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Bogus rape report lands Utah woman in jail

Published May 23, 2014 7:29 pm

Crime • Prosecutors say she used the fabricated crime to apply for victim funds.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A St. George woman who filed a bogus police report alleging she was raped — and then cashed in on the claim — has been sentenced to 30 days in jail.

In the months after reporting she was raped, Sarah Elizabeth Rutz, 27, filed an application with the Utah Office for Victims of Crime stating she had suffered "injury and loss" due to the fabricated crime.

Rutz received more than $26,000 from the fund, which a judge this week ordered her to repay.

Rutz was initially charged in 5th District Court with one second-degree felony count of making a fraudulent crime victim reparations application and three class B misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a police officer.

This week, she pleaded guilty to a reduced third-degree felony count of making a fraudulent crime victim reparations application, and a single count of providing false information to a police officer.

Judge G. Michael Westfall suspended a potential zero-to-five-year prison term, instead ordering jail time and 36 months probation.

The probation includes 100 hours of community service, completing mental health treatment and paying $26,559.96 in restitution. Rutz also must write three letters of apology, one to the St. George Police Department, one to co-workers and one to her family.

On May 2, 2012, St. George police were called to the scene of an alleged sexual assault in a tunnel along the bike path running under 1800 W. Sunset Blvd. Rutz was taken to Dixie Regional Medical Center to be examined, and it was there she purportedly told police she had been raped while jogging by an unknown male.

Rutz provided a description of her alleged assailant and aided a police artist in preparing a suspect sketch. However, investigators began to notice inconsistencies in Rutz's story, including her insistence that she had not had sexual relations with anyone but her husband prior to the incident.

"During the months after the initial rape report, our investigation identified a man Ms. Rutz told us she had contacted through the personals section of Craig's List," police Detective Terrance Taylor wrote in a probable cause statement. "The man's e-mail address was tracked back to an individual living in St. George [and] a DNA sample was obtained from the man and it matched the DNA profile of the sperm recovered from the examination of Ms. Rutz."