UCSC police conclude reported campus sexual assault did not occur

UC police logoUC Santa Cruz police officers have concluded that a sexual assault that was alleged to have occurred on campus on the afternoon of Sunday, February 17, did not take place.

Police chief Nader Oweis announced today that the alleged victim has admitted to UCSC police investigators that she staged the attack and fabricated the report. Oweis said other evidence corroborated her admission.

Oweis, who is prohibited from identifying the 21-year-old woman, said the investigation has concluded and that the entire matter will be forwarded to the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution. There have been no arrests in the case to date.

Oweis said it is important for the campus and Santa Cruz communities to know that the sexual assault did not take place. "The report of this incident has very understandably created a deep sense of unease among UCSC students, staff, and faculty, as well as residents of the Santa Cruz area," he said.

The 21-year-old, who said she was visiting the campus, originally told police she was raped and physically assaulted shortly after noon that Sunday in a remote area adjacent to the campus's Classroom Unit buildings.

"Our officers, with a great deal of support from Santa Cruz City Police Department and the District Attorney's Office, have worked almost 'round the clock on this since the attack was first reported 11 days ago," Oweis said. "I'm grateful for everyone's considerable efforts."

Oweis said that several campus safety measures that were put into place following the report of the alleged attack — increased police and security patrols; a nighttime safety escort service on campus — would continue for the time being. "The Santa Cruz community has seen a spike in violent crime in recent weeks. Keeping these measures in place is the right thing to do."

As UCSC police now know that the sexual assault did not occur, the campus has rescinded the $5,000 reward it had offered last week for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the alleged assailant.


Editor's Note: UCSC Police Chief Nader Oweis is available to speak about this case. To schedule an interview with him, please call UCSC Public Affairs at 831-459-2495.