Woman lied about campus attack, UPD says

Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 4:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 4:46 p.m.

A woman student who said she was attacked outside a campus building on Oct. 1 made up the story and will face punishment, University of Florida Police said Wednesday afternoon.

Sarah Lawrence, 20, told police she was walking near Weimer Hall around 9:30 p.m. when a man armed with a knife tried to sexually assault her, according to the UPD Criminal Investigations Unit.

"There were a considerable amount of law enforcement resources expended into the investigation of this incident," UPD spokesman Major Brad Barber said, "all of which could have been used in the investigation of actual crime."

Barber said Lawrence admitted falsifying her story after detectives found inconsistencies in her account.

"Essentially they asked her some questions," he said, "and the answers conflicted with other aspects of the investigation."

Detectives are filing a sworn complaint against the woman, Barber said.

State Attorney Bill Cervone said this type of situation is not rare. "This comes up fairly often," he said.

Cervone explained that the department is sending a message that this will not be tolerated. He said his office would take the appropriate action depending on the case.

"There could be consequences," he said. "In an appropriate case if the circumstances warranted it we can and would prosecute it, but the sentencing is up to the judge."

When reached for comment, Lawrence said the incident was "a mess up and a bump in the road."

"Something happened in my life, something got out of hand basically, and it didn't have to be that way," she said. "It became a bigger deal by itself, and it kept going I guess."

Lawrence said she made a mistake and worried that she might lose her job and get suspended from college.

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