Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 15, 2011

Prosecutor says Goshen College rape report was false

GOSHEN — The crime was awful. It also never happened, according to local law enforcement officials.

A woman’s claim that she was abducted from the Goshen College campus and raped was false, Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill Jr. said during a press conference in Elkhart Monday. Now prosecutors are filing a Class D felony charge of obstruction of justice against Jessica De La Vega, 19, Elkhart.

Vega isn’t currently enrolled at GC, but was a student at the time of the reported attack in January, said Richard Aguirre, the college’s director of public relations.

Vega was not in police custody Monday.

“For almost two months now, this community has been under siege with apprehension over the allegation of the abduction and rape of a young college co-ed, with the associated anxiety and fear that this suspect was still at large and possibly searching for a new victim,” Hill said. “Upon our review of the Goshen Police Department’s determination that the report was false, our first responsibility is to inform the public to alleviate any immediate concerns that we have a predator lurking in our community related to this incident.”

Early Jan. 18, Hill said, Vega told Goshen police she had been abducted from the GC campus by a white male with a knife. Vega said the man demanded she drive to the parking area of the Rieth Interpretive Center across from Goshen’s Shanklin Park, where he raped her.

Goshen police issued a press release about the attack, and publicized a composite drawing of a suspect, Hill said. Police also partnered with Crime Stoppers in an attempt to gather more information.

“The community response in this case was significant, and awareness appeared to increase,” Hill said.


However, detectives became suspicious about the truth of the reported attack due to “contradictory information” developed in the investigation, the prosecutor said.

“Detectives found evidence contradicting the young woman’s story (and) placing her in a neighboring county where she was socializing with a friend during the time that the attack was reported to have occurred,” Hill said. He said Goshen detectives confronted Vega about their concerns, and she admitted that the abduction and rape didn’t happen.

By that time around 200 man-hours of public resources had been expended on the investigation.

“What that means is that for every one hour that the Goshen Police Department put into this investigation, that was one hour of justice that didn’t occur for someone else,” Hill said.

He added that while it’s fortunate the incident didn’t lead to the arrest of an innocent person, “(the) reality is that our police officers work very hard to bring sexual predators to justice, and these false allegations could have resulted in a miscarriage of justice.”

Hill declined comment on why Vega allegedly lied to police, saying the case is ongoing.

The D felony obstruction charge is punishable by a maximum three-year prison term.

Text Only
Local News
  • GN140424 Emma1 Pioneer Drama Troupe to perform 'Emma' Emma has a gift for getting people together — or so she thinks. Pride and matchmaking gone awry are key to Jane Austen’s “Emma,” which will be brought to theatrical life this weekend by the Pioneer Drama Troupe.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Michigan Prisoner Escape Michigan murderer arraigned in prison escape that led to manhunt in Elkhart, LaGrange counties

    IONIA, Mich. — A convicted murderer who broke out of a western Michigan prison in February has been arraigned on escape, carjacking and kidnapping charges.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140423 Wakarusa Musical 3 'A Kid's Life' portrays sudden techno loss WAKARUSA — The young people of our present day society don’t remember ever having lived their lives without some element of electronic gadgetry becoming involved. For them, it would be difficult to fathom the possibility of a world “off the grid.” So the fourth- and fifth-grade students of Wakarusa Elementary School will offer a comedic and chaotic interpretation of such a dilemma with their upcoming musical “A Kid’s Life.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140423 stress relief 03 Furry pals help GC students with dog days of finals GOSHEN - Goshen College students took a break from preparing for final exams to hangout with some four-legged friends Monday afternoon.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140423 FF spring play_3547 Fairfield students to present Oscar Wilde classic BENTON — Fairfield’s musicals and plays have recently left their status as an extracurricular activity and come under the wing of the Performing Arts Department and under the direction of Andrew Muth.

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Sheriff Brad Rogers_0657 Sheriff travels to Nev. ranch in fed dispute Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers has weighed in on a controversy surrounding a Nevada rancher, and visited the scene of the struggle.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140209 snow storm 05 Elkhart, LaGrange counties denied FEMA aid GOSHEN — Elkhart and LaGrange counties were not among the 19 Indiana counties that had financial aid approved Tuesday by FEMA for a January winter storm.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep Roundup BASEBALL Falcons garner road win The Fairfield Falcons posted a 5-4 victory Tuesday evening at Rochester. Dustin Everage (three innings), Andrew Bobeck (three) and Austin Christner (one) pitched for the winners. Everage struck out three to earn the

    April 23, 2014

  • Akela.jpg SLIDESHOW: Pets of the Week Available cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Elkhart County. These loving animals are looking for permanent homes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN0423 BC IN Common Core Indiana panel approves new school standards

    A panel of Indiana business and education leaders were met with boos and jeers from attendees after they voted overwhelmingly Monday to support new math and English standards set to replace the Common Core in classrooms this fall.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers