New Zealand Police Vow Crackdown on False Sexual Assault Claims

Police in Palmerston North, New Zealand have become so exasperated at the level of false reporting of rape, that they are promising a crackdown and prosecution against people who make false statements about sexual assaults to police.

The Manawatu Evening Standard quoted Detective Sergeant Dave Clifford as saying that the volume of false reports had reached the level where it was diverting too many needed resources to investigate the false claims,

It would be close to one a week now and that’s too much. It’s got to the stage where we have to start locking them up.

. . .

It’s not unusual to have up to six staff investigating a complaint. We put all our resources into major investigations and rape is a major investigation.

Also, if someone is pointed out to us as an alleged offender, there is a stigma attached with that, too, because these things inevitably get out. And if the complainant does become a bona fide rape victim, their history of making false complaints can come back to haunt them. Police need some cynicism to help elicit the truth, but deepening that cynicism does a disservice to genuine victims.

Maybe we could transplant a bit of that common sense to this country.


Police sick of false sex complaints. Manawatu Evening Standard, January 14, 2004.

Why Would Anyone Lie About Rape?

When trying to assert that the feminist greatly underestimate the rate of false claims of rape, the usual rhetorical question posted by feminists is “Why would anyone lie about rape?” Well, in the case of three preteen California girls, they did it in order not to get in trouble for being late getting to school.

And their victim, a 36-year-old homeless man, spent eight months in jail before the lie was discovered.

Apparently fearful that their parents would be angry at them for being tardy, the three 11-year-olds told their parents and then police that transient Eric Nordmark had assaulted them in a nearby park. Nordmark was arrested, charged with seven counts of assault and child molestation, and incarcerated for eight months.

The girls were able to finger Nordmark through a police screwup. All three girls were shown the same photo lineup of possible suspects, allowing them to easily agree on which one they would identify and get their stories coordinated.

The Orange County district attorney’s office dropped the charges against Nordmark the same day they discovered the assault charges were false and have referred the three girls to juvenile court for making the false accusations.


Homeless man jailed 8 months on preteens’ bogus attack allegation. Associated Press, January 28, 2004.

Man Acquitted on Charges of Performing Oral Sex without Girlfriend’s Consent

The Nova Scotia Chronicle Herald reports that a jury in Sydney deliberated only 10 minutes to find a man not guilty of performing oral sex on his girlfriend without her consent. Apparently prosecutors in Canada don’t have much real crime to prosecute if they can devote resources to such ludicrous cases.

After having what the Chronicle Herald characterized as a “bitter fight” with her boyfriend, the woman went to police and reported that five days earlier she had awoken to find her boyfriend performing oral sex on her. The boyfriend testified that the woman was, in fact, awake throughout the sex act and, in fact, “moving around . . . [and] moaning.”

Apparently the jury found the case groan-inducing as well.


Cape Breton man found not guilty in oral sex case. The Chronicle Herald (Nova Scotia), January 29, 2004.

Woman Charged with False Rape Report After Athletes Secretly Videotape Her Extortion Attempt

In February, Sherri Ann Urbanic-Bach was charged with filing a false rape report, attempted extortion and prostitution in a case involving players with the St. John’s basketball team.

The basketball team travelled to Pittsburgh on February 4 where it played, and lost, to Pittsburgh 71-51. Around 2:30 a.m., several players met Urbanic-Bach and they went back to a hotel room where she had sex with a number of the players. Around 4:15 a.m., however, Urbanic-Bach called police and reported that she had been gang raped by the basketball players.

When police went to interview the players, however, the woman’s story was undone by a cell phone that one of the players had used to record part of their encounter with the women. The video showed the threatening the players that she would go to police and invent a rape story if they did not pay her the $600 that they had previously agreed to in exchange for sex.

Although all charges against the men were dropped, St. John’s expelled one of the players, permanently suspended another, and forced lesser disciplinary measures on the other four players.


Woman felt ‘violated’ when players refused to pay for sex. Jonathan D. Silver, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 6, 2004.

Woman Lied About Gang Rape by Players. Associated Press, February 6, 2004.

Johnnies on the sex spot. ROGER RUBIN, FERNANDA SANTOS, and DAVE GOLDINER, New York Daily News, February 6, 2004.

Tables Turned in Rape Investigation. CNN, January 6, 2004.

Woman charged with lying about gang rape. Associated Press, February 6, 2004.

Rape Allegation Adds to St. John’s Woes. Mike Crissey, Associated Press, February 6, 2004.

Amnesty International: Violence Against Women “Most Pervasive Human Rights Challenge”

In November, Amnesty International marked International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by arguing that violence against women is the “most pervasive human rights challenge” facing the world today. Unfortunately, Amnesty International appears to be relying on inflated activist figures for some of its claims.

Here’s a couple paragraphs from the BBC, for example, on Amnesty International’s take on women and human rights,

‘Violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human rights challenge of our times,” said Amnesty International.

According to the organization, 120 million women around the world are subjected to brutal female circumcision every year and in the United States alone 700,000 women are raped annually.

Huh? According to the National Crime Victimization Survey — which relies on interviews to estimate crime rates, including those that are never reported to police — in 2000 there were roughly 100,000 rapes in the United States. Even if you add in the crimes labeled as sexual assaults by the NCVS, you still end up with a number that’s more than 2/3rds lower than the Amnesty International figure.

If Amnesty International is willing to rely on such specious figures for its estimates of violent crime against women in the United States, how can its estimates for crime in other parts of the world be trusted?


Attacks on women ‘biggest issue’. The BBC, November 26, 2003.

Wendy McElroy on Prosecutorial Grandstanding in Rape Cases

Wendy McElroy wrote an excellent article about a disturbing dichotomy in accusations of rape — while the name of the alleged victim rarely appears, prosecutors face no compunction about grandstanding to humiliate the alleged assailant even before the completion of an investigation.

The focus of McElroy’s piece is the outrageous behavior of Paradise Valley, Arizona, police in announcing the day before the Fiesta Bowl that a woman had filed a complaint of rape against Kansas State quarterback Ell Roberson. As McElroy writes,

No charge had been filed: no arrest made, then or now. Roberson denied the accusation leveled against him mere hours before, early THursday morning. The Paradise Valley police simply “outed” an accused rapist before completing an investigation. The process of how police departments deal with sexual assault accusations should be overhauled.

The police seemed to knowingly inflict damage on Roberson with little evidence to do so. Lt. Ron Warner reportedly told journalists that there was “no supporting evidence, no witnesses, no physical injuries” surrounding the alleged rape. “We have two opposing descriptions of what happened,” he concluded. Paradise Valley Police Chief John Wintersteen subsequently explained, “the investigation is not done.” Medical tests on the accuser had not returned when Roberson’s name hit TV< nor were they expected until early next week.

In fact, the Paradise Valley police later concluded that the rape accusation was unfounded and declined to press charges against Roberson. That announcement, of course, did not receive nearly the same coverage or speculation that the original announcement.

McElroy notes this seems to be the rule lately with celebrity prosecutions. Someone in the Colorado District Attorney’s office produced inflammatory T-shirts related to the Kobe Bryant prosecution, while Santa Barbara County District Attorney Thomas W. Sneddon seems to think he’s doing an off-Broadway one-man review every time he talks about the Michael Jackson case. As McElroy concludes her piece,

As it stands, those who prosecute rape allegations are losing credibility. A legal system that mongers gossip to the media before concluding investigations, that prints humorous T-shirts about defendants and uses press conferences for comic relief does not engender trust in justice. It is a threat to justice in-and-of itself.


Prosecutor grandstanding undermines justice. Wendy McElroy, IFeminists.Net, January 6, 2004.