Rape hoax defendant pleads not guilty

March 31, 2013 at 5:24 PM
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SANTA CRUZ, Calif., March 31 (UPI) -- A judge has ordered a California woman who admitting to a rape hoax not to use the Internet except for schoolwork and to keep getting mental health counseling.

Morgan Triplett, 20, a University of California-Santa Barbara student, pleaded not guilty in a Santa Cruz court Friday to a misdemeanor charge of making a false report about a rape when she was on the UC Santa Cruz campus, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.

Prosecutor Johanna Schonfield said Triplett's mental health issues were a contributing factor in the hoax.

"Ms. Triplett essentially orchestrated this event. This case caused a lot of widespread fear in the community," Schonfield said in court.

If convicted, Triplett faces as much as six months in jail and would have to reimburse Santa Cruz police for the additional police protection services put in place after she posted ads on Craigslist -- one saying she was "looking for a gun owner to shoot me in the arm/shoulder with the smallest caliber bullet possible. No charges will be filed and I am willing to compensate you. I need this to happen tonight, Feb. 16."

A second post the same night, titled "Seeking Strong Hand," said Triplett wanted someone to "beat me up," including "punches, bruises and kicks."

Triplett met one of the men who replied. He agreed to beat her in exchange for sex.

Triplett made the false report to 911, but aroused suspicion when she said she didn't want her clothing taken for evidence, nor did she want DNA samples taken from her body sent to the Department of Justice for tests.

Triplett subsequently admitted the police report was false. The man who attacked Triplett is not expected to be prosecuted, prosecutors said.

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