Vernal man charged with making false sexual assault claim

Published: Thursday, April 24 2014 1:15 p.m. MDT

Jose Orpinela, 40, is charged in 8th District Court with making a false statement, a class A misdemeanor, and two counts of providing false information to police, a class B misdemeanor. Vernal police say that they have been able to "disprove" Orpinela's report that he was attacked by two men in this alley south of Main Street on March 8, 2014, and sexually assaulted while being threatened with a weapon.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

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VERNAL — A man is facing three misdemeanor charges after police say they determined that he lied about being sexually assaulted.

Jose Orpinela, 40, is charged in 8th District Court with making a false statement, a class A misdemeanor, and two counts of providing false information to police, a class B misdemeanor.

On March 18, Orpinela told officers he was accosted by two men in an alley near the intersection of Main Street and Vernal Avenue after leaving work at a downtown business, according to Vernal Police Lt. Keith Campbell.

Orpinela said both attackers sexually assaulted him while threatening him with a weapon, the initial police report states. Detectives collected video from surveillance cameras in the area and also conducted a number of interviews, including multiple interviews with Orpinela.

It was during those follow-up interviews that his story fell apart, according to police.

"There was no assault," Campbell said Thursday. "It did not happen, period."

The lieutenant declined to speculate about what might cause Orpinela to make a false report.

"I'm sure he had some kind of motive," Campbell said. "Only he knows what that was."

Orpinela is due in court May 27.

Email: gliesik@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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