Though investigators say they are considering pressing charges against a teen who falsely claimed Monday that he was sexually assaulted in a Hercules High School bathroom, leadership at the school and at the state level urge authorities to offer care, not punishment, to the student.
Police were investigating the reported attack on the freshman, a transgender youth who police say identifies as male, as a hate crime. “As the investigation continued," Hercules police said in a statement, "officers were unable to substantiate the facts of the victim’s statement; including the time frame of the incident, and the lack of physical injuries to the victim’s head, face and hands."
The student admitted to police that he had falsified the report Tuesday afternoon, prompting Hercules police to say that he could be charged with making a false criminal report.
"We investigated this thing as a true crime. We went at it full force until we found out there was no crime," Hercules police Detective Connie Van Putten told KTVU.
"So people should know if they believe they are a victim of a crime, we are going to give them our full attention."
West Contra Costa Unified School District Board of Education President Charles Ramsey told Bay City News that he was “relieved it didn’t happen.”
Ramsey said said that “We have to support the student” and work to understand what compelled him to falsify the report.
Mario Trujillo, spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District, agreed that their focus was on making sure the student gets the support he needs.
"We recognize that life is complicated, and at the end of the day this is a request for help," Trujillo told KTVU.
A spokesperson for Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, author of AB 1266, California's law requiring school districts to allow students to use facilities based on their gender identity, said that he was relieved that the had not occurred, but that "it is very obvious that this does not change the reality that this exists out there.”
“Transgender students find it a very difficult world to get through,” Ammiano spokesperson Carlos Alcala told BCN.
"We need to do what we can to support all students so they feel they can have safe and equal environments at their school.”
Alcala said that Ammiano would oppose an arrest for the student, and echoed others' sentiments that he should instead receive counseling and “consequences instead of punishment.”
Previously on SFist:
Transgender Teen Recants Sexual Assault Story