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Police: Bogus rape report lands St. George woman in jail

Published September 26, 2012 2:08 pm

Crime • Prosecutors say she used fabricated crime to apply for victim funds.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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 has been charged with filing a bogus police report alleging she was raped on a bike path last May — and then trying to cash in on the claim.

In 5th District Court documents filed Tuesday, Sarah Elizabeth Rutz, 25, was charged 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.

Judge James Shumate issued a warrant for her arrest on the charges and Rutz was booked into Washington County Jail. She was released late Tuesday night after posting $12,500 bail.

Efforts to reach Rutz, who does not have a listed telephone number, were not successful.

On May 2, St. George police had been 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."

Confronted with the evidence, Taylor wrote, the woman admitted she had concocted the rape story.

After her initial rape report. Rutz had filed an application with the Utah Office for Victims of Crime stating she had suffered "injury and loss" due to the fabricated crime, Taylor charged.

St. George Police Capt. Kyle Whitehead told The Spectrum newspaper that the fraud charge stems from money Rutz obtained from the Utah State Crime Victims Reparation fund. He said Rutz received more than $25,000 from the fund.

remims@sltrib.com