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
  • GN140722 fair food drive 03 Fair's food drive falls short of world record, but is still a success

    For a 24-hour period, the Elkhart County 4-H Fair “All IN” food drive committee attempted a “Guinness Book of World Records” for the largest single-day food drive. Their goal: 560,000 pounds of food collected from 1 p.m. Sunday to 1 p.m. Monday.

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140722 fair special needs awareness 02 Many enjoy Disabilities Awareness Day at the fair

    Barry Malone stepped off the Orient Express roller coaster ride, grinning. “That I was fun. I liked that,” Malone said with a laugh. “That was a good ride, too.” Malone attended the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Monday and participated in the Disabilities Awareness Day activities and events at Heritage Park, just inside the main gate.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • GN131016 county commissioners ELKHART COUNTY COMMISSIONERS: Volume cranked up on noise violators

    Elkhart County Commissioners Monday approved the adoption of an ordinance amending the current Elkhart County Noise Ordinance to include stricter penalties for repeat violators.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

  • GN140721 fair ride 01.jpg SLIDESHOW: Francesca Battistelli at the fair Christian artist Francesca Battistelli performed at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Sunday night.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140721 fair parade 43 THE PASSING PARADE GOSHEN — The Elkhart County 4-H Fair Parade wound its way from downtown Goshen to the fairgrounds Sunday afternoon, bringing smiles to the faces of adults and children alike with horns, sirens, candy and fun floats. Gail Janssen, of Goshen, said that

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • SLIDESHOW: Elkhart County 4-H Fair Parade

    July 20, 2014

  • 0720 fair faces Giddens Katheryn Giddens joined 4-H on a whim GOSHEN — She’d have a hard time convincing her 4-H fair family now, but when Katheryn Giddens started her first year in the program, she was shy. “I hardly ever talked. I just showed up and did my thing and didn’t talk much at all,” she said. Gidden

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 22 states have jobless rate drop

    WASHINGTON22 states have jobless rate dropUnemployment rates dropped in 22 U.S. states last month and stayed the same in 14, as the nation at large posted a fifth straight month of solid hiring.The Labor Department said Friday that unemployment rates

    July 20, 2014

  • GN140720 Maple scholars_VanDerZwaag EXPLORING SUMMER GOSHEN — Fourteen Goshen College students are participating in the Maple Scholars Summer Research Program.Started in 1998, Maple Scholars is an eight-week program of research, experimentation, analysis and archiving data. It provides an opportunity f

    July 20, 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.

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results
AP Video
UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism Native American Teens Get Taste of College Legendary Actor James Garner Dies Ukraine Rebels: Black Boxes Will Be Returned Recording May Show Attempt at Crash Cover-up