Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Valenta pleads no contest to attempted prostitution

A Wilber woman who falsely accused a Wymore man and several other men of rape in November 2011 pleaded no contest to attempted prostitution Wednesday morning.

Jennifer L. Valenta, 28, pleaded no contest to three counts: attempted prostitution, tampering with physical evidence and false reporting in a criminal matter.

Three more charges -- prostitution, perjury and obstructing government operations -- were dismissed by prosecutors in exchange for the plea deal.

Valenta will be sentenced on Jan. 2, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in Gage County District Court. A pre-sentence investigation has been ordered by District Court Judge Paul Korslund.

She could face up to six years in prison, $20,000 in fines or both.

According to court records, Valenta told law enforcement she was raped by four men at Big Indian Lake in southern Gage County on Nov. 24, 2011.

Gage County Sheriff’s deputies later arrested Elliot Hawkins based on Valenta’s testimony.

During an investigation into the matter, Valenta submitted photos to investigators of injuries sustained during the reported rape that were later examined by a medical expert. The expert told investigators the injuries, including cuts and scrapes, did not match the timeline of the alleged rape and that they could have been self-inflicted.

Valenta also told investigators they could find paper towels at the scene that would implicate Hawkins and three others in the sexual assault. A DNA sampling showed DNA from Hawkins and Valenta only, however.

During a Jan. 19 interview, Valenta told authorities she was accompanying Hawkins on Nov. 23, 2011, and engaged in sexual acts with him for money. Statements made by Hawkins confirmed Valenta’s story.

Valenta also told authorities she caused self-inflicted injuries using her fingernails and a disposable razor.

Hawkins was released from jail and all charges against him were dropped.