Stanford Employee Charged With Lying About Rape to Get Revenge on Coworker

Wim De Gent
By Wim De Gent
March 16, 2023Californiashare
Stanford Employee Charged With Lying About Rape to Get Revenge on Coworker
Stanford University is pictured in Palo Alto, California on November 14, 2013. (C Flanigan/Getty Images)

A 25-year-old Stanford employee faces two felony counts of perjury and two misdemeanor counts for intentionally lying about being raped twice on the California university’s campus last year, according to a press release from the local District Attorney’s office.

On Aug. 9, 2022, Jennifer Gries, a Neighborhood Housing Service Center Supervisor at Stanford, told county sexual assault forensic exam nurses that she had been attacked by an unknown black man in a campus garage.

According to the DA’s Office, Gries said she did not want law enforcement to contact her at that time. She did, however, sign a consent form, thus acknowledging the nurse attending her as a mandated reporter who was obliged to notify law enforcement.

News of the attack triggered campus-wide safety alerts, fear, and campus unrest. The Stanford Daily published a student-written op-ed that deplored the “omnipresence of rape culture on Stanford campus.”

Two months later, on Oct. 7, Gries reported being attacked again, claiming that this time she was raped in a basement storage closet, and once more by an unknown black man. Gries again declined to speak to law enforcement.

Stanford Reacts

Given the perceived public safety risk, Stanford’s Department of Public Safety continued its investigation into the two alleged sexual assaults. The investigation revealed that Gries had made a sexual harassment complaint against a coworker earlier that year—a young black man who fit the description of the alleged rapist.

The investigation also revealed that Gries had told an acquaintance that she was in a relationship with the man, who she had named. She claimed that she had been sexually assaulted by him, becoming pregnant with twins. Gries allegedly claimed to have suffered a miscarriage, but the DA’s investigation revealed that she was not pregnant at that time.

The lab results from both of Gries’ sexual assault examination kits also proved to be inconsistent with her story. The DA’s investigation eventually found that Gries had made up the stories to take revenge on a co-worker.

The DA also stated that Gries twice applied for monetary support from the California Victim of Crimes Board, attesting that she was sexually assaulted.

“This is a rare and deeply destructive crime,” DA Rosen said. “Our hearts go out to the falsely accused. Our hearts go out to students who had to look over their shoulders on their way to class. Our hearts go out to legitimate sexual assault victims who wonder if they will be believed.”

In a statement released by the University on Wednesday, Co-Chair of the Community Board on Public Safety, Patrick Dunkley, and Director of Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS), Laura Wilson, wrote that “These false reports are damaging, both for true survivors of sexual assault and for the members of our community who experienced fear and alarm from the reports,” adding that false reports like these are “extremely rare.”

Gries has since written a letter of apology to the man she falsely accused. According to The New York Post, the man said the incident had “scarred” him during a time when he was caring for his ill mother, who has since passed away.

Gries is booked at Santa Clara jail, and her initial bail is set at $25,000.

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