Police: Plains Twp. woman lied about rape by trooper
Investigation turned up inconsistent stories, according to authorities.
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.