Thursday, April 10, 2008

Girl lies that boys threatened her with rape, inflicts scratches on self

Girl who claimed gang assault could face charges.

By Angela WeatherfordATHENS DAILY REVIEW (ATHENS, Texas)

ATHENS, Texas — In the end, the proof was on the tape, said a school administrator dealing with a student's claims Latino students attacked her because she made a sign protesting illegal immigration. Athens Superintendent Dr. Fred Hayes says middle school eighth-grader Melanie Bowers, 13, is seen on a surveillance video inflicting scratches on herself. The teen now finds herself in trouble. School officials say they are planning to seek charges against her for making a false statement to police. That case will be filed with the Henderson County County Attorney’s Office, District Police Chief Paul Redic said. Filing a false report to police is a Class B misdemeanor. However, the punishment for Bowers could be handled differently since she is a minor.School officials say they are looking at punishing the girl at school, as well. Two students who corroborated Bowers’ falsified story may also face consequences.

“We are diligent in our investigations, and what we want is for the truth to come out,” said Hayes, who admitted school officials had questions about the veracity of the story from the beginning. “We are glad the truth came out.“We did question the extent of her allegation,” the school administrator said, “because each time she told the story it seemed to get bigger and bigger.”The jaw-dropping flip-flop came along with a copy of a statement obtained through an open records request by the Athens Review containing a handwritten voluntary statement signed by the girl’s parents: “I see that my daughter was not assaulted and put the marks on her body,” Gary Bowers Jr. and his wife, Shera, wrote. “No gang violence was witnessed and she filed a false report.”

The parents were shown the video Wednesday.Melanie Bowers told school officials earlier this week 21 Hispanic students attacked and threatened to rape and kill her after seeing a poster she brought to school for a history class project. Students were asked to create a poster with a statement of political activism. Melanie Bowers’ poster read: “If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration.”

The conflicting evidence was found on tape by Redic around 11 a.m. Wednesday, Hayes said. On the tape, Bowers is seen leaving the cafeteria and walking toward the middle school office last Friday morning. While walking, she held up her political poster about chest high to a group of students passing by. A male student then walked up behind Bowers and took the sign way from her. Bowers ran after the student, who ran into the gymnasium. Bowers then passed several teachers — not approaching any of them for help, according to Hayes. She then entered the school office with two other girls and told Assistant Principal Mark Castleberry a boy had taken the poster. The girls were seen leaving the office a few seconds later. The tape then shows Bowers in the hallway scratching her own face, arm and neck. However, the tape never shows the girl being assaulted by others. Hayes said Bowers had a “slight rash on her arms and neck” when a district police officer photographed the injuries last Friday. On Tuesday, three students involved in the incident were given in-school suspension. Hayes said one student was suspended for destroying the sign and two others were suspended for inciting the first student. “It’s what we would do to anybody who destroys a project or takes a book or something like that,” he said. The suspended students were allowed back in class Thursday. Bowers hasn't been back in school.

Comment: What a terrible instance of a girl trying to hurt boys to pursue a political agenda. Note that if the genders were reversed, this particular sort of hate crime could not be plausibly alleged. It is especially frightening given that two others corroborated her lies. And inflicting scratches on herself? An example of the lengths some will go to hurt innocent males.