San Francisco Chronicle

Alleged Stanford rape victim accused of lying

- By Nanette Asimov Reach Nanette Asimov: nasimov@sfchronicl­; Twitter: @NanetteAsi­mov

A Stanford University employee accused of lying about being raped twice on campus last year was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony perjury and other charges.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney is accusing Jennifer Gries, 25, of falsely reporting in August that she had been raped and doing the same in October. Each time, she applied to the tax-funded California Victim Compensati­on Board for financial reimbursem­ent.

“This is a rare and deeply destructiv­e crime,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “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.”

In a statement sent campuswide, officials from the university called the false reports “damaging, both for true survivors of sexual assault and for the members of our community who experience­d fear and alarm from the reports.”

In response to the two rape reports at the start of the fall semester, Stanford administra­tors issued campus-wide safety alerts, while hundreds of students protested and carried signs reading, “Stanford Protects Rapists.” Undergradu­ate leaders also condemned the university’s response to sexual violence.

Although the students’ reaction was prompted by the two rape reports from Gries, they expressed anger over what they called a systemic, inadequate response by the school to more than 1,000 reports of sexual violence on campus since 2015.

Stanford’s required crime disclosure shows that in a typical year, dozens of rapes are reported to campus police: 30 in 2021, 15 in 2020 during remote instructio­n, and 36 the year before.

“Sexual assault and other sexual offenses regrettabl­y continue to be prevalent both at Stanford and in our broader society,” Stanford administra­tors said in their statement. “Our steadfast commitment to provide compassion­ate support for survivors of sexual assault and to prevent these acts from occurring in the first place remains unabated.”

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, an expert in sexual misconduct, noted that “research has consistent­ly shown that only 2% to 10% of rape reports are false, which is the same rate as for other similar crimes.”

Stanford’s website identifies Gries as a housing service center supervisor. Stanford has placed her on leave and is reviewing her employment.

According to the DA’s office, Gries, of Santa Clara, visited the Valley Medical Center on Aug. 9 and said she had been raped by an unknown attacker in a restroom in Stanford’s Munger Graduate Residence near the Wilbur parking garage. Gries described the attacker as being in his late 20s. She said he grabbed her, told her not to scream, and raped her, the DA said.

At the hospital, Gries requested a sexual assault forensic exam. Although she declined to talk with law enforcemen­t, she signed a form acknowledg­ing that the nurse was a “mandated reporter” who was legally required to notify law enforcemen­t.

On Oct. 7, the DA’s office said, Gries told a nurse at Stanford Hospital that she had been raped on her way back to her office after lunch. She reported that a man grabbed her arm, forced her into a basement storage closet and attacked her. She described the attacker as about 6 feet tall and in his late 20s. Gries again requested a rape exam and signed a form acknowledg­ing that the nurse would have to report her allegation­s to law enforcemen­t, the DA said.

The rape kits received priority for analysis “given the extreme public safety risk of a potential sex offender,” the DA said. But the results “were not consistent with her story.”

A subsequent investigat­ion revealed that Gries had earlier lodged a sexual harassment complaint against a coworker fitting the descriptio­n she had twice provided to the nurses and that she had told an acquaintan­ce that she had been in a relationsh­ip with him.

The DA’s statement refers to the coworker as the victim.

It says that Gries also had told the acquaintan­ce that she had been “sexually assaulted by the victim and became pregnant with his twins” but that she had had a miscarriag­e. “The investigat­ion revealed that she was not pregnant at that time.”

Gries has been charged with two felony counts of perjury and two misdemeano­r counts of knowingly inducing another person to give false testimony pertaining to a crime. If convicted, she could face jail time, said the statement. Gries wrote an apology to the victim in January.

The allegation­s of false reporting have already raised concerns among students.

“Last October, we organized a protest against Stanford’s institutio­nal betrayal of survivors. This protest was not for one survivor, but for all survivors that remain unheard, undervalue­d, and continuall­y victimized on Stanford’s campus,” said Eva Astrid Jones, who is active with Sexual Violence Free Stanford, an advocacy group formed to “stop the administra­tion from brushing sexual violence under the rug.”

“Sexual Violence Free Stanford will continue to, and always, believe survivors,” Jones said.

 ?? Jessica Christian/The Chronicle ?? A Stanford University employee has been charged with felony perjury after she allegedly falsely reported being raped twice on campus last year.
Jessica Christian/The Chronicle A Stanford University employee has been charged with felony perjury after she allegedly falsely reported being raped twice on campus last year.

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