claims of rape, the Michigan Supreme Court granted Grissom a new trial.

Given the length of time since the incident and the new evidence, St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Wendling asked that the case be dismissed.

Ylen’s name became well known in 2003 when she asked the Times Herald to tell the story of her assault and the Grissom conviction.

Grissom, who attended Ylen’s trial and was present at her sentencing Friday, said her sentence was “a slap on the hand.”

“I did 10 years; she should have done at least 10 years,” he said.

Tammy Lisek, a former friend of Ylen’s, was present at the sentencing along with many of Ylen’s former friends and family. Lisek was a witness in a separate case in Sanilac County, where Ylen was accused of falsely claiming to have cancer.

“I’m just ready for closure,” Lisek said. “The people sitting in the courtroom were just the tip of the iceberg of how many people she’s affected.”

Ron Kramer, of Richmond, befriended Ylen through a mutual acquaintance after the Grissom trial. While he admitted doubts about parts of Ylen’s story, Kramer said he supports his friend.

“There’s still people out there that care about her and love her and haven’t given up on her ... and God hasn’t given up on her,” Kramer said.

On Monday, Ylen pleaded no contest to separate charges of health care fraud in Sanilac County.

Ylen received more than $100,000 in hospice care from 2009 to 2011, and about $10,000 from a church fund-raiser, after she claimed to have multiple myeloma. Ylen said she developed cancer from a sexually transmitted disease she got during the alleged Grissom attack.

Police said her cancer claims were false. None of the doctors Ylen listed as having diagnosed her with cancer had actually done so, police said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is requesting more than $120,000 in restitution in that case.

Ylen’s sentencing in Sanilac County is Feb. 19.