Campus threat concludes in false claims

At 7:30 in the morning on April 24, 2010, Oakland University student Jessica Joe was allegedly in the parking lot outside of CVS Pharmacy at Adams and Walton. While not too far from her residence on campus, Joe was pulled into a van parked next to her car by two men. After both of the men pulled off her clothing, one of the men drove around the lot while the other raped her. After an unknown period of time, Joe was pushed out of the van and the attackers fled.

Students may have heard this event reported by Oakland University’s emergency services. What students might not be aware of, however, is that the story had been completely falsified.

After an investigation was conducted, detectives from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office in Rochester Hills declared that the report was false. There was no kidnapping. There was no rape. Not even black tire marks left in the CVS parking lot. All that was left behind was an e-mail of warning to Oakland students, as well as a following e-mail to those enrolled in summer courses that the report was made up.

“When someone falsely claims a kidnapping and sexual assault, it makes it that much harder on the real assault victims and wastes precious police resources,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a recent press release. “It also strikes fear in the community based on a lie.”

According to the crime statistics released each year by the OUPD, hate crimes and criminal offenses committed on-campus, in residence halls, and even on public property adjacent to OU are very few, with the highest numbers in burglary and aggravated assault. There were 13 reports of burglary made in 2006, which remains the highest number over the documented years on OUPD’s website.

After the recent drug bust, OUPD said there is generally an intolerance to drug possession and sales on campus. The numbers of arrests on campus and around campus for drug law violations and liquor law violations are significantly higher than criminal offenses. Consistently each year, alcohol related arrests are nearly triple those of burglaries; in 2008, 66 arrests were made for liquor law violations in comparison to four assault reports.

Since the numbers of sex offenses on the list, both forcible and non-forcible, rarely break half a dozen each year, Joe’s report was considered an extreme case. Worse yet was the proximity to campus, which could result in a threat to Oakland students who lived on or around campus. According to the press release, the false report required over 45 hours of “numerous patrol deputies and detectives time, many who were called in on overtime believing two rapists were on the loose.”

Joe, charged with Filing a False Report of a Felony, was arraigned before 52-3 District Court Magistrate Marie Soma on Tuesday, May 4, and was released on a $10,000 personal bond.

Police suspected her integrity as she reported that she struggled and fought to get away from her assailants but showed no signs of marks or bruising on her body. Joe admitted to fabricating the story after detectives checked the store’s videotape at the entrance and fond that Joe was never seen entering or leaving the store. Employees told the detectives that no one fitting Joe’s description had been in the store.

Joe, in a later interview, said that she had never been in the CVS on the day she made the report.

Joe admitted that she filed the report to get attention and support from her boyfriend. The sheriff’s department intends to seek reimbursement on behalf of the City of Rochester Hills for all costs incurred for the investigation.

Since the case has been deemed completely false, Oakland students nor residents in the area need have any concern regarding the incident. A full list of OU’s crime statistics can be found at