Charges were dropped against a white man accused of urinating on a 5-year-old black girl because the story was a hoax concocted by a group of children, according to prosecutors.
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday that the children made up the lie “to avoid trouble,” as one child actually urinated on another, the Associated Press reports.
The children’s story, however, was picked up by multiple media outlets, including Oxygen.com, before being identified as a hoax.
Originally, as KUTV reported, a woman named Katrena Rapier called Grand Rapids police last Wednesday and told cops that her two young boys were playing with a girl and her brother in a library parking lot. Then, a man allegedly started urinating on the girl as she hid behind bushes while yelling racial slurs at her. Rapier said that the girl was “soaking wet and scared” and “smelled like nothing but urine” when she came home, and that her two sons witnessed the event and confirmed that the man said the n-word to the girl.
While the Grand Rapids Police Department did not release the suspect's name, media identified him as David Allen Dean, who lives on the same street as both the little girl and Rapier, KUTV reported. State police records indicate that Dean, 60, of Grand Rapids, was arrested Wednesday on the charge of “indecent exposure by a sexually delinquent person,” indicating his status as a convicted sex offender.
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office’s first statement, released Thursday, said the office was “aware of the incident, which is still under investigation.”
A day later, Michigan State Police records indicate that Dean was released Friday without charge. The prosecutor’s office then issued a revised statement.
“A thorough investigation by the Grand Rapids Police Department, in conjunction with the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office, has revealed that recent allegation that an adult male urinated on a child were fabricated,” the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. “After interviews by a trained specialist, the parents of the children talked to them more, and the children admitted the adult make was not involved. One of the children urinated on another child, and the story was concocted to avoid trouble. Additionally, citizens in the surrounding provided a verifiable alibi for the recorded time of the incident.”