Police: Student confesses to fabricating sex assault at UH Hilo

Police: Student confesses to fabricating sex assault at UH Hilo

HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted in a University of Hawaii at Hilo bathroom last week lied, according to Big Island police. She had told authorities that a man attacked her with a knife in a campus restroom last week Tuesday. She described him and his getaway vehicle, but detectives noticed some discrepancies in her story during their investigation. Police said the 19-year-old eventually confessed that she made up the assault. They notified the university, but didn't provide an explanation for the lie.

"Nobody knows. They don't even know. Everybody is confused right now," said Jerry Chang, UH Hilo's director of university relations. "Obviously she needs some help. She's probably crying out for help."

The school came under criticism last week for not alerting students about the alleged crime until two days later.

"Although we had our doubts, we needed to warn them because we were getting flack from parents saying our kids should be warned," Chang explained.

University officials said much of the initial information came from social media instead of a report filed with police or campus security.

"We were presented with inconsistent information and given what we knew, when we knew it, we responded and made our decisions responsibly," said Chang.

Despite the false report, the school said heightened security will remain in place with increased patrols around the new dorms.

"We feel that the campus needs to heal now as we all are secondary victims to this situation, especially the complainant's friends and family," Chang said.

The woman was taking classes at Hawaii Community College and worked as a student helper for a UH Hilo faculty member, according to Chang. Police have initiated a misdemeanor false report investigation, but it's unclear if the case will be sent to the prosecutor's office. Hawaii News Now contacted the woman, but she declined to comment about the latest development.

Chang said this latest incident is unrelated to a sex assault reported to campus security in October. The alleged victim in that case decided not to pursue a police report.

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