A college athlete was arrested for rape, but it's his accuser who is in trouble, SC police say

College Sports Soccer

A student-athlete at a South Carolina college was arrested and charged with rape, but it is his accuser who is in trouble now, according to the police.

Lauren Emily Pearson, 18, has been arrested and charged with filing a false police report regarding the rape accusation, wmbfnews.com reported.

Pearson accused fellow Coker College student Cesar Antonio Lopez of sexually assaulting her in the bathroom of a dorm where a party was held in the early morning hours of April 29, according to wpde.com.

Later that morning, Pearson called the Hartsville Police Department, and after telling her account of the incident, was taken to an area hospital where a sexual assault exam was conducted, wbtw.com reported. The results of that examination have not been shared publicly.

Police located Lopez, a 19-year-old soccer player, in his dorm room, and he was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping, according to wmbfnews.com, adding he was taken to Darlington County’s W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center, where his bond was set at $100,000.


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Lauren Emily Pearson

W. Glen Campbell Detention Center

Lopez, who had been suspended by Coker and banned from the campus, was released from jail on bond Wednesday, scnow.com reported.

On Thursday evening, Lt. Mark Blair said it was Pearson who was booked and behind bars at the W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center, according to wpde.com.

When asked if Pearson made up the story about the rape, Blair said “Essentially that’s it,” wbtw.com reported.

Lopez’s attorney, Paul V. Cannarella, said his client and Pearson had consensual sex, according to a wmbfnews.com report, before providing a brief timeline of how the official investigation changed.

“By mid-day Thursday, we were investigating things … that we believe are relevant to discrediting the allegations against Mr. Lopez,” Cannarella said, according to a news release. “By late afternoon, the statements made by the alleged victim and her friends when interviewed by police simply weren’t adding up. Several of Mr. Lopez’s friends and acquaintances were interviewed and provided differing versions of events.”

Blair said the office of 4th Circuit Solicitor Will Rogers will decide if Lopez’s charges are going to be dropped, wmbfnews.com reported.

Hartsville City Manager Natalie Zeigler confirmed the criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping charges against Lopez have been dropped, according to wbtw.com.

Pearson is no longer listed in the W. Glen Campbell Detention Center’s records, but no word has been given on her bond situation.

Cannarella said “it appears that justice may swiftly be served in this case,” but later added “its hard to un-ring the ‘charged with rape and kidnapping’ bell,” according to a news release.

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