UPDATE: Riverside PD “conclusively determines” sex assault never occurred
RIVERSIDE — After several weeks spent exhaustively investigating an alleged sexual assault that a woman reported happened at a popular Riverside park last February, authorities announced they had “conclusively determined” the woman’s account was fabricated and never happened. According to the alleged victim, the assault happened near the dead-end of the 5000 block of Tequesquite Ave. along the north side of Ryan Bonaminio Park, not far from Tequesquite Community Garden.
Reports of the alleged assault sent ripples of fear throughout the community and left many area residents afraid to visit the park and nearby community garden.
“Many of our residents were understandably concerned and fearful,” Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback later said in a social media update about the alleged assault. “Those who live near or enjoy visiting Bonaminio Park and the Mt. Rubidoux trails were especially fearful in the wake of this alleged attack.”
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
Riverside police officers began investigating the alleged incident on the morning of Feb. 14, after the woman called 911 to report having been sexually assaulted. The woman told investigating officers that the man who attacked her was last seen fleeing the area on foot, heading toward the Santa Ana River bottom area.
As their investigation was getting underway, officers called in numerous additional resources and spent several hours conducting an “extensive search for the suspect,” with the assistance from a sheriff’s bloodhound and handler, but no suspect was located.
Detectives from the department’s Sexual Assault – Child Abuse Unit were also called in to assist with the ongoing investigation, and a sketch artist was later called in to help create a suspect rendering. That composite sketch was later distributed in bulletins shared on social media and throughout the community.
“This investigation generated a considerable amount of interest from the community,” Railsback explained. “Many of our residents were understandably concerned and fearful.”
“After an extensive investigation and additional interviews with the woman who originally reported this crime, detectives have been able to conclusively determine that, in fact, this incident did not occur,” said Railsback.
In the wake of this alleged attack, Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz weighed in on the falsely alleged crime, saying, “While this is a sensitive matter and being handled appropriately, it is important to assure the community that the Riverside Police Department takes all such allegations seriously and dedicates all available resources to solving the crime and protecting the community.”
“It is also important, in this instance, to assure the community they have nothing to fear as it relates to this alleged crime or the alleged perpetrator,” said Diaz.
As word spread that the woman’s allegations were determined to be false, many area residents took to social media, angrily denouncing the alleged victim’s fabricated assault. Some were quick to compare the woman’s false allegations to those of Jussie Smollett, whose recent allegations of being attacked in Chicago were also found to have been fabricated.
SEE ORIGINAL REPORT: UPDATE: Search ongoing for Riverside sex assault suspect
Area resident Teresa Milford was one of countless who railed against the woman for needlessly creating fear among Riverside residents, later telling RCNS, “People need to be held accountable for making false accusations and understand that their lies can have serious ramifications on other peoples’ lives.”
“People need to know they can’t just go around making up nonsense stories when real events are taking place,” Milford continued. “I feel as a member of this community she should be held accountable for making a false police report and have to pay restitution for the man power that this took away from real crimes going on.”
“Too many people are crying wolf nowadays and so when something actually does happen, real victims fear they’re not going to believed,” said Milford.
Jim Stenson, who said he previously worked as an intake counselor for a Riverside County sexual assault advocacy group agreed, and later told RCNS, “Sexual assault is not a laughing matter or something to be taken lightly.”
“It’s hard enough for women – or men – to report sexual assaults, and many choose not to report their attacks to law enforcement, for fear of not being believed,” Stenson continued. “So when some like this woman comes along and falsely reports an assault, it really makes it that much harder for future victims to come forward.”
“Shame on her,” said Stenson. “I really hope she’s prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.