When a woman (or a man) is raped, the trauma can last a lifetime and the guilty party is someone that even other prison inmates look down on. Likewise, anyone who claims rape when it did not take place has cast a terrible trauma and stigma upon an innocent person. They too must face justice, as MLive has confirmed today.
Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran previously said that he did not intend to put Mary T. Zolkowski, 21, behind bars for her offense, but Monday he had a change of heart. For lying about being raped in a Delta College parking lot, she will serve “45 days in jail, with no credit for any time served.” In all, the would-be victim claimed three different attacks.
When she does get out of jail in the fall, she will be on probation for two years, as well. Beyond that, the judge hit her with an order that during those two years, she shall “be tested for drugs and alcohol and participate in substance abuse counseling.”
Sheeran was not done there, however. Zolkowski also has to undergo a mental health evaluation. Court documents show that 220 days of her sentence has been deferred, so the false accuser won’t have to serve them unless she breaks probation.
The judge could have given anywhere from “zero to six months” in the slammer, so he was not as hard as he could have been.
The problem with this isn’t that the liar got punished for her words. Rather, during a Cobbs hearing to “outline the likely penalty a defendant will face if convicted,” Sheeran implied that he would not jail the accuser. The judge was honest and implied that he was going to pull back from his words at the Cobb hearing, but Zolkowski did not take back her plea “to a four-year felony.”
The fake victim admitted that on February 22, “I called Delta College and falsely reported the rape on their campus. My mother made the initial call and I took the phone and continued to report.”
When asked by the judge why her mother called the college at all, the defendant answered, “She was concerned for me.”
Seeing that Zolkowski was trying to wiggle out of confessing the entire truth, Sheeran asked, “Had you told her something that made her call?” To this, she stated, “Yes, I told her I was raped. I told them it happened in the back parking lot. I didn’t say who by.”
In this case, it looked like it was not one man who was defamed but an entire campus. This kind of fib could cost a fortune if students are worried about their safety or parents are fretting similar issues.
She also told police that she was assaulted by a ‘black man.’ Since a sex offender was known to be in the area at the time, he was questioned, but passed a polygraph test.
At least that is what she claimed. The judge even asked her a second time to be clear on the matter and she blew it.
As it turns out, and this is likely what angered the judge, Zolkowski had consensual sex on February 22 and later did blame that man. This person showed the police of texts her saying that she was raped in a Walmart parking lot to him, as confusing as that sounds.
This lady was obsessed with the idea of being sexually assaulted. Perhaps she wanted to be a victim, a very common problem and a variant of the Munchausen Syndrome.
When asked why she made up the sexual assault yarn, Zolkowski said, “I was assaulted previously, not at Delta’s campus. And because I was ashamed of circumstances of that, when my mother called, I vented through Delta, which was very wrong of me. I should have been truthful from the very beginning, and I used Delta.”
The faker had claimed that the pain of rape had caused her to drop her classes, yet her classes were dropped before the made-up attack, college records reveal. That was the start of her story falling to bits and it only got worse from there.
As the #MeToo movement grows, it is vital to remember that not everyone accused is guilty. There are plenty of people who spread lies and the reasons for doing so are as vast as the ocean.
It is not likely that Zolkowski will be making any more false claims. If she ever really is raped, however, it will very hard to get anyone to believe her.