Morgan Triplett pleaded not guilty after being charged with a misdemeanor for giving false information to a police officer. A student at UC Santa Barbara, Triplett was released back to school after appearing in court on March 29 and ordered to attend weekly counseling, given her complete lack of criminal history.
During the hearing, assistant district attorney Joanna Schonfield said that one day prior to Triplett’s original report of a brutal rape, Triplett posted two advertisements on the Santa Cruz region of Craigslist. In the second ad, Triplett asked for somebody with a “strong hand” to injure her.
After attending the regional Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender conference on the UCSC campus on Feb. 17, Schonfield said Triplett met up with a respondent to the second craigslist ad. The man beat Triplett up and then had sex with her. According to court records, Triplett assessed the extent of her injuries afterward and directed the man to hit her more.
Shortly after the two parted ways, Triplett dialed 911 and was taken to Dominican Hospital but declined to release clothing or DNA samples for evidence.
Schonfield said that no charges have been filed against the man who beat and had sex with Triplett, and that he has been cooperating with investigators.
“[A criminal offense] requires that there be no consent [for sexual activities] — and that the person committing them be aware that there is not consent,” Schonfield said in a later interview with City on a Hill Press.
Outside of court, Triplett’s father told reporters that the story was being mischaracterized. Richard Triplett said that his daughter had invited the beating, but had not invited the sex.
“There are two sides to every story,” Triplett said to the Register Pajaronian. “Morgan asked for some trouble, but she did not ask to be sexually assualted.”
Triplett has been allowed to return to school on the conditions that she use the Internet only for school work, attend weekly counseling and return to court when summoned. Schonfield said that Triplett has a history of pathological lying and had been feeling suicidal in the days before the event.
“My understanding is she is seeing a counselor [in Santa Barbara] and we just wanted to make sure she continued for as long as the case continues,” Schonfield said.
As the trial continues, Schonfield may seek restitution for the costs of the UCSC police department’s investigation. The next court date is set for May 23.