Last August, a woman told the Desert Hot Springs Police Department in California that her ex-boyfriend raped her. After he was arrested, however, she said she decided to tell the truth.
The woman, who was not named in media reports, initially told police last year that she was lying in bed with him and refused to cuddle with him, so he got on top of her and groped and raped her. She claimed she told her ex-boyfriend “no” several times and bit and scratched him to prove this was rape. She also told police he had “done this before,” according to The Davis Vanguard.
But on Tuesday during the preliminary hearing at Riverside County Superior Court, the woman admitted she made the false accusation because she was mad at her ex-boyfriend. She admitted in court that the sex between her and her ex-boyfriend on August 14, 2020, was consensual and that she called police because she was angry after finding out her ex was going to take out a restraining order against her for destroying his property, including a TV.
The woman said in court that when she “calmed down,” she “realized what I had falsely accused him of.”
Deputy District Attorney Shea Strand asked the woman at what point she calmed down, to which she responded: “I calmed down real quick when I saw him in handcuffs.”
Emmanuel Arista, the officer who arrested the falsely accused man, confirmed that the woman told him during the arrest that she “didn’t think it would go this far.”
The woman claimed she began trying to reach the police and prosecutors to get the charges dropped as soon as the man was arrested. She said she even went to the police department and District Attorney’s office, but “no one was able to help her.”
In October 2020, the Vanguard reported, the woman met with the accused man and his defense attorney, Christopher DeSalva, to come up with a statement where she would admit she lied to police and ask that the charges be dropped.
Strand, the prosecutor in the case, asked the woman why it took her until October “to give a different story?” The woman claimed she had been confused and didn’t know what to do, adding that she tried to contact authorities but that no one responded. Strand then pointed out “small semantic inconsistencies in the witness’s statements and wording,” the Vanguard reported, which confused the woman.
Strand then said the woman’s story was inconsistent because she couldn’t remember the date it happened or the last time she had consensual sex with her ex-boyfriend. But Strand also argued that the accuser had no reason to have consensual sex with her ex-boyfriend since they were broken up and seeing other people (as if that’s ever stopped anyone before) and brought up the scratch and bite marks she initially claimed were evidence of fighting back.
The accuser in court testified she actually left those marks as a threat to the other women her ex-boyfriend was seeing.
Defense attorney DeSalva noted that just because the woman and man weren’t a couple didn’t mean they couldn’t have consensual sex.
“There is no question,” DeSalva said, according to the Vanguard, “based on the testimony in today’s preliminary hearing under oath, based on the declaration that this young woman signed, that there is no jury that is reasonable that could find [the defendant] guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Judge Dean Benjamini agreed and dismissed the charges against the man. It is currently unclear whether the woman will be charged with the false accusation, though it is unlikely based on how rarely women are charged for attempting to destroy a man’s life.
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