A Portland woman who claimed to have been raped on the Back Cove Trail has recanted her accusation. The 34-year-old told the police that she was raped on Wednesday. The police responded by increasing patrols in the area.
The police also launched an investigation, interviewing hikers, sending out police dogs, even working up a sketch of the non-existent rapist. Some people even helpfully volunteered that they had been in the vicinity at the time of the false rape, but had not seen the attack (how does one witness something that never happened). When the detectives grew suspicious based on contradictions between the woman’s statements and their other interviews, she admitted to the lie.
Police refused to publically identify the false accuser, saying the she was under investigation for filing a false report.
Police Chief Michael Sauschuck worried that false reports of a rapist might cause needless “trauma” to the community. He was also worried that false rape report would lead people to be skeptical (they might not BELIEVE HER? No!) and dissuade actual rape victims from reporting crimes.
Sauschuck refused to disclose how many man-hours and other resources were wasted on this false rape wild goose chase. Others in the department voiced their skepticism of the accuser’s story, based on the time of day and high traffic in the area of the false rape, but they investigated the crime thoroughly and treated the false rape report as though it were true.
This case is remarkably similar to another false rape case from 2010, in which Maryann Morin lied about being gang raped by five black men on the trail because she had gotten into a fight with her partner. The court fined Morin $2,200 for filing a false police report. The penalty for rape in Maine is 10 to 30 years.