Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Harrisburg, PA: False rape allegations affect police, the community and future victims

In the past year there have been at least three times where someone reported a rape or abduction in our area, which turned out to be false.

On June 6, Silver Spring Township police dealt with a false rape report after a woman said she was thrown into a van and raped on June 2.
On May 24th, in Lancaster City, a woman told police she was abducted and shoved into a trunk. It lead police on a five-hour manhunt. Turns out, she was allegedly making the whole thing up.

Also in May, police say a 15-year-old girl lied about an assault and fighting off her four attackers. That one happened in York County.

And who could forget the report that put the community on edge about an alleged rape at the CVS parking lot on Allentown Boulevard in Dauphin County back in 2011. Amber Adams later admitted she made up the story.

Kristen Houser is with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. She says national statistics show that it's estimated between two and eight percent of reported rapes are false.

"People have a lot of things going on in their life. They may be looking for a distraction, they may looking for support from other people," said Kristen Houser, PA Coalition Against Rape.

Sergeant Shawki Lacey is with the Susquehanna Township Police Department. He says falsely reporting a crime not only effects the person accused and the alleged victim, but it takes a toll on the community as well.

"It causes an uproar in the community, no one wants crime in their community, especially crimes of violence against persons," Sergeant Shawki Lacey, Susquehanna Township Police Department.

When someone reports a fake crime, that also takes police away from real crimes they could be investigating.

"Basically you have officers, detectives, forensics of multiple jurisdictions potentially, labs are all working on this common goal to try to identify who committed this crime, arresting that person," said Sgt. Lacey.

Sergeant Lacey says if you report a false crime, you could be charged with anything from a misdemeanor to a felony and face jail time.

In addition, the person who you falsely accused could file a civil lawsuit against you.