by Daniella Beccaria
Morgan Triplett, the 20-year-old UCSB student charged with faking her rape on the UC Santa Cruz campus has been offered a chance to go to jail or a work program for 60 days by the Santa Cruz County District Attorney's office.
In the deal offered before Judge John Gallagher, Assistant District Attorney Johanna Schonfield asked for a doubling of the hours of mandatory counseling Triplett would receive to 60 hours. Triplett didn't appear in court. Her public defender Jack Lamar will discuss the terms with his client and they are due back in court July 25.
On Sunday of Presidents' Weekend, when she was attending a conference for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgendered students, Triplett reported that she was raped on the UCSC campus by a man who came out of the woods and attacked her behind the student union. The report terrorized women on campus and led to community meetings about safety fears.
After investigation UCSC Police linked her to an ad posted on Craigslist asking for a strong man to exchange beating her in return for sex. In their charges, police said she let the man beat her, had sex with him and then had him beat her again.
Then, she called police.
“Well, I think anyone who goes to the lengths of posting an ad on Craigslist seeking somebody to harm her or shoot her has some serious mental health issues, so I think it’s appropriate that she receive significant mental health treatment as part of her term of probation,” Schonfield said.
The new terms passed by Judge Gallagher include a possible ban from social media sites including Craigslist for the remainder of her probation. The terms also include a written letter of apology to UCSC and its faculty, staff, administration, and students, the admission of a false report, and standard fines.
If Triplett declines to accept the terms her case will be set for trial. Triplett has missed two previously scheduled court dates, saying she was getting mental health counseling and attending school," Schonfield said.
“I’m hoping that at some point she’s going to show up in person to deliver that letter of apology and she proves that she has in fact been engaging in the mental health treatment.
“Given the impact this has had on our community because of the nature of her report was that it was a stranger who grabbed her on a path on campus, dragged her to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her invoked total fear in the UC community but also the Santa Cruz community,” Schonfield said.
The Assistant DA added that some parents even wanted to withdraw their children from the school after the report.
"And so the court and my office feel that it is appropriate for her to write a letter of apology for the fear and panic she caused,” Schonfield said.
The maximum sentence for a misdemeanor false report to police is six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.