PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — A Stanford University employee has been arrested after allegedly lying to police about being raped on the school’s campus last year, according to a statement from the County of Santa Clara Office of the District Attorney.
Jennifer Gries, 25, of Santa Clara was arrested on Wednesday, and will be arraigned at a later date. Gries has been charged with two counts of felony perjury for falsely certifying documents and two misdemeanor charges of inducing false testimony. She could face jail time if convicted.
On August 9, 2022, Gries reportedly told county sexual assault forensic exam nurses at Valley Medical Center that a Black man attacked her inside of a campus garage. Though she did not want to involve law enforcement, she signed the consent form acknowledging that the nurse was a mandated reporter who must inform law enforcement of the incident.
Two months later, Gries reported to Stanford Hospital for a second rape exam. Gries said she was coming back from lunch when she attacked again, this time by a Black man inside of a storage closet. She signed a second mandated reporter consent form, according to the DA’s Office.
Both of the rape exam kits were analyzed as priority rushes because of the “extreme public safety risk of a potential sex offender.” The DA’s office says the lab results did not match her story.
The DA’s office says that evidence so far leads investigators to believe that Gries made up the incidents because she was mad at one of her coworkers. These reports resulted in campus-wide safety alerts being issued, and lead to campus unrest, according to the DA’s office.
KRON On is streaming now
Gries reportedly took the claims a step further. After reporting the incidents to the campus officials, Gries went on to apply for public money from the California Victim of Crimes Board as a sexual assault victim.
“This is a rare and deeply destructive crime. Our hearts go out to the falsely accused. Our hearts go out to students who had to look over their shoulders on their way to class. Our hearts go out to legitimate sexual assault victims who wonder if they will be believed.” – District Attorney Jeff Rosen
Stanford Department of Public Safety investigated both claims of sexual assault. It was at this time that authorities learned that Gries had filed a previous sexual harassment complaint against one of her coworkers, and he happened to fit the description of the alleged rapist.
The DA’s office said that Gries told an acquaintance that she was in a relationship with the man. Gries reported that she had been sexually assaulted by the coworker, became pregnant with his twins, and then suffered a miscarriage. The investigation showed that she was not in fact pregnant at that time.
On Jan. 24, investigators interviewed Gries, and she allegedly admitted to lying about the rapes before writing an apology letter to the man she falsely accused. Stanford DPS spent around $300,000 investigating these claims and increasing campus security, and the impact on campus was more than financial, according to the DA’s office.
“Aside from the financial impact, the greater impact was the fear felt by students, staff, and parents involved with Stanford University. Stanford DPS spent additional hours and effort to assuage concerns on whether students and staff would be safe on campus. After GRIES made the second sexual assault allegation in October 2022, hundreds of students who believed that Stanford was “protecting rapists” marched in a nationally covered protest.” — County of Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office
The impacts on the man who was falsely accused were also heavy. After discussing the trauma the false claims caused him he said, “This is disgusting. I don’t feel human. I don’t feel human at all,” according to the DA’s office.
A professor at Stanford Law School shared a statement in response to the DA’s comments.
“False reports of sexual assault are very rare. Stanford’s own data show that 40 percent of female undergraduate students experience sexual violence during their 4 years at Stanford, and fewer than 3 percent of these survivors report it. Stanford’s response to this epidemic is wholly inadequate, and nothing about this unfortunate case changes that. Leaving this case aside, Stanford students had every reason to protest that failure, and DA Rosen’s comments implying that the students were somehow misled into protesting the University’s poor performance on this issue are misplaced and misguided.” — Michele Dauber, Frederick I. Richman Professor of Law, Stanford Law School