Breana Harmon Talbott, the 19-year-old Texas teen who falsely accused three Black men of rape, was indicted Wednesday in the highly contentious case that angered a community and spurred questions about race relations.
The Denison Police Department charged Harmon with two counts of tampering with evidence and two counts of tampering with a government record. Three of the charges are third-degree felonies, and if found guilty, Denison could serve up to 10 years in prison with a $10,000 fine, the Dallas Morning News reports. A fourth charge is punishable by up to two years in jail, with a $10,000 fine.
Harmon initially lied to police in March, after wandering into a local church, bloodied and naked, pleading for help after claiming she was abducted and gang raped by three Black men. She later admitted the story was a hoax.
Police initially charged her a misdemeanor of making a false report, but the county district attorney sought higher charges after discovering her falsified report.
SOURCE: Dallas Morning News
An 18-year-old white young woman from Denison, Texas, is facing a misdemeanor charge for lying about being abducted and gang raped by three African-American men.
According to the New York Daily News, on March 8, Breana Harmon Talbott was reported missing by her fiancé, who said he found her car with its door open and her personal effects nearby. After police embarked on a massive search for the teenager, later that day she interrupted a local church service, wearing a shirt, bra and underwear. She also had visible cuts all over her body.
Soon after she reported her “assault,” telling police that she was taken by three Black men wearing ski-masks. However, “medical examiners were unable to corroborate that Talbott had been sexually assaulted,” and it wasn’t too long before officials began to poke holes through her story.
On Tuesday, Talbott confessed that she had made the entire story up and even cut herself to sell her hoax to authorities. She was later arrested on Wednesday.
In a recent statement, Denison Police publicly confirmed the hoax and expressed their disgust in the unnecessary fear Talbott sparked in their community.
“This alleged crime as reported by Breana Harmon Talbott made many in the community fearful there were individuals abducting women. Even though we know the story to be a hoax, there is still potential damage to the reputation of the City of Denison and the Texoma region as many may remember the reported crime but not the outcome. That is unfortunate,” they wrote.
Authorities also made mention of the heightened racial implications and tensions that the young woman fostered with her lies: “Talbott’s hoax was also insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African-American community due to her description of the so-called suspects in her hoax. The anger and hurts caused from such a hoax are difficult and all so unnecessary.”
According to KDAF News, Talbot faces charges of making a False Report to a Peace Officer, which is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. In addition, Denison police will seek financial restitution for the costs of their investigation.
Given the racial undertones of this incident, there was a lot of reaction on Twitter:
Police have yet to reveal Talbot’s exact motive for lying.