Volume 90, Issue 87

Tuesday, March 11, 1997



Abduction story false

By Kevin Gale
Gazette Staff

A Western student who misled police last week has avoided prosecution after falsely claiming to have been the victim of an attempted abduction which she alleged occurred on campus.

On the morning of March 6, a 22-year-old female Western student contacted London Police Force complaining she had been forced into a car by two males in the traffic circle outside the Dental Sciences Building. She said she escaped by kicking one of the assailants in the groin.

However, Sgt. Jack Churney said later the girl admitted the incident was a hoax. "She made the story up because she was not prepared for an exam and was having problems with her boyfriend."

Churney said the police had the option of charging the girl with public mischief but instead decided to clear up the incident by giving her a warning.

Dave Crombie, co-ordinator of Western's Foot Patrol, said this type of hoax affects credibility with police for people who are legitimately in trouble. He added it is distressing for people in a similar legitimate situation to see someone else use a reason so callously for something so serious.

This incident follows a legitimate claim of attempted sexual assault against a female student in January, in which the victim was attacked from behind on University College Hill. The attack was thwarted by a man who yelled out from the top of the hill scaring the assailant away.

Crombie said his group provides impartial service to anyone who calls them for help and does not deal with criminal matters on their own.

Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department said the impact of last Thursday's initial report will not go away with the news the incident was false, as a large percentage of people will still believe the attempted abduction was true.

Earle added the false reporting may also cause students in real trouble to be reluctant to come forward for fear they will not be taken seriously.

However, recent efforts between Foot Patrol, the UPD and other members of the Western community to improve campus safety will not be set back by the incident, he said. "Most people will see this as a one-time incident. Most members of the community know the potential is certainly still existent."

Earle warned students to think carefully about the potential criminal charges facing them when they choose to make up a situation. "If this should happen again, the impact might be more significant," he said.

Earle said in his 13 years with the UPD, incidents of false reporting to police have only happened two or three times. He added the UPD cannot press charges against the woman as they gave jurisdiction over to the LPF last Thursday.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997