The Elkhart County prosecutor announced Monday that the accuser in an alleged January 18 rape had lied.
Jessica DeLa Vega, 19, of Elkhart reported to Goshen Police that she was walking to her car on Goshen College campus around 1:00 a.m. when a man walked up to her and forced her into the vehicle. She said she was told to drive to another location where the suspect sexually assaulted her.
At a Monday press conference, Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis T. Hill Jr. said investigators discovered DeLa Vega was actually at party in a neighboring county during the time the rape supposedly happened.
The accusation led to increased police and security on Goshen College campus, and a rise in fear in the students. According to Hill, approximately 200 man hours were invested in the rape investigation.
Hill said while it pained him to file charges against a 19 year old, he wanted to send a message.
“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,” said Hill. “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.”
Hill says this news is relief.
"We do not have someone out here raping college co-eds, that's the good news," said Hill. "The bad news is we would have to undertake this type of exercise."
Hill would not explain why DeLa Vega allegedly filed the false report to police, because this is an ongoing investigation.
DeLa Vega has not been charged, but the prosecutor's office is in the process of filing charges. She faces 18 months in jail.
Also, we don't know if there were any repercussions on the Goshen College campus. The college's director of public affairs would only tell WSBT News that DeLa Vega is no longer an enrolled student.