Woman who accused officer of rape is charged
Web Posted: 05/27/2005 12:00 AM CDT
It was an incredible allegation: an assistant police chief
and 30-year department veteran accused of raping a relative.
the hospital where the woman was being examined, an investigating officer reported
that she appeared frightened as she recounted the lurid details of how and when
the assaults occurred.
But, as it turned out, officials determined that
the accounts were not true.
Marci Lynette Bennett, 39, the woman who
leveled the charge against her uncle Assistant Police Chief Jerry Pittman, was
arrested Thursday and charged with perjury and filing a false report, both misdemeanors.
Bond was set at $1,600. Bennett also faces a theft charge in another
Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said his office pursued
charges after it was determined that Bennett knew what she was doing was wrong.
Prosecutors also established a link between Bennett's accusations and a request
that Pittman help her with the theft charge.
"People like this who make
false allegations undermine the system for everyone else who is a legitimate victim
of crime," Herberg said. "I would not wish what happened to Chief Pittman on my
In February, the case against Pittman led newscasts, dominated
headlines and was fodder for talk radio. And people debated Police Chief Albert
Ortiz's decision to leave Pittman at his post - which includes oversight of the
department's sex crimes unit - during the investigation.
the allegation from the start and said he was confident the department's investigation
would exonerate him. He declined to comment Thursday, noting that he is a potential
witness in the case against Bennett.
Bennett called police Feb. 6, Super
Bowl Sunday, to say her uncle had raped her on three occasions, and that he had
threatened her if she told anyone.
But separate investigations by the
Police Department and the district attorney's office exonerated Pittman. Evidence
including witness statements, phone records and surveillance tapes from stores
indicated that Pittman could not have been at the location where Bennett alleged
the assaults occurred.
Ortiz also revealed that Bennett had previously
filed sexual assault reports against as many as seven other men, including her
father, brother and another San Antonio police officer. Although none of those
accusations was found to have merit, Bennett was never charged in connection with
When Pittman was exonerated in March, District Attorney
Susan Reed said, "Truly, this is a case where there isn't any evidence." She later
added that Bennett was "lying. It's that simple."
Reed theorized that
Bennett lied in retaliation for Pittman's refusal to help her get rid of the theft
case pending against her. The hotel where she worked had accused her of refunding
more than $10,000 in customers' credit card charges into her own bank account.
In that case, Bennett was indicted on a felony theft charge Thursday
by a Bexar County grand jury.