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Stanford employee arrested for allegedly lying about sexual assault on campus

A 25-year-old woman was arrested Wednesday for allegedly lying about being sexually assaulted while working at Stanford University, according to prosecutors.

The woman later admitted to prosecutors that she made up the false claims because she was angry with a co-worker.

Jennifer Gries of Santa Clara claimed she was raped twice while working at Stanford and told investigators her attacker was a 6-foot man in his 20s and was black, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office. .

Gries was charged with felony perjury and inducing false testimony, a misdemeanor, according to prosecutors.

Dist. Attorney Jeff Rosen called the crime “bizarre and deeply disturbing.”

“Our hearts go out to those falsely accused,” Rosen said in a written statement. “Our hearts go out to the students who had to look over their shoulders on their way to class. Our hearts go out to the legitimate victims of sexual assault who wonder if they will be believed.”

Both incidents raised campus-wide alerts for students and staff about a possible serial rapist on campus.

In August, Gries told a Valley Medical Center nurse that a man approached her as she was walking to her car. The man pinned her to the floor in a bathroom and raped her, according to an investigator’s report that accompanied the charging documents.

Gries agreed to be tested at the hospital for male DNA left by the attacker and the samples were placed in a sexual assault forensic kit.

In October, Gries claimed she was raped again while working in a university main office and forced into a basement storage closet. She described the same attacker to a nurse at Stanford Hospital.

Each time, Gries refused to speak to the police. When a detective from the Stanford Department of Public Safety attempted to interview her, Ella Gries refused to provide additional details, saying only that she knew the person who raped her, according to the report.

Gries was surprised that a community alert was sent to campus about her first attack, according to a researcher’s report. He continued to ask the detective questions about how the rapes would be investigated and what would happen to the sexual assault forensic evidence kit, according to the report. He also asked if there were any witnesses, prosecutors said.

On two separate occasions, Gries signed an application for crime victim benefits with the California Victim Compensation Board, according to authorities.

Forensic investigators rushed to examine the evidence taken from Gries, but no male DNA was detected in the samples.

Investigators learned that in March 2022, Gries filed a sexual harassment complaint against a co-worker who fit the description of the person who she says attacked her. That coworker’s work location matched the areas where she claimed she was attacked, investigators said.

The labor complaint was found to be unproven and Gries was reassigned to work in another area. But Gries told a friend who also worked at the university that he was romantically involved with the man he filed the complaint against, according to investigators. Gries claimed the man sexually assaulted her and that she became pregnant with his twins, which investigators determined to be untrue, prosecutors said.

In text messages with her friend, Gries said she was upset with the man and, according to charging documents, wrote: “I need to start defending myself…I’m so upset…. I come up with a plan. That way he’s in his pants for several days.”

When a detective met with Gries in November, she became nervous after the detective asked if the man named in the work-related complaint could be ruled out as a suspect in the two sexual assaults, investigators said.

In January, Gries admitted to an investigator with the district attorney’s office that he lied about the sexual assaults, prosecutors said. He then wrote a letter of apology to the man who was named in his work-related complaint and the target of his false reports of sexual assault, according to investigators.

The university reported spending more than $300,000 during its investigation and hired additional security around campus. Hundreds of students marched on campus after Gries’s second rape claim, demanding the university do more to address the problem.

The man who was the subject of Gries’ false claims was interviewed by investigators and said the work-related complaint accusing him of sexual assault marked him. At the time, he was caring for his sick mother, who later died, investigators said.

He denied sexually assaulting Gries and provided investigators with an alibi, investigators said in their report.

He also agreed to have a DNA sample taken from his mouth. He was emotional and teary-eyed, according to investigators, explaining how the entire episode was emotionally and physically traumatic.

He told investigators: “This is disgusting. I don’t feel human. I don’t feel human at all.”