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Woman who allegedly lied about rape to be charged

Modified: Friday, Mar 22nd, 2013

This undated Facebook photo shows Morgan Triplett.

SANTA CRUZ — The woman who allegedly lied about being beaten and raped on the UC Santa Cruz campus Feb. 15 has been charged with giving false information to police, Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee announced Thursday.

Morgan Triplett, 20, called 911 and told police that she was severely beaten and sexually assaulted by a stranger she encountered while she was walking alone on a path between the upper quarry amphitheater and the classroom unit buildings on the UCSC campus looking for banana slugs.

Triplett had extensive bruises that at the time corroborated her story, but which have not yet been explained. She was treated at Dominican Hospital. After an 11-day investigation, however, police determined that she had fabricated the story.

“After an extensive investigation it became apparent that the majority of the information that Ms. Triplett gave the officers was not in fact true,” Lee stated in a press release.

Also unexplained is why Tripplett was on the UC Santa Cruz campus.

Tripplett, a UC Santa Barbara student,will be arraigned within the next week in the Santa Cruz County Superior Court.

Her Facebook page lists her as an HIV test counselor at Santa Barbara-based Pacific Pride Foundation. She is originally from Reno, Nev.

The report prompted campus officials to add extra police patrols and caused anxiety on the 2,000-acre campus, which has more than 16,000 students.

UC Santa Cruz spokesman Jim Burns said concerned students, staff and faculty saw their angst multiply when the rape report was coupled with several incidents that occurred in Santa Cruz, including the robbery and shooting of a UCSC student.

“We’re pleased that the District Attorney is prosecuting this case, but really we’re even more pleased that the incident didn’t happen in the first place,” Burns said.

Burns estimated the investigation, extra security patrols and police officer overtime cost the university between $10,000 and $20,000.

It was also unclear why Triplett was on the campus.

Email messages to Triplett were not immediately returned.

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