Friday, August 2, 2013

MD - Jury convicts Rockland woman (Octavia Faustini) of making false rape report

Rape cardOriginal Article


By Stephen Betts

ROCKLAND - A Knox County jury convicted a 30-year-old Rockland woman Thursday of making a false report to police about being sexually assaulted by a former boyfriend.

Octavia Faustini was convicted of two criminal charges — filing a false report and unsworn falsification.

Justice Jeffrey Hjelm said that sentencing likely would be held during the last week of August. Both offenses are Class D crimes, punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail.

Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody said he has not yet come up with a recommendation for a sentence.

The jury deliberated for two hours Thursday afternoon in Knox County Superior Court.

Faustini testified Thursday morning that she had been raped by her boyfriend on the evening of Sept. 30. She said this occurred at her room at the Brunswick Rooms in Rockland after she had told the man she wanted to end their relationship.

The BDN is not naming the former boyfriend because he has not been charged with a crime in connection with this case.

Under cross-examination by Baroody, Faustini said that she knew her former boyfriend was a convicted sex offender. According to police records, the man was convicted of gross sexual assault in 2001 in Waldo County and for unlawful sexual contact in 2009 in Knox County.

On the stand, Faustini also acknowledged she had sent her former boyfriend a text message before the alleged assault occurred in which she warned him to stay away from her or she would get him in trouble with the Rockland police. She also agreed she had sent him text messages after the alleged assault that made no mention of it.

Defense attorney Joseph Steinberger told the jurors in his closing statements Thursday afternoon that Faustini had been consistent in her interviews with Rockland police that the sexual assault had occurred.

Steinberger also criticized the prosecution for introducing text messages that Faustini had sent to the former boyfriend after the assault occurred. He said it is common for women in abusive relationships to be confused and stay in contact with their abuser.

The defense attorney also criticized the Police Department’s investigation, pointing out it took officers nearly two weeks to interview the suspect and that they never talked to a woman to whom Faustini first reported the sexual assault.

Baroody said, however, in his closing arguments that the evidence was clear that Faustini had filed a false report.

Just because she never said the words ‘I made this up’ doesn’t mean it wasn’t made up,” the prosecutor said.

He cited the inconsistencies in her statements, such as when she first said that the sex began as consensual and then in a later interview said it was forced from the beginning. And Baroody pointed out that in the first interview she said she screamed in her boyfriend’s ear for him to stop but in the second one said she did not scream.

Steinberger pointed out that his client had no education beyond the sixth or seventh grade and has a mental health caseworker.

His client also was holding a teddy bear at the beginning of the trial Thursday, but the prosecutor asked the judge to prevent Faustini from doing so in the presence of the jury. Steinberger argued that she had held it during the interviews with police and that her caseworker recommended it be allowed.

Hjelm ruled, however, that it was not appropriate for her to hold the stuffed animal while the jurors were in the courtroom.

After the verdict was announced, Faustini wept openly.


Loneranger said...

Good thing they figured it out. Frankly this brings to mind the re offence rate. Although already very low how many are accused and then sentenced because they are looked at as being guilty already. This woman in her mind was sure that was all it would take. I have a feeling if her story had been just a little more refined it would have worked. How often does this happen? I'm sure some commit new crimes. How many are falsely accused as it is just to easy to say well he is a sex offender of course he did it. So now I wonder how often is this poly being used by women to manipulate as well as the justice system and prosecutors. Not all cases of false allegations turn out like this. The fact is most women get away with this as once a sex offender you have no credibility. Dangerous? of course it is. No different than the ones that use the registry to hunt down and kill. This information in the wrong hands usually turns out bad. So if you factor in for cases where the defendant was falsely accused is the re offence rate inaccurate? And if so by how much? So it's already low but probably should be lower.
Not sure but think somehow this needs addressed. If the population consists of fifty percent female versus fifty percent male and most all sex offenders are male. One has to wonder how much of this has come into play to create the mess we have.
If someone lies they have a 70 percent advantage over someone that tells the truth. If you're already presumed guilty until you prove yourself innocent it a up hill battle that you surely are not going to win. Having said that how often has this happened?

Chance_X74 said...

How much do you want to bet that the recommendation will wind up being something along the lines of one year unsupervised probation, effectively letting her off the hook.

Loneranger said...

more than likely. I hope they throw the book at her. However that never ever happens. Reinforcing false claims as the benefits tend to outweigh the risk. This needs to be a class A felony. Minimum mandatory sentence of equal to the offence lied about. Life time on the registry as a predator. Even that wouldn't slow them down.

Chance_X74 said...

I don't know about Class A, but I certainly agree that if an accusation is proven or ruled false then the punishment should be equal to whatever the accused would have faced had they wrongfully been found guilty.