GOSHEN — Jessica De La Vega said she was abducted from Goshen College at knife-point and then raped at a nearby park. Investigators say it was all a lie — that she made the story up as an excuse to her parents for being gone from home too long.
For months, students at Goshen College took extra steps to stay safe. They used security escorts and watched out for one another.
"We were always walking in pairs, especially that night," said Erica Yost, a senior at the university.
"I was definitely worried when I heard footsteps," said Cassie Greives. "You are always checking."
Now, students at Goshen College are letting their guard down. Former student De La Vega was formally charged Friday for filing a false report.
She told police she was abducted on campus and then raped at a nearby park. Investigators say that was a lie.
She told police she was on campus the night the attack allegedly happened. Court documents revealed she was in St. Joseph County having sex with a friend.
The probable cause affidavit also revealed it was actually De La Vega's mother who called police and told them her daughter was raped and abducted. The woman told officers her daughter was taken to the Reith Interpretative Center's parking lot, less than a mile from campus.
In the weeks that followed, a suspect sketch was released. According to the probable cause document, De La Vega identified very specific features of her assailant.
It was only recently that officers confronted De La Vega about the holes in her story. She admitted driving to the parking lot and creating the story.
De La Vega posted bail and will appear in court on April 6. She faces three years in jail if convicted.