Police: Woman Fakes Rape Claims To Try To Avoid Jail Time
Police say a Columbus woman wastes tax dollars and their time by claiming rape, only after officers arrest her for theft and drug charges.
Police say rape kit tests show she was never violated. Officers say the 31-year-old has been arrested three times this year and double that since the beginning of last year.
Detectives are frustrated with the lie they can't ignore. Each time, they say she's 'crying wolf' about something they take very seriously.
Franklin County jail video shows Angela Lee being arrested and booked into jail.
She is a common name among law enforcement in the area.
"Oh, we all know her name, as soon as we hear it," said Columbus Police Sgt. Terry McConnell.
Most recently, Lee was caught by Westerville Police for shoplifting at Kohl's.
According to the report, she tried to walk out with more than $200 dollars in stolen merchandise.
Police say she has a pattern. By the time she gets to jail on various charges, they say she typically claims to have been raped.
"We have to respond every time somebody alleges sexual assault," said Sgt. McConnell. "Once she usually starts through the process, she'll then say 'just forget it. I don't want to deal with it and take me to jail.' So, it's just kind of a stall tactic to keep from going to jail."
Lee's most recent Westerville police report refers to a previous rape claim after an arrest. The report says, "In that incident, the claim was found to be false and she was charged with falsification."
"In an interview with detectives, she admitted she just likes the attention she gets," said Sgt. McConnell.
Lee has been arrested a number of times, in a number of different cities, but Columbus police say most every time she's picked up, she claims she was sexually assaulted somewhere in this area of 161 & I-71 in Columbus, and that's when they step in.
"She's wasting tax payer money. It's ridiculous in how much time gets tied up with the detectives. The cost of processing those evidence kits, the medical bills that are incurred from it, when they're all lies," said Sgt. McConnell.
Despite taking time away from true victims, advocates applaud their thorough police work.
"When we still know the majority of sexual assault survivors don't report from fear of not being believed. So, although this happens, let's not be confused that we need to start by believing and most people aren't lying," said Susan Wismar, Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio.
Jail staff say Lee is currently at the hospital, for unrelated reasons, but is still in the jail's custody. Police say they will continue to do all they can to investigate her claims, despite her history of lies.
There are local resources for women and who have been raped and need to reach out for help. Visit: http://www.thejusticeleagueohio.org/resources