PALO ALTO, Calif. -- A 25-year-old Stanford employee is facing charges that she lied about being raped twice on the campus last year, apparently in an effort to target a coworker, the Santa Clara County District Attorney said Wednesday.
Jennifer Gries, of Santa Clara, allegedly fabricated two attacks that she reported in August and October, each time describing her assailant as a Black man in his 20s, prosecutors said.
She also told an acquaintance that her attacker was a coworker who had sexually assaulted her, that she became pregnant with his twins, and that she had a miscarriage, prosecutors with the district attorney's office alleged.
Prosecutors said that Gries was not pregnant at the time, and that evidence shows she allegedly made up the attacks because she was angry at a coworker -- who fit the description of the alleged rapist.
"This is a rare and deeply destructive crime," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "Our hearts go out to the falsely accused. Our hearts go out students who had to look over their shoulders on their way to class. Our hearts go out to legitimate sexual assault victims who wonder if they will be believed."
Gries was taken into custody on Wednesday morning on suspicion of felony perjury and other charges. Her bail was set at $25,000.
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The first alleged rape was reported on Aug. 9, 2022, when Gries went to Valley Medical Center for a sexual assault forensic exam. She didn't want law enforcement to contact her at that time, but signed a consent form acknowledging that the nurse must notify law enforcement, prosecutors said.
Gries allegedly told the nurse that she was raped by a person she didn't know in the Munger Residence Hall restroom that connects to the Wilbur parking garage. The assailant was described as a Black man in his late 20s, and she allegedly said he approached her when she going to her car, grabbed her, told her not to scream, and raped her.
The second assault was reported on Oct. 7, when Gries went to Stanford Hospital for another rape exam. She allegedly told that nurse that she was coming back from lunch to her front office when a man she didn't know grabbed her arm, took to her to the basement into a storage closet and raped her. She allegedly said the assailant was a Black man in his late 20s, slender, about 6 feet tall. She again signed a consent form, acknowledging that the nurse is a mandated reporter.
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Both of Gries's sexual assault examination kits were given priority, due to the public safety risk of a potential sex offender, prosecutors said. The lab results were not consistent with her story, prosecutors said.
The Stanford Department of Public Safety continued to investigate the alleged assaults and found that Gries had made a recent sexual harassment complaint against a coworker who fit the description of the alleged rapist.
They also discovered that she allegedly told an acquaintance that she was in a relationship with the man and named him.
Gries was interviewed by a District Attorney Sheena Woodland on Jan. 24, and at that time she wrote a letter of apology to the coworker, according to a release from the district's attorney's office.