Monday, December 3, 2012

Cornell attempted rape claim a lie, police say--but not sure if they'll charge woman who made the false report

This past September, if you were a white male in your late 30s on Cornell's campus, and if you were approximately six feet tall with dark hair, and if you had been known to wear a dark suit jacket with light colored pants, you might have felt that people were looking at you suspiciously. That's because you would have matched the description given by woman who claimed she was the victim of a terrifying attempted rape:  Police conducted an exhaustive search, including interviewing potential suspects -- meaning, men who matched the description.

They can rest easy, it turns out it was all a lie, according to police. Police say there is “irrefutable evidence” that the allegations were false and they may pursue charges against the person who made the attempted rape report, according to campus police chief Kathy Zoner.  After an “exhaustive investigation,” police say the attempted rape did not occur and that the case has been closed.  Zoner said that video evidence, among other sources, refuted the complainant’s claims.

“For the times in question, I have video showing the [complainant] is somewhere else,” Zoner said. “There is video and other objective evidence showing that [she was not] in the place she said she was.”

Over the course of their investigation, CUPD officers conducted interviews with a number of people, including the person who alleged the attack and her friends, potential suspects and witnesses. The information from these interviews, along with the video evidence, proved “wholly inconsistent with the account provided by the complainant,” according to CUPD.

Though the complainant has not been criminally charged, Zoner said this option is still under consideration.
“[The report] caused considerable alarm among community members and resulted in the allocation of substantial resources that could have been devoted to other incidents currently under investigation by the Cornell police,” she said.

Despite receiving a false report, Zoner stressed CUPD’s commitment to thoroughly investigating all sexual assault reports it receives.

The false report was one of several reports of sexual attacks made this semester that police are investigating."[The false report] doesn’t mean that a real report [of sexual assault] couldn’t happen,” said the police chief.

The comments under the story are interesting -- and they are typical of the comments that appear under news reports of false rape claims. The writers presumably are just regular readers:

"When the report was considered true, we were hectored into thinking we needed more 'rape awareness' training, 'sensitivity training' for male students and other feel-good measures to prevent something that is already illegal. Now that the report is revealed to be false will the same activists demand that female students be counseled on the penalties for false reports?"

Another: "LOL wishful thinking. Whether a crime has even taken place, and thus whether charges are to be laid, is an entirely subjective decisions. What other crime, that can utterly destroy a human life, do you know of where there can be irrefutable evidence that it took place and police can waffle on deciding whether to press charges?"