A student at Millersville University in Pennsylvania reported late Saturday night that two college-aged men on campus had raped her.
The woman made the report to campus police and was then taken to a hospital for treatment and testing. Campus police called in extra officers to assist in the hunt for the suspects and sent a text alert to the entire campus warning them of the incident and requesting they use a buddy system.
On Sunday, the police held a press conference about the incident and offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of the suspects.
But when investigators spoke to the woman again on Sunday, “she indicated that the assault didn’t happen,” according to the Harrisburg, Pa., ABC affiliate.
Peter Anders, Millersville University’s police chief, said he wouldn’t file charges against the woman for filing a false report because he believed she may have been assaulted weeks earlier and was only now coming forward.
"I do believe she is working through some things emotionally," Anders said, as quoted by ABC, "which may have forced her to come forward, then our first thought, is to support and care for her."
Anders said he would send a second text alert to students letting them know the assault didn’t happen.
This brings up a difficult question: What would it take for an accuser to be charged with filing a false report?
If the campus police officers find no indication that the woman was ever raped, will she then be charged?
If, as proponents of recent “yes means yes” laws contend, fear is a great motivator for ending campus sexual assault, then shouldn’t the fear of being charged with filing a false report reduce that possible outcome?
Update: Anders responded to an Examiner inquiry and indicated no charges would be filed against the woman:
"We would consider charges if the student had implicated others directly in the allegation, or if we felt she made the report to cause fear within our community. I feel from our investigation that neither of those existed. Separate from criminal charges, the University may consider a student sanction or a medical separation for the student. At this time, our focus has been on her wellness."