Monday, August 15, 2011

Prisoner files false rape accusation

Isn't this an interesting turn? Florida has a statute--Fla. Stat. § 794.011--that makes false rape claims against law enforcement officers and other government agents and employees a felony. A false accusation directed at an ordinary person typically merits only a misdemeanor charge per Fla. Stat. § 817.49 (2011).

Sanchez Preston, who was convicted and sentenced in 1999 of attempted second-degree murder (as well as other charges), last month accused a Polk County deputy of rape. The oddest part is how he claims the rape occurred. He says the act was performed through the food slot of his cell.

However, when police investigated his allegation, he admitted he lied because he was being held in isolation, and he didn't like the food. (He is actually serving his time in a different location and was moved to Polk County to testify in a different court case.)

It appears that Mr. Preston has a tendency to fight with other inmates, according to the Chief Detention officer, Bryant Grant, and that he had been put in isolation several times because of that.

"He has a propensity to always do what he's not supposed to do," Grant said.
The arrest report states that the accusation was made on the 31st of July, after Preston made a complaint about his dinner. He demanded to speak to a lieutenant, and when that demand was refused, he hung a blanket over the window of his cell. The deputy then reached through the food slot and pulled down the blanket. Preston claimed that this somehow caused injuries, and after being examined by a nurse, and no injuries being found, he made the rape allegation.

He admitted during an interview with a detective that the deputy never touched him. At that point, he was charged with falsely accusing a law enforcement officer with sexual battery.

Police and other public service employees (firefighters, emt's, etc.) are easy targets for rape claims. Trust me, I get it. But why are they granted a different level of protection than an average person? Why isn't filing a false report of rape/sexual assault a felony, regardless of who it is made against? Thoughts?