Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Weird Craigslist Ad Leads to Rape Hoax

People use Craigslist to find all sorts of crazy experiences, but 20-year-old Morgan Triplett’s post was a little too far out.

Morgan Triplett

Morgan Triplett

Triplett’s February 16, 2013, ad in the Santa Cruz Craigslist listings offered sex in exchange for her partner shooting her in the shoulder. Finding no takers, she placed a second ad looking for a man to “punch, kick, and bruise” her in exchange for sex.

Triplett received several responses to that post and soon met up with a man for sex and violence. “They had sex and afterwards she used a cellphone screen reflection as a mirror to see if the injuries were bad enough,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing, “[Triplett] then directed him to hit her some more.”

Triplett promised that she would not file charges against her Craigslist liaison. Instead she called 911 on February 17 to report that a stranger had attacked and raped her in broad daylight while she was looking for banana slugs on the UC Santa Cruz campus (the banana slug is the mascot of UCSC sports teams).

The reported rape set off a panic across the Santa Cruz campus as police officers worked around the clock looking for her alleged attacker. The bruises were real, but investigators were surprised that she would not allow DNA samples to be taken. After 11 days of investigation, UCSC police determined that her report was a hoax, and Triplett confessed to the deception.

Last week, Triplett filed into a Santa Cruz courthouse for her arraignment on the misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report. She pleaded not guilty.

Triplett, a student at UC Santa Barbara, was visiting UC Santa Cruz to take part in a lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender conference. Prosecutor Johanna Schonfield said Triplett was suffering emotionally at the time: “Part of the prompting for posting these ads was thoughts of suicide, depression, and wanting somebody to hurt her to almost bring her back to life,” said Schoenfeld. The man who responded to the ad has been identified by police and is reportedly coopertaing with the investigation.

Richard Triplett, Morgan’s father, told reporters “there are two sides to every story… Morgan asked for some trouble, but she did not ask to be sexually assaulted.”

Superior Court Judge John Gallagher released Triplett on her own recognizance, but ordered her not to use the Internet for anything other than schoolwork and to continue counseling sessions back in Santa Barbara.

Although her next hearing is May 23, Triplett told media outside court that details will come out that will shed more light on the story, but “right now I just want this to settle down. I’m trying to move on with my life.”

Victim Arrested After Reported Rape Turns Out to be a Rape Fantasy

Slideshow: Craigslist Crimes and Misdemeanors

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