Po­lice: Plains Twp. woman lied about rape by trooper

In­ves­ti­ga­tion turned up in­con­sis­tent sto­ries, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

The Citizens' Voice - - Front Page - BY JAMES HALPIN AND SARAH SCINTO Staff writ­ers

PLAINS TWP. — A town­ship woman who for months has pub­licly al­leged a state trooper raped her in a po­lice car parked out­side Mo­he­gan Sun Po­cono was hit Tues­day with charges ac­cus­ing her of mak­ing false re­ports.

Chris­tine A. Cromer, 37, of 237 Maf­fett St., is ac­cused of ly­ing when she re­ported that state Trooper Robert Covington, a Bureau of Gam­ing En­force­ment of­fi­cer, forced him­self on her in Novem­ber 2016, af­ter she claims she tried to break off a re­la­tion­ship with him.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view with in­ves­ti­ga­tors, Covington de­nied ever hav­ing any type of re­la­tion­ship with Cromer or ever be­ing with her in a state po­lice car.

Cromer, who at the time was a cock­tail wait­ress at the casino, has for months sought to pub­li­cize her al­le­ga­tions, post­ing fly­ers about her story across the area with ti­tles such as, “No jus­tice for raped vic­tim.”

In an in­ter­view with The Cit­i­zens’ Voice in Septem­ber, Cromer said she had worked at Mo­he­gan Sun for 10 years as a server be­fore Covington be­gan pur­su­ing her, de­spite her re­peated re­jec­tions. Af­ter they had a con­sen­sual sex­ual en­counter in Au­gust 2016, the “rape” took place that Novem­ber when Covington asked her to meet him at his car, she said.

“I told him be­fore I even got into his car, I said, ‘I’m done, just leave me alone,’” Cromer said. “And then he climbed on top of me. And when I was get­ting out he said, ‘You’re go­ing to con­tinue to do what I want you to do and talk to me.’”

Court records show that Cromer re­cently ob­tained a tem­po­rary sex­ual-vi­o­lence pro­tec­tion order against a state trooper iden­ti­fied only as Sgt. Jones. In her ap­pli­ca­tion, Cromer wrote that in Novem­ber 2016, Jones asked her to come to a car parked be­hind the casino, where he “forced him­self ” on her and had in­ter­course.

The al­le­ga­tions are largely sim­i­lar to a the claims she levied against Covington dur­ing an in­ter­view in May that was con­ducted by trooper Sgt. Daniel Jones, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice af­fi­davit.

The af­fi­davit says that dur­ing a fol­low-up meet­ing in June, Cromer re­fused to be in­ter­viewed, claim­ing her rapist was present at the state po­lice bar­racks in Wy­oming.

At the time, Covington was not present — Cromer said “Sgt. Daniel Jones was her rapist wear­ing make-up,” ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

Dur­ing the in­ter­views Cromer gave to troop­ers and county de­tec­tives, Cromer claimed to have got­ten into a re­la­tion­ship that be­gan when Covington ap­proached her be­cause of her husband’s in­volve­ment in the Out­laws Mo­tor­cy­cle Club. Covington of­fered to take Cromer on a cruise and to pro­tect her, she said.

Cromer’s story de­scribed Covington as pur­su­ing her, ask­ing her on dates that she re­fused be­cause her husband had track­ing soft­ware on her cell­phone, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit. As a re­sult, Covington pro­vided Cromer with a pre-paid phone with his num­ber al­ready pro­grammed into it, she claimed.

Cromer told po­lice she used the phone to text Covington so they could talk in per­son on the casino floor sev­eral times per week.

She ini­tially de­nied hav­ing a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with Covington, but later said they did have con­sen­sual sex in the car some­time in Au­gust 2016, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

But Cromer main­tained Covington forced him­self on her that Novem­ber af­ter she told him their re­la­tion­ship was over, po­lice say.

In both in­ter­views, Cromer iden­ti­fied the ve­hi­cle where the sex­ual con­tact al­legedly took place as an un­marked brown state po­lice car with bench seats, po­lice said.

But the af­fi­davit says that none of the three po­lice ve­hi­cles as­signed to troop­ers has a front bench seat. When Cromer was shown a pic­ture of the in­te­rior of the ve­hi­cle she claimed to have been raped in — which has a large cen­ter con­sole con­tain­ing a ra­dio — Cromer al­leged troop­ers had re­con­fig­ured the car, the af­fi­davit says.

Po­lice say Cromer also claimed to have show­ered and de­stroyed her cloth­ing af­ter the as­sault and that she was un­able to pro­vide them with Covington’s phone num­ber, claim­ing he had pre­vi­ously re­quested the burner phone back.

Dur­ing a sep­a­rate in­ter­view in July, Covington said he made small talk with Cromer from time to time but main­tained he had never been in a re­la­tion­ship with her, nor had ever com­mu­ni­cated with her out­side the casino.

Other casino em­ploy­ees, mean­while, were un­able to con­firm ba­sic de­tails of Cromer’s story, and in­stead re­ported that she was in fact “in­fat­u­ated” with Covington, the af­fi­davit says.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors say they charged Cromer with two mis­de­meanor counts of falsely in­crim­i­nat­ing an­other per­son based on the “mul­ti­ple and in­con­sis­tent sto­ries” she pro­vided in the two in­ter­views, as well as in an­other in­ter­view with state po­lice in­ter­nal af­fairs in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Dur­ing her in­ter­view with The Cit­i­zens’ Voice, Cromer said the re­port she made to in­ter­nal af­fairs in Har­ris­burg went nowhere.

“They didn’t want to hear it, they just wanted to fill out the pa­per­work,” Cromer said.

She said she even­tu­ally quit her job af­ter hid­ing from Covington in bath­rooms when­ever he would work. Since the al­leged rape, she has sought coun­selling, she said.

“I’m afraid to go any­where,” Cromer said. “If I see any cop I start hav­ing panic at­tacks.”

Mag­is­te­rial District Judge Joseph D. Spag­n­uolo Jr. ar­raigned Cromer on the charges Tues­day morn­ing and or­dered her jailed at the Luzerne County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity with bail set at $30,000.

Jail of­fi­cials said she had posted bail by Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Cromer is due in court for a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing on Nov. 22.

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