SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A 25-year-old Stanford University employee was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony perjury for allegedly lying about being raped twice last year on campus, authorities said.
Jennifer Ann Gries, of Santa Clara, first reported a false sexual attack in August when she told a nurse at Valley Medical Center in San Jose that a man grabbed her while she was at a campus parking lot, dragged her to a restroom and sexually assaulted her, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office said.
In October she went to Stanford Hospital to get another rape examination and told the nurse conducting the exam that she was returning to her office from lunch when a man grabbed her arm, forced her into a basement storage closet and raped her, prosecutors said. She again declined to speak with police, they said.
Both of Gries’ sexual assault examination kits were analyzed quickly “given the extreme public safety risk of a potential sex offender,” prosecutors said, adding that the lab results “were not consistent with her story.”
On both occasions she signed a consent form acknowledging the nurse was a mandated reporter who must inform law enforcement of the attack and signed forms to get public funds, prosecutors said.
In January, during an interview with a District Attorney’s Office investigator, Gries is said to have admitted to lying about the rapes and written an apology letter to the man who was the target of her allegations.
“She stated she was upset with the victim because she felt he gave her ‘false intention’ and turned her friends against her,” prosecutors said.
Gries was charged with two felony counts of perjury and two misdemeanor counts of making a false crime report to nurses at two different hospitals, prosecutors said. It was not immediately known if she had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
In a statement, Stanford said Gries was placed on a leave of absence and the university “will be reviewing her employment.”
“These false reports are damaging, both for true survivors of sexual assault and for the members of our community who experienced fear and alarm from the reports,” the university said, while adding that false reports in sexual assault cases are rare.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen called the alleged false rape reports “a rare and deeply destructive crime” and said he felt for those who are falsely accused, for the students who had to look over their shoulders and for the ”legitimate sexual assault victims who wonder if they will be believed.”
The rape reports led Stanford University police to issue campus-wide electronic alerts, which prompted widespread fear and a protest in October by hundreds of students who marched to demand university officials do more to protect students.
Investigators also found Gries had filed a sexual harassment complaint in March 2022 against a male coworker with the university’s human resources department, which found the allegation was unfounded, prosecutors said. The co-worker fit the description Gries gave the nurses she reported the rapes to, they said.
Gries is listed on the university’s website as a Housing Service Center Supervisor.
In 2016, the university was in the national spotlight after the emotional victim impact statement of Chanel Miller, who was sexually assaulted on campus by Stanford athlete Brock Turner, went viral. Turner, a star swimmer, infamously received a six-month sentence for sexually assaulting an unconscious Miller the previous year.
Judge Aaron Persky, who imposed the sentence, was recalled by voters in 2018, the first judge to be recalled in California since 1932.