Police: Reports of Attacks Untrue - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/10/05

Police: Reports of Attacks Untrue

Groves High in Garden City. Groves High in Garden City.

After weeks of investigation, Garden City and campus police made a bombshell announcement. They said reported attacks on two Groves High School students were bogus.

These reports got a lot of attention. That's why police want their statement to get the attention it deserves.

Three community leaders who have a legitimate concern for safety at Groves High--Garden City police chief David Lyons, campus police chief Ulysses Bryant, and Garden City mayor Andy Quinney--stood together to make the statement to the public that two reports of attacks at the school are not true.

"The evidence just doesn't support the allegations made to us," Chief Lyons said.

On March 28, a 16-year-old girl told police someone tried to rape her in the high school bathroom. Police believe something sexual did happen, but they say it was consensual.

"We probably interviewed 60-plus people that we identified, we did numerous truth-detection processes, voice layering, computerized voice stress analysis, several polygraphs," said Chief Lyons. "And in each test and polygraph it showed the allegations did not happen the way they were reported."

Then three weeks later, on April 19, another student said two men attacked her in the bathroom at Groves. "The second case was just an outright fabrication," Lyons said.

This news comes as a surprise to many students and parents who protested for school safety in light of these reported attacks. That's why Garden City and campus police say it's important they let the public know the truth about what did not happen.

"Yes, we have taken quite a beating," said Chief Bryant. "People have been disturbed and in some cases outraged."

And one of those people outraged is Dawn Sample, the mother of one girl who said she was attacked. "The only reason I'm doing this interview is because I'm not going to let Garden City be the last word," she told us.

Even though police say the girls made up their stories about people attacking them, Sample says police are wrong. She says it's her daughter, and she knows her better than anyone else.

Sample couldn't be more proud of her daughter, even on a day like today. "I guess as a mom seeing her go though this is really hard, knowing who she is," she told us.

She says her daughter is a cheerleader and a popular girl in school. Not a drama queen or a liar.

"This happened to her," she said. "She goes to a counselor at the children's advocacy center, she sees a psychiatrist. This happened."

The 16-year-old says someone tried to rape her in the bathroom on March 28, ripping her shirt and knocking her against the wall.

"We went into this believing 100 percent that it did happen and all the interviews and tests were done in an attempt to prove it did happen and identify the person who did it," said Chief Lyons.

Police say the evidence shows there was no attack, and anything sexual that happened was consensual.

Dawn Sample disagrees wholeheartedly. "I think their investigation was not done properly."

And she says she has evidence of her own, like a pap smear and a private lie-detector test her daughter took.

But police say they have all the evidence they need on this attack and the other reported in April to prove they just did not happen.

Sample says she's not sure what if anything she will do to further try to prove her daughter is telling the truth.

As far as the second girl who reported being attacked, her mother called us today and said her daughter is also telling the truth and said she's furious with the Garden City Police Department.

Police could charge the girls with filing false reports, but at this point they don't plan to. In fact, technically they are keeping these cases open.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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