MSNBC / October 24, 2008
McCain volunteer admits she made up story about Black attacker who carved a ‘B’ on her cheek
PITTSBURGH – A John McCain volunteer in Pittsburgh who said she was robbed and sexually assaulted because of her political views has admitted to fabricating the story, police sources told a TV station.
KDKA TV added that one source said Ashley Todd would face charges.
Police have not formally announced the fabrication, acknowledging only that detectives in the case were meeting with the force’s public information officers.
Todd, of College Station, Texas, earlier agreed to take a polygraph test due to inconsistencies. Among other things, police said photos and bank card information from an automated teller machine where the college student claimed she was robbed do not show her using the machine at the time, police said. Police said Todd, who is white, told them she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night. Other differences in her accounts are whether she lost consciousness, whether she remembers handing over money and how the man assaulted her, police said.
GOP candidates call her
The report of the attack prompted the Republican presidential candidate and his running mate, Sarah Palin, to call Todd expressing their concern. Barack Obama’s campaign also issued a statement wishing Todd well and hoping the attacker would be swiftly brought to justice.
The Associated Press could not immediately locate Todd or her family.
Ethan Eilon, executive director of the College Republican National Committee, told reporters that Todd worked in New York for several months before moving to Pennsylvania two weeks ago to continue working for the group. Eilon declined to comment on the investigation Friday or to help The Associated Press contact Todd. In a follow-up e-mail, Eilon said, “We think this girl has endured enough and that this is going to be something for her and her family to work through.”
In her initial account, Richard said, Todd attempted to use the ATM when the man approached her from behind, put a knife with a 4- to 5-inch blade to her throat and demanded money. She told police she handed the assailant $60 and walked away. Todd told investigators that she suspected the man then noticed a John McCain sticker on her car, became angry and punched her in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground and telling her “you are going to be a Barack supporter,” police said in a statement. She said he continued to punch and kick her while threatening “to teach her a lesson for being a McCain supporter,” police said. She said he then sat on her chest, pinned her hands down with his knees and scratched a backward letter “B” into her face using what she believed to be a dull knife.
The woman told police she didn’t seek medical attention, but instead went to a friend’s apartment nearby and called police about 45 minutes later.
In the subsequent discussions with investigators, according to the police statement, Todd said she was accosted as she approached the bank and fled her attacker, fell to the ground and the assailant began beating and fondling her.