Police: Nature Trail Assault a Hoax

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

Monday’s sexual assault on the nature trail was a hoax, according to police reports and an e-mail sent by President Dr. Stephen G. Emerson ‘74 last week.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the student lied to police in addition to fabricating evidence.

The original BiCo News story reported that:

Updated as of 4/14/09 1:45pm:

In a Security Alert sent to all students, King gave a more comprehensive description of the attacker. The victim stated that she was approached by a white male, approximately 40 years of age, 5′8” tall, wearing glasses, khaki pants, a blue shirt and gloves. The attacker stated that he was armed with a gun, though no firearm was observed. The victim also stated that the attacker walked her to a more heavily wooded area behind Orchard Field lot and sexually assaulted her.

A female Haverford student was sexually assaulted on the nature trail this afternoon, according to Safety and Security Director Tom King. The attack took place around 4:00 p.m. near the Orchard Parking Lot and the Ardmore Ice Skating parking lot, King said in an e-mail to students.

Students were first alerted to something out of the ordinary by several news helicopters flying repeatedly over the campus.

The attacker was described by King and in news reports as an older white man wearing a long sleeve shirt and gloves.

The victim was discovered after a passerby heard cries for help, according Director of College Communications Chris Mills in a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

King advised students to travel in groups or ask for a security escort if alone.


  1. Attention getting??? I believe there is supposed to be a big penalty for doing this to police, but she may get off by saying she was stressed, etc., which led to a bit of insanity. Maybe her punishment will be community service such as working with rape victims. And hopefully a lot of counseling.

  2. Bury this if you like, but @parent2: stress…leading to insanity? You really think so??? She was a Haverford student, for crying out loud! Safety school!!!
    That said, working with rape victims seems like an appropriate punishment, since crying wolf now only hurts the unfortunate future potential victims. She should understand the consequences of her actions.

  3. arrogantswattie– Seriously? Believe it or not, there are a lot of reasons for stress that exist outside of a person's academic life.

    I would hope that we could all acknowledge that this student must be having a tough time right now, and hope that she's getting the help that she needs without resorting to stupid jokes about Haverford.

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