Crime

KU woman accused of false rape report going to trial; judge denies motions to dismiss

A Douglas County judge Thursday denied two motions to dismiss and suppress portions of the case against a KU student accused of falsely reporting a rape to Lawrence police.

The case, which was brought in January, will go to trial Oct. 28. The woman faces up to 23 months in prison for three felony counts of making a false report.

The woman’s attorneys say she is innocent and has been mistreated by the Lawrence Police Department and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office after she reported being raped by a friend of her ex-boyfriend in September 2018.

District Attorney Charles Branson says she fabricated the story out of regret and to get back at her ex-boyfriend. Text messages the woman sent the night of the incident indicated to police that the sex had been consensual, according to court documents.

The woman said in the court documents that the text messages were making light of the incident because she was not able to admit at that point that she had been raped.

The Star generally does not name possible victims of sexual assault or people accused of sexual assault if they have not been criminally charged.

At a hearing last week, her attorneys asked Judge Amy Hanley to dismiss two of the three counts brought against the woman, citing outrageous governmental conduct. And they asked that statements made when the woman was arrested be suppressed and not used in trial.

They argued that, after the woman made her initial report of sexual assault, police caused her to make the same report two more times in the course of the investigation. The judge ruled that police were working to investigate the crime, not add further charges.

The attorneys moved to suppress statements the woman made when she was arrested due to fifth and six amendment violations, but that motion was also denied. They argued that the detective interrogated the woman when he arrested her before reading her her Miranda rights.

The judge ruled that some of the statements were made after the woman had formally waived those rights. The questions posed by the detective prior to reading the defendant her rights, the judge said, did not constitute an interrogation and therefore did not violate the woman’s rights.

According to testimony and exhibits in last week’s hearing, the officer asked the woman if she would like to speak about the case. When she asked what he wanted her to say, he gave his opinion on the case and said he hoped for the truth.

The woman then said, “this happened,” referring to the alleged sexual assault.

The case is scheduled for a status hearing on Oct. 16. The trial is set to run from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1.

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Katie Bernard covers Kansas crime, cops and courts for the Kansas City Star. She joined the Star in May of 2019. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.
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