Rape claim was cover for cheating on husband, charges allege
A St. Paul psychologist is accused of making up the attack and changing her story several times; her attorney points to prescription medication that she was taking.
By James Walsh, Star Tribune
Last update: December 18, 2007 - 7:33 PM
A St. Paul psychologist who claimed she was raped by a patient in her office in October 2006 has instead been charged with falsely reporting a crime.
Authorities say that Jill Ajao, 41, made the rape claim to conceal an extramarital affair and to "protect herself and her family." The false report prompted a detailed police investigation, the release of a suspect sketch and surveillance photo and the sifting through of hundreds of tips, according to the criminal complaint filed last week.
Police spokesman Tom Walsh said Tuesday that it was unusual for his department to seek the charges against a woman who claimed to be a victim and police did so only after a thorough investigation.
"It's extremely rare. It's rare because we don't want victims not to report" a crime, he said. "But it's very clear that this young woman was not sexually assaulted. And given the fear that she created in our community, we felt that this action was necessary."
Falsely reporting a crime is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Jerod Peterson, an attorney for Ajao, said that she is "a thoughtful, intelligent psychologist" whose personal behavior in late 2006 was affected by medication prescribed to her for a post-partum thyroid condition.
"We believe that the court will respond compassionately to the charge against her once the incident has been described in its proper context," Peterson said.
"The complaint against Ms. Ajao does not accurately describe the single isolated incident upon which the charge is based," he said.
According to the complaint, this is what authorities say happened:
On Oct. 26, 2006, Ajao called police and tearfully reported she had been raped by a patient named Jeff in her Selby Avenue office two days before. She described specifics of the attack. She said that Jeff had not filled out any of the required paperwork for his appointment. Ajao said she had never seen him before but would recognize him if she saw him again.
But, on Oct. 28, Ajao contacted police and changed her story. She said she'd met the rapist at a restaurant down the hall from her office and that surveillance video would show her walking with him. She also said she had gone to a store to buy sex-related novelties and speculated that her attacker may have seen her there.
On Oct. 30, a witness from the restaurant said she saw Ajao and a man together in the bar talking before leaving together and that they seemed "familiar with each other." Also on Oct. 30, police released a surveillance photo of the man and received hundreds of calls from the public.
On Jan. 6, Ajao again changed her story. This time, she said she'd met the man online and that he suggested that she go to the novelty store. She said she didn't expect to meet the man the day they got together and that there was an expectation that "there would be no sex."
On Feb. 9, 2007, the man asked Ajao in an e-mail whether she "finally admitted that the encounter was consensual and that she claimed rape to cover up an affair. She replied 'yes,' " the complaint said.
A factor in seeking charges, Walsh said, was that the man she said raped her had been subjected to public attention when his photo was shown in the media to help police solve an alleged rape.
Staff writer Anthony Lonetree contributed to this report.