ST. GEORGE – A St. George woman was arrested Tuesday for reporting a false rape and committing fraud.
Almost five months ago law enforcement officials in St. George received a call that initiated an investigation into an alleged rape incident. A 25-year-old female from St. George told officials she was running along the city trail by Sunset Boulevard, when she was attacked, knocked down, and raped.
However, in the last few days, the woman went back on her original account, and told officials the original story was a false claim. Additionally, the evidence collected throughout the investigation does not support the original claim; most likely ruling out the potential of a fear-based recantation.
“We’re there to gather facts, and we treat it like a legitimate crime,” said Capt. Kyle Whitehead, head of the Investigations Division for the St. George Police Department. “We make sure we’re covering all avenues until we can either prove or disprove, and find out what the truth is.”
Many reports of this nature are legitimate, so the occasional false claim should not lead citizens to take future claims lightly. Furthermore, for whatever motive people have in making such claims, it is important to know that the St. George Police Department does not take it lightly, and the penalties associated with these cases are severe.
In addition to the false report, it was determined by the detective working on the case that the woman had committed fraud in obtaining money as a victim of the alleged rape from the Utah State Crime Victims Reparations. Current bail is set at $12,500.
The woman was arrested and booked into jail with a felony and multiple misdemeanors, which, if she is proven guilty, can add up to over 16 years in prison.
St. George Police and investigators expend their time, effort and resources to find criminals, and when they are chasing false claims it wastes resources that could have been spent on actual crimes.
“When these things do happen we are going to go through every case thoroughly,” Whitehead said. “We want our community to be safe, and we want our citizens to be safe.”
After additional research and evidence, officials have determined the woman’s original statement to be false, and have moved on to the next phase of charging her.
“We are confident at this point that there is not an un-apprehended rapist on the trails of St. George,” said Brian Filter, senior deputy attorney of the Washington County Attorney’s Office. “People should know that they are safe using the trail system.”
Officials emphasize that the community is safe, and citizens should not worry about frequenting city trails, but to continue to be prudent when doing so, especially at night and in obscured areas.
* Persons accused are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
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