Lehigh University student could stand trial for false rape accusation

First, here’s the story from Lehigh Valley Live.


A 19-year-old Lehigh University student who allegedly made a false report about being raped by a campus police officer waived a preliminary hearing today and could stand trial.

Brielynne Neumann, of Shrewsbury, Mass., was lying in the center of Parkhill Street at 11:49 p.m. Sept. 3 when Bethlehem police approached her, according to court records. She identified herself as Brei Scano and gave a fake date of birth, records say.
The lie backfired when police, who claim she was intoxicated, took her to her sorority house to verify her identity, records say. Neumann then told officers she had been raped the day before by a man who claimed to be a Lehigh University police officer, records say.

Bethlehem police turned the investigation over to Pennsylvania State Police, who interviewed Neumann on Sept. 4. According to records, Neumann told a state trooper a different tale then the one she spun for Bethlehem police. She told the trooper she got into a car with a man who said he was a police officer; he groped her before she fled, records say.

When the trooper asked Neumann to sign her statement, she refused, according to police, and recanted the entire story. The trooper wrote in the criminal affidavit, “She admitted that she made the whole thing up.”

So, this woman was drunk in a public place even though she was under the legal drinking age. To cover up her indiscretions and to blame others and appear as a victim, she invented a false rape accusation. I understand that this was a stressful situation for her, but imagine the problems she could have created by getting innocent men in trouble, as happened with the Duke Lacrosse players or the Tawana Brawley case or the Hofstra university case.

According to one study, false rape accusations are commonly used by women to provide an alibi for some other crime they are guilty of committing. The study lists this reason as one of the three reasons why women invent false rape accusations.


A study of rape allegations in Indiana over a nine-year period revealed that over 40% were shown to be false — not merely unproven. According to the author, “These false allegations appear to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, seeking revenge, and obtaining sympathy and attention. False rape allegations are not the consequence of a gender-linked aberration, as frequently claimed, but reflect impulsive and desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations.” ( Kanin EJ. Arch Sex Behav. 1994 Feb;23(1):81-92 False rape allegations. )

In 1985, a study of 556 rape allegations found that 27% accusers recanted when faced with a polygraph (which can be ordered in the military), and independent evaluation showed a false accusation rate of 60%. (McDowell, Charles P., Ph.D. “False Allegations.” Forensic Science Digest, (publication of the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations), Vol. 11, No. 4 (December 1985), p. 64.)

Feminist Wendy McElroy writes about the cases of Tucker Carlson and John Fund:

In his forthcoming biography Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, Crossfire co-host Tucker Carlson discusses another motive that underlies some false accusations. In 2001, a woman he had never met alleged he had raped her in Louisville, a city he had never visited. After $14,000 in defensive legal bills, Carlson discovered that the woman had a chronic mental disorder. He decided not to sue for redress since it would further link his name with the word “rape.”

And it happened to John Fund of the Wall Street Journal:

Consider journalist John Fund who was arrested on charges of domestic violence and publicly excoriated for sexual misconduct. The charges were later dropped.

Columnist Eric Alterman recently published an article entitled “Who Framed John Fund?” There, Alterman chronicled the false accusations that haunt Fund. Once a high-profile presence on the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page and a frequent television commentator, Fund now writes for the WSJ‘s far less prestigious Opinionjournal.com and is rarely on TV.

On his Web site, Fund posted a notarized affidavit from his accuser, stating, “Mr. Fund has not been abusive to me contrary to what I said in reports to the Jersey City police.” He has also posted the transcript of a deposition in which she testifies under oath that she has “borderline personality disorder.” Nevertheless, it is not clear whether Fund’s career will recover.

For a more detailed treatment of how false accusations are used to gain the advantage in divorce courts, check out this essay by Dr. Stephen Baskerville. Andrea Peyser writes in the NY Post about how these false accusations can lead to real victims of sexual violence not being taken seriously. I think that the solution is to prosecute false accusers . Their sentences should be proportional to the sentence that the victim of their accusation would have received, if convicted.

2 thoughts on “Lehigh University student could stand trial for false rape accusation”

  1. The only positive in this particular case is that nobody was actually arrested and had their life ruined by the accusations–something you can’t say for far, far too many of these situations. (And at least this girl *might* be prosecuted, but I won’t hold my breath.)


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