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Police doubt rape claim

| Saturday, Feb. 9, 2002, 12:00 p.m.

Investigators are beginning to doubt the claims of a Dormont woman who said she was raped and mutilated earlier this week and believe that her report relates to a love triangle — for which she now faces charges, police said Friday.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the woman, whose name is not being released by police because the case still is being treated as a rape investigation. She faces charges of burglary in the city of Pittsburgh and could face charges in Dormont of having filed a false report, Pittsburgh police Lt. Dan Herman said.

Herman said the 21-year-old woman was in the hospital recovering from wounds suffered Tuesday afternoon, when she said she was raped at her Dell Avenue apartment.

Dormont police Chief Russell McKibben said the charges that she faces in Pittsburgh relate to a woman associated with a man with whom the alleged rape victim had a relationship.

McKibben said his suspicions arose when the woman would not cooperate with investigators. She missed a meeting yesterday with Dormont and Allegheny County police.

The woman and her father have asked police to drop the matter, McKibben said.

"We, of course, will not do that," McKibben said.

The woman, 21, originally told police that she had just finished showering Tuesday afternoon, when she was attacked from behind, bound, gagged and blindfolded. She said she was sexually assaulted and was cut. Her chest was slashed and the word "slut" was carved into her forehead, investigators said.

There was no sign of forced entry, McKibben said, noting that the front door to the building was locked. The woman could not identify or describe her attacker.

"There's no way for us to come to a conclusion without more information," McKibben said. "She has managed to trigger hysteria in my town."

The case is the second high-profile incident in the tightly knit community. In October, Ann Schmidt, owner of the Book Rack on Potomac Avenue, was fatally beaten; a suspect was not identified for days. The bookstore is expected to reopen today under new management.

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