Friday, June 28, 2013

Prostitute makes false rape claim

QUEENSBURY -- The young woman who told police she was abducted and raped at a Queensbury town park has been charged with falsely reporting the attack after police determined she had been working as a prostitute and had arranged a sexual encounter with a man that night, police said.

The 17-year-old from Glens Falls was charged with misdemeanor counts of prostitution, falsely reporting an incident and making a false written statement to police for her report that she was raped at Hovey Pond Park the night of June 15. Her name is being withheld because of her age.

The man with whom she allegedly met that night, James M. Skidmore, 38, of Moreau, was charged with misdemeanor patronizing a prostitute after Warren County sheriff's officers determined he was the person the teen met that night and that he paid her for sex, authorities said.

Police learned of Skidmore's involvement with the teen when determining her rape claim was inaccurate, police and court records show.

Warren County sheriff's Lt. Steve Stockdale said police still do not know why the teen reported she had been abducted and sexually assaulted.

"We've gotten several different versions and I don't think we've gotten the whole story yet," he said. "We still have a lot of questions."

Police were able to determine through computer records that the girl had posted an ad on the Craigslist online marketplace website soliciting clients. Even though Craigslist has taken steps to ban prostitution, the girl used code words to communicate with clients, Stockdale said.

She was paid $150 by Skidmore for an encounter in the Northway Plaza parking lot the afternoon of June 15, court records allege.

The girl turned 17 just three weeks before the June 15 encounter, and if she was 16 she would not have legally been able to consent to sexual relations and Skidmore could have faced a statutory rape charge.

Stockdale said police had no evidence she was engaging in prostitution before she turned 17.

Court records show Skidmore admitted to police he knew the girl was 17, and that 17 was the age of legal consent. He also told police he bought her underwear.

"How old was she? She told me she was 17," Skidmore told sheriff's investigators, according to court records. "I don't understand, I went step by step, by the letter of the law."

Both Skidmore and the young woman were released pending prosecution in Queensbury Town Court.

The Queensbury Town Court file regarding the girl's case was sealed because she is considered a mandatory youthful offender charged with a misdemeanor at her age. The Post-Star generally does not publish the names of those under 18 charged with misdemeanors or less serious charges.