A Stanford University employee has been charged in connection with making false rape allegations against Black men last year, authorities said Wednesday.
Jennifer Gries, 25, of Santa Clara, is facing felony perjury among other charges, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
Gries was arrested Wednesday and is awaiting arraignment. She faces incarceration if convicted.
Gries told county sexual assault forensic exam nurses in August that she had been attacked by a Black man in a campus garage, and two months later reported being attacked again by a Black man in a storage closet, prosecutors said.
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The reports that prompted campuswide safety alerts were made up by Gries “due to being angry at a co-worker,” prosecutors said.
Gries under penalty of perjury twice attested that she was sexually assaulted in applications for public funds from the California Victim of Crimes Board.
“This is a rare and deeply destructive crime,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement.
“Our hearts go out to the falsely accused. Our hearts go out to students who had to look over their shoulders on their way to class. Our hearts go out to legitimate sexual assault victims who wonder if they will be believed.”
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Gries said she did not want law enforcement to contact her when she reported to Valley Medical Center for a sexual assault forensic exam on Aug. 9 and signed a consent form acknowledging that the nurse as a mandated reporter was required to notify law enforcement.
She reported to the nurse that she was raped by an unknown assailant she identified as a “late 20s, black male” in the Munger Residence Hall restroom, prosecutors said.
She reported that the assailant approached her when she going to her car, grabbed her, told her not to scream, and raped her, prosecutors said.
On Oct. 7, Gries reported to Stanford Hospital for another rape examination.
She told the nurse she was returning to her office from lunch when an unknown male grabbed her arm, took to her to the basement into a storage closet and raped her, prosecutors said.
She described the assailant as a Black male in his late 20s and again signed a consent form, acknowledging that the nurse is a mandated reporter.
“Both of Gries’s sexual assault examination kits were analyzed as priority rushes given the extreme public safety risk of a potential sex offender,” the DA’s Office said.
“The lab results were not consistent with her story.”
An ongoing investigation determined that Gries had made a recent sexual harassment complaint against a coworker who fit the description of the alleged assailant, and that Gries told an acquaintance that she was in a relationship with the man and named him (the actual victim in this case).
She said she was sexually assaulted by the victim and became pregnant with his twins before suffering a miscarriage.
“The investigation revealed that she was not pregnant at that time,” prosecutors said.
Gries wrote a letter of apology to the victim during a Jan. 24 interview with investigator Sheena Woodland, prosecutors said.