Crime

KU student’s false rape report trial set for 2020; prosecutor asked for more time

The trial for a KU student accused of making a false rape report will be delayed until next year, a judge ruled Wednesday.

A Douglas County prosecutor had asked the judge to either prohibit certain expert witnesses for the defense from testifying or reschedule the trial to a later date.

The prosecution argued that the defense provided information about those witnesses too close to the trial, which was originally scheduled for Oct. 28.

Judge Amy Hanley opted to delay the trial rather than exclude the witnesses, saying in a hearing Wednesday that the defense had provided the information within the time frame she had set and that timing was not an appropriate reason to exclude the witnesses.

However, she said, the prosecution’s need for additional time to investigate and prepare rebuttal to those experts was reason to delay the trial.

The trial is now scheduled for Jan. 6 through Jan. 16.

False report investigation

The woman was charged in January with three counts of making a false report after she told police a year ago that she had been raped by the friend of her ex-boyfriend. She faces up to 23 months in prison.

Her attorneys maintain that she is innocent and that the case has been mishandled by the Lawrence Police Department and the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.

Douglas County 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.

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Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson Office of the Douglas County District Attorney

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

The trial will start just two days before the woman would be entitled to be freed from liability for the crime because the the court took too long to bring the case to trial.

On Oct. 30 Judge Hanley will rule on a separate motion filed by the prosecutor last week to limit evidence and defense attorney’s conduct in court.

In the motion, the prosecutor requested the judge prohibit evidence relating to the accused man’s reputation from being presented in court.

The prosecutor also wanted the judge to issue a “gag order” on the woman and her attorneys, preventing them from speaking with news media or publishing information about the trial prior to its conclusion.

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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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