Thursday, December 13, 2012

Woman made false rape claim because she was 'moody' and upset a male friend wasn't paying attention to her; then she recanted and said she'd been 'kicked'; then changed 'kicked' to 'fallen'

UConn Student Accepted Into Program After False Rape Complaint

A student charged with falsely claiming she was raped by a group of men at UConn the weekend students moved onto campus, triggering an alert to more than 30,000, was accepted into a program Wednesday that could lead to the erasure of her charges.

Isabella Himmel, 20, of Chicago was arrested Sept. 19 and charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident, second-degree making a false statement and second-degree breach of peace.

The junior must write a letter of apology to the University of Connecticut police chief, make a $500 charitable donation and do community service, Judge Hunchu Kwak said in Superior Court in Rockville.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Leaming said there are two reasons she agreed to the diversionary program, which, if successfully completed, can lead to the dismissal of her charges in a year.

For one, Himmel didn't call police to report that she had been raped; a friend did. And secondly, Leaming said, she "does have issues that she's addressing, to her credit. ... I think her intentions were to get the attention of her friend," she said.

According to the warrant for her arrest, officers received a call early on the morning of Aug. 25 from a male friend of Himmel's who said Himmel had told him she had been raped by several men.

She told police that she had been with the friend and his buddies at the Thirsty Dog Bar and at Ted's Bar. She drank two or three alcoholic drinks, she told the officers.

She decided to leave and was walking home when she was grabbed from behind by her hair on Route 195, or Storrs Road, she told police. At least two men, possibly as many as five, pushed her to the ground, she claimed. The men held her on the ground and sexually assaulted her, she said.

Then she ran all the way back to her apartment near campus, taking her boots off along the way, she told police.

Police had Himmel transported to Windham Hospital, but the staff was unable to do a sexual assault exam because they had no rape kits. Asked if she would go to another hospital, Himmel said no, the warrant states.

At 12:10 a.m., the university issued an emergency announcement to more than 30,000 students, faculty members and other staff warning that police were investigating a report of an aggravated sex assault.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video of her leaving each bar and, eventually, walking on Route 195. Although she wasn't always in view, police never saw her getting attacked, running or taking off her boots.

Her friend told investigators that when Himmel left Ted's, she was upset he "wasn't paying attention" to her, police said.

When Himmel talked to police again, she agreed that she was "moody" that night, the warrant states. She also told police that she was no longer sure that she had been sexually assaulted, it states; she may have been kicked.

She eventually said she may not have been assaulted at all, the warrant states. She takes medication that weakens her muscles, she said, and she may have fallen.,0,3801687.story