Fake sexual assault tale draws serious warning

By Amie Hickland

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A 25-year-old Masterton woman who fabricated a story of sexual assault after a male strip show has been described as "disgraceful" as Wairarapa police warn others who make up complaints will be dealt with.

The woman has been charged with making a false statement after she told police she was sexually assaulted after the Body Heat show at Greytown Rugby Club last week.

This is one of the many false complaints police receive regularly and about 8 per cent of sexual violence cases reported to them are categorised as false complaints.

The woman was at the show last Wednesday night when she called police and claimed to have been sexually assaulted.

She told police she was assaulted by a man she had met at the show shortly after leaving, but waited two days before contacting police to let them know she made it up.

An extensive and time-consuming investigation had not led to any corroborative evidence being found.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Brent Register would not speak about what the woman had reported to police.

He said the fake complaint was not made against one of the members of the show.

Mr Register said there were some thoughts as to why the woman would make up the story but would not reveal these when questioned by the Times-Age.

He said police did occasionally receive false complaints which take up valuable time.

"What's really horrible about that is sexual assault is such a nasty crime and we take it very seriously."

Detective Mike Smith said it was disappointing when people wasted the time of police and other supporting agencies.

"Complaints of this nature inevitably tie up a lot of resources, and leave communities very concerned and in doubt as to their own safety," he said.

"I wish to reassure the public that all complaints made to police will be taken seriously, and thoroughly investigated. But I also wish to remind those who make complaints to police knowing that the information is false and misleading, they will face consequences."

He acknowledged it is difficult for sexual assault victims to come forward and said police do everything they can to support victims through the process.

"We take all complaints of sexual violence seriously.

"If you report any kind of sexual violence, you will be treated with respect and given confidentiality."

The Wairarapa promoter of the strip show, Rob Slater, said it was a shame the night had been blighted by the serious accusation.

He said it was an "uncomfortable" experience for the few men involved with the event.

"I think it was disgraceful that someone would waste so much police time," he said. "The night itself was fantastic."

The woman will appear in court at a later date and the maximum penalty is up to three years' imprisonment.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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