Woman sentenced in false rape report case

ST. GEORGE – A woman who pleaded guilty to faking a rape report and committing fraud was sentenced in Fifth District Court in St. George Wednesday.

Sarah Elizabeth Rutz. 27, of St. George, was arrested in September 2012 on charges related to filing a false rape report with police and then accepting money from the state’s crime victim reparation fund based on the false filing. Money from the fund is granted to victims to help cover expenses caused by criminal activity, such as property damage, medical and/or counseling costs, and so on.

Rutz had told the police she was raped in May 2012 while out jogging. As the investigation unfolded, evidence supplied to police by Rutz’s husband determined she had concocted the rape story in order to cover up an affair.

This was a very serious crime,” said Brian Filter, deputy Washington County attorney. “It had quite an impact on a lot of people.”

Those impacts included wasting police time and resources, Filter said, as well as causing fear in the community that a rapist was on the loose. As well, because someone made false accusations, it could result in real victims not being believed in the future.

Sarah Elizabeth Rutz, St. George, Utah, September 2012 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Police Department
Sarah Elizabeth Rutz, St. George, Utah, September 2012 | Photo courtesy of the St. George Police Department

In March a plea agreement was reached in which Rutz pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony for accepting the money based on a fraudulent claim, and a class-B misdemeanor for giving police false information.

Details of the plea agreement were originally hashed out while Judge James Shumate oversaw the case. Judge Michael Westfall inherited the case following Shumate’s retirement. Some aspects of the original plea agreement had since been modified.

Rutz will serve 30 days in jail to be served two days weekly, serve 100 hours of community service, be on supervised probation for 36 months, and pay $26,559 back to the state’s victims reparation fund. The third-degree felony may be reduced to a class-A misdemeanor upon successful completion of probation.

Rutz will also have to complete a recommended mental health treatment program, and write three letters of apology to people affected by the case. Those letters will go to her family, the St. George Police Department, and her former coworkers at SkyWest Airlines.

Kenneth Combs, Rutz’s attorney, objected to his client writing a letter to her former coworkers, but Westfall imposed that aspect of the sentencing anyway.

Rutz’s coworkers said they felt taken advantage of by her behavior, Filter said. They told him they had helped with babysitting and time off on Rutz’s behalf, he said, while she recovered from a rape that turned out to be a hoax.

They felt quite victimized,” Filter said.

In May 2012, Sarah Elizabeth Rutz told St. George Police she had been attacked and raped while jogging on a city path that dipped into a tunnel that ran under Sunset Boulevard near Dixie Downs Drive. The Police took the report and also eventually released an artist composite of the man that allegedly raped Rutz. As the investigation progressed, Rutz’s husband supplied police with deleted emails he found between his wife and a man in St. George. It was soon uncovered by the police that the two had had a short-lived affair.

Once confronted with the evidence, Rutz told police she had panicked and was afraid of how others would react if news of the affair got out. That is when she thought up the rape story.

Kenneth Combs, Rutz’s attorney, did not respond to calls for comment.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

 

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7 Comments

  • S. Carter May 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Thank god no one was falsely imprisoned because some … decided to cheat on her husband. Justice served!!!
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • Cara of Course May 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Good! She should be punished. And to be honest, I personally feel like her sentance is not nearly harsh enough for the crime she comitted. Seriously who in the … in their “so called” right mind files and fakes a rape report and incident that actually never even occurred. And then profits and recieves financial gain from something that essentially is a very painful, life changing and quite possibly defining moment in an individuals life. I just don’t get it. It’s a sad day when you come to the realization that really the majority of people these days really just SUCK!!
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • skip2maloo May 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Many divorced or divorcing parents file fake reports of child abuse (which often includes coaching the child to lie) in order to gain an advantage in custody decisions if not remove the other parent from the child’s life. It, too, is a violation of others that has lasting impacts on their development and wel-being. I’ve experienced this, and no sufficient words express how dreadful it is to be estranged from your own child. But all we seem to do is shake our heads and assume that there’s nothing that can be done. The courts sure dont seem much interested in pursuing evident falsifications and perjury.

  • Mean momma May 23, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    How does someone like that get a job with Skywest but I can’t? I graduated with a degree in travel and tourism and a 4.0 and have been trying for years to work for them. Maybe the affair she was having was with a Skywest bigwig?

    • t May 24, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Trust me, you dont want to work there. Only the higher ups get any form of decent treatment and good luck trying to use your flight benefits (which you have to pay 300 a year for anyway). There wages are ridiculously low- with my degree in my particular field, I could have made 60k starting pay anywhere else – skywest acted like 28k was great pay because I got flight benefits too. They don’t tell you that you can’t ever get time off and good luck getting on a flight. Got stuck in Atlanta for 3 days and had to pay 400$ for a one way ticket back home. Morale sucks there. Look elsewhere, trust me!

      • Mean momma May 25, 2014 at 7:44 pm

        Thanks for the heads up T. I have pretty much given up any hope of ever working there anyway.

  • zzzz May 24, 2014 at 11:47 am

    keep her a felon. lock her up at least a year. make her register as a sex offender too. what a lowlife

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