Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ylen false-report case goes to Wayne County prosecutor

The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is handling a case alleging that Sara Ylen filed a false police report case.

In late September or early October, Ylen reported in St. Clair County she had been sexually assaulted at a Sanilac County location.

After determining there was no evidence of the attack, the Sanilac County Sheriff Department in November asked St. Clair County Prosecutor Michael Wendling to charge Ylen with filing a false police report.

Because of his office’s relationship with Ylen in the James Grissom case and the potential for a conflict of interest, Wendling asked the state attorney general’s office to reassign the case. The state turned it over to Wayne County.

In 2003, Wendling’s office helped convict Grissom of a sexual assault on Ylen. She testified the incident happened in the parking lot of the Fort Gratiot Meijer store on a busy Saturday afternoon.

After the conviction, investigators in Michigan, California and Colorado determined Ylen had reported that she had been sexually assaulted in other instances, but those crimes could not be substantiated. In light of that evidence, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Grissom should receive a new trial.

Wendling, deciding there was not sufficient evidence to convict Grissom a second time, dropped the charges. 

Grissom was released from custody Nov. 19, after almost a decade behind bars.

Maria Miller, Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office spokeswoman, said Ylen’s false-report case is being reviewed before next steps are taken.

Separately, Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Brian Ferguson is conducting a fraud investigation involving Ylen. Details about that case have not been released.

The Times Herald normally does not identify victims of sexual assault. Ylen was identified when she asked the paper to tell her story.