Foster City woman lied about rape, police say

A woman’s story about a late-night sexual assault was revealed to be a hoax Wednesday, after police investigations revealed that she was at a restaurant with one of the alleged assailants the night she claimed the attack took place.

The 22-year-old San Mateo resident told Foster City police that she was assaulted by three men on Foster City Boulevard north of state Route 92 at approximately 9 p.m. June 12.

Cpt. Jon Froomin said the woman claimed the three men offered to help her after her Jeep Liberty broke down. Allegedly she was forced out of the car at gunpoint and raped in a grassy area.

Forensic evidence found on the woman’s vehicle led officers to one of the suspects, Robert Salapuddin, 25, who was arrested on unrelated warrants from San Mateo County and Santa Clara County, for misdemeanor embezzlement and felony forgery, respectively.

When questioned about his whereabouts the night of the attack, he told investigators he had been in a local restaurant with the alleged victim, and she confirmed the alibi, revealing that the assault claim was a hoax.

“Everything was made up, there were no sexual relations that occurred that night,” Froomin said.

The other two men originally identified in the attack were both fabrications.

Froomin said the department is waiting to consult with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office on possible charges against the woman.

Filing a false police report is a crime, but given the nature of sexual assault crimes, the department is hesitant to do anything that could discourage the reporting of sexual assaults.

“We don’t want to contribute tofurthering that trend, because in a lot of sexual assault incidents, people tend to question their own recollection, and if they see people being prosecuted, they may hesitate to report it,” Froomin said.

Salapuddin is still in San Mateo County jail, and will likely be taken to Santa Clara County once his San Mateo crimes are dealt with. Froomin said investigators are still trying to determine the woman’s motive in creating the hoax.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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