ST. GEORGE – The resolution of a court case involving a 2012 false rape report and related items was pushed back an additional 30 days Wednesday so attorneys can adequately prepare for the hearing.
The case involves Sarah Elizabeth Rutz, 26, of St. George, who was arrested in September 2012 on charges stemming from filing a false rape report and accepting money from a state victims reparations fund. The ongoing police investigation eventually determined the report to be falsified, as new evidence came to light.
St. George Police Department Det. Terrance Taylor testified during a preliminary hearing in January 2013 that Rutz had come up with the rape story to cover up an affair with a man she me via craigslist.
Rutz has been charged with three class-B misdemeanors involving making false reports to police, as well as a second-degree felony for filing a fraudulent crime victim reparations claim.
Money from the fund can be granted to a victim in order to cover expenses caused by criminal activity. The reparation can cover property damage, medical or counseling expenses, relocation costs if a victim can no longer reside in his/her current location safely, burial and funeral costs, etc.
Rutz entered a not guilty plea and a two-day jury trial was set for July. The case has since moved toward a resolution phase. A hearing was originally scheduled for Sept. 4, with a subsequent rescheduling for Sept. 18.
The case has been rescheduled for Oct. 16 at 9 a.m., to allow attorneys involved to complete preparations for the pending resolution hearing.
It is common in the court system for hearing dates to be rescheduled as needed to ensure all sides are adequately prepared to present their side of a case.
Origin of the false report
Rutz, who reported to police in May 2012 she had been raped while jogging into on the bike path that leads into a tunnel under Sunset Boulevard. A post-rape examination at Dixie Regional Medical Center produced DNA that did not match any known sex offenders listed on a national database.
During the investigation, the police gained access to deleted emails from April 2012 between Rutz and an individual she met over craigslist. Police traced the emails to a residence in St. George. Police contacted a married man at the residence who acknowledged the emails were his. The man said he and Rutz had been a consensual sexual affair that culminated in a physical encounter on May 2, 2012. The man’s DNA also matched the sample taken from Rutz’s examination.
The police took the new evidence was taken to Rutz who initially denied the affair, then admitted to it, calling it a one time thing. Rutz told investigators she became overwhelmed by what had happened and was apprehensive of how her husband and others she knew would react if news of the affair got out. She ultimately came up with the rape story while out jogging, claiming that a man dressed all in black had attacked and raped her.
Ed. note: Persons charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.