Breana Rachelle Harmon was charged with several felonies this week for lying about being raped by a group of black men, the Houston Chronicle reports.
In March 2017, the 19-year-old Harmon walked into a church in Texas with cuts and scratches all over her body and told the parishioners that she had been kidnapped and raped by three black men wearing ski masks. Police began to find holes in her story almost immediately and later concluded that Harmon had concocted the entire incident.
"Our team of detectives, led by John Watt, did an outstanding job in the case," noted Denison Police Chief Jay Burch. "Almost from the beginning, we had doubts in Harmon's story as the puzzle pieces just weren't coming together. We were unable to corroborate any of Harmon's allegations that she had been abducted or sexually assaulted."
Further investigation at the alleged crime scene found no evidence of assault and Harmon's wounds were self-inflicted.
Confronted with this evidence, Harmon "confessed to the hoax," according to Burch.
Joe Brown, the district attorney for Texas' Grayson County explained the charges Harmon faces for her actions were initially not incredibly severe; however, that changed following further review.
"Ms. Harmon was originally arrested for the misdemeanor offense of false report to a peace officer," Brown said in a news release Wednesday. "That charge was a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. However, the more we have looked at what happened in this case, and considered the harm it caused, and certainly could have caused, we believe what she did fits the elements of these higher charges. What she did was very serious, and we believe it was felony conduct."
Harmon could now face up to 10 years behind bars; last week, she pleaded guilty to two counts tampering with or fabricating physical evidence and two counts of tampering with government records as part of a plea deal, according to WPXI.
"She's very remorseful for what she did and what she said," said Harmon's attorney Bob Jarvis, "and that's why she decided to plead guilty."
Harmon's sentencing is scheduled for March 20 where she will face either regular probation or deferred adjudication.
Burch described the whole ordeal as “insulting to our community and especially offensive to the African American community,” and noted that the case has increased tension in the area.
"This alleged crime as reported by Harmon made many in the community fearful there were individuals abducting women," Burch added. "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."