A 15-year-old girl claimed on January 6 that she had been raped while out jogging in North Port, Florida.
She said she was out jogging when a man attacked her and raped her, before allegedly fleeing in a car. She provided police with a DNA sample and a helped create a sketch of the man she says attacked her.
“Someone grabbed her, threw her on the ground, raped her and left,” Josh Taylo, a spokesperson for the police department, told Fox 13. “This wasn’t just a random, ‘Hey, look there’s a crime of opportunity, I’m going to take advantage of her.’ It was a targeted attack.”
At the time, police were considering whether the alleged attacker knew the victim. DNA samples were sent for testing to the state lab.
“The DNA will tell a lot, typically,” Taylor told Fox 13. “That takes time and in the meantime, you could potentially have someone like this roaming the streets.”
The outlet spoke to a neighbor who lives in the neighborhood where the attack allegedly occurred. The girl’s accusation made the neighbor worried about walking alone outside.
“That’s scary. It’s right across the street. And apparently the girl was just walking or jogging and was attacked by this man,” said neighbor Rebecca Higgins “I won’t walk with her by myself. I won’t come out really with her by myself because I’m afraid now. We don’t even know who the guy is.”
NBC 2 reported that the girl claimed to have been attacked in broad daylight and described her attacker as a 36 to 38 year-old man about 5’8” tall with dark hair and a goatee. She claimed the man fled the scene in a black four-door vehicle.
The North Port Police Department said it spent the next week investigating the teenager’s claims by speaking with neighbors and business owners in the area. Police determined something just wasn’t right about the girl’s story – they couldn’t find any witnesses or video of the alleged incident despite it taking place in broad daylight.
Police spoke to the girl again and she admitted to making the story up to get attention. Police released a statement to the media on Friday, saying it would “continue to investigate all reports such as this with the rigor and respect they deserve.”
“False reports of this nature are not taken lightly and can impact the perception of real reports of sexual battery,” the statement said. “Anytime we have a report this serious, we simply can not take the chance of failing to educate the public when necessary.”
The police department did not respond to a Daily Wire inquiry about whether the teenager would face any consequences for her actions. So far it looks like that will not be the case. Fox 13 reported that police said they would not focus on getting the false accuser whatever help and support she needs.
NBC2 spoke to attorney and Florida Gulf Coast University professor Pamella Seay who suggested the girl would get better treatment because she was a teenager, but she also warned that false accusations hurt real victims.
“Think about the impact to the people who helped. The next time it happens, are they going to be a little more reluctant to step up and say oh, I’m going to help,” Seay told the outlet.
The attorney also said that adults filed the police report on behalf of the teenager, so they may be the ones to face punishment, if anyone is punished at all.