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Transgender student in California recants sexual assault story

A high school student in Hercules, Calif., has admitted to lying about a sexual assault in the boys bathroom of his school.
By Kate Stanton Follow @KateStan Contact the Author   |   March 5, 2014 at 6:24 PM
HERCULES, Calif., March 5 (UPI) -- Police in Hercules, Calif., said Tuesday that an unidentified Hercules High School student, who was born female but identifies as a male, recanted his sexual assault accusations, just a day after he said three classmates physically and sexually assaulted him in a campus bathroom.

The 15-year-old student admitted to lying about the attack after investigators found no evidence of bodily injury. They also scoured the bathroom for clues, and planned to prosecute the case as a hate crime.

"We were unable to substantiate any of the statements he made," Hercules Police Det. Connie Van Putten said in a statement.

West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education President Charles Ramsey said he was "relieved" the attack never occurred, but said the community still needed to work on its outreach and anti-bullying programs.

"Yes, it is a cry for help and we need to be supportive and compassionate and reach out. This child is just 15-years-old,” he said. “We have to find out what’s going on in the home, what’s going on in their neighborhood, what’s going on with the fact that you are transgender. Are they suffering bullying? Was this a cry for help? We don’t want to minimize that.”

Authorities are still deciding whether to press charges against the student.

“At this point, we have not decided,” Van Putten said. “He would be referred to the juvenile justice system.”

The supposed attack accusation had reignited discussion about AB 1266, a very new California law that allows transgender students to use the bathrooms that best match their gender identity.

Tiffany Woods, a transgender program manager in Fremont, told the Mercury News that a student would have only made up such a story if their were a real, underlying problem.

"Transgender students don't tend to fabricate stories like this and bring scrutiny onto themselves," she said. "There's more to the story that is obviously not being reported, but I don't think we know yet."

[LA Times, CBS SF, Mercury News]

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