The transgendered student who claimed that he was sexually assaulted in a school bathroom has come forward to say he made up the story. The 15-year-old student’s original complaint saw immediate action with school officials and civil rights activists, who rallied behind the student, according to ABC News on March 4.
The student, who is biologically a female, but identifies himself as a male, showed up at the Hercules Middle / High School health center claiming he was beaten and sexually assaulted in one of the school’s bathrooms. He said he was leaving the boy’s bathroom when three boys, who he didn’t know, pushed him inside a bathroom stall and assaulted him.
At the time of the attack complaint, police saw some inconsistencies in the student’s story starting with the time frame, which didn’t fit. Then there was the attack itself that left police with questions as the student didn’t have any of the injuries that you’d expect from an attack of the magnitude he reported.
He lacked the physical injuries to his hands, head and face, which are the places that would have been injured if his story was true. He was given a sexual assault examination when he first reported the attack. It was during the follow-up interview when the 15-year-old came clean and said he had made up the story.
The teen who lied about this story is left open to possible charges of making a false criminal report. This false report came on the heels of another transgendered student involved in a fight with three girls. This fight was captured on a cell phone video. The student, who is biologically a girl, but identifies himself as a male, was charged with a misdemeanor assault in that case.
Apparently Jewlyes Gutierrez claims she had fought back after repeated complaints to the school that she was being harassed. Carol Laub, the executive director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network claims that even though this latest complaint is a lie, it is still a scenario seen all too often. She said:
"Even if this particular story isn't true, the school's response, to put in place plans for bringing the community together and addressing school safety and climate, is a good outcome."
The school and authorities did go into high gear to investigate and take steps to protect students from this happening again, but saying this is a “good outcome,” puts a different spin on this, after all, the student lied. Because this is such a serious and prevalent issue, giving any credit to this lie is walking a fine line.
The best defense against any future attacks on transgendered students might be to make the bigger issue the lie that was told. This lie might have done more damage in the long run because you want the students who may experience this type of attack in the future to be taken very seriously.
School Board President Charles Ramsey said he was very happy to hear that another incident didn’t take place. He also said:
"We have to take the situation seriously because sexual assaults happen every day and they go unreported, so we can't minimize or trivialize the issue because one situation was false."
Another possible scenario is that this young man recanted his story under pressure. Ben David-Barr, executive director of the Rainbow Community Center said:
"We don't know if he was pressured to recant, pressured by family, pressured by law enforcement."
This is not a far-fetched possibility, someone may have influenced the young man into recanting his report of the attack. This isn't the end of this story, the school officials plan on working with the student who made the false report, because it was most likely a cry for help on some level.
The school district spokesperson Mario Trujillo said that their concerns don’t sit with punishing this student, but making sure that the school gets him “the support he needs to feel safe at home and school.” Trujillo feels that this incident is a “request for help” coming from this student.