A 34-year-old Sebago woman was charged Thursday with filing a false report stemming from a July 2014 sexual assault allegation, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s office said Friday.

Lindsay Anderson was ordered held on $3,000 cash bail on the misdemeanor charge, the sheriff’s office said.

According to a statement, Anderson alleged that she was carjacked in Gorham on July 17, 2014, by two men, forced to drive to a remote area and sexually assaulted. Authorities were notified when Anderson told someone at Mercy Hospital in Portland that she had been sexually assaulted.

After months of investigation, police suspected something was amiss about her story, said Lt. Don Foss.

Foss said the sheriff’s office and other agencies spent nine months, on and off, investigating the case.

It is not clear yet whether Anderson, if convicted, would be forced to repay the sheriff’s department for the time spent investigating the alleged false report. If convicted, Anderson could face up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Foss said the charge against Anderson, while rare, is problematic because it may send the message to victims of sexual assault that police will doubt their stories.

“All cases that are reported we believe, and they’re thoroughly investigated,” Foss said. “The police are cognizant that this may actually create a deterrent for true victims of sexual violence from reporting their crime to police for fear they won’t be believed. That’s simply not true, and we thoroughly investigate all of these complaints.”

A similar case played out in Portland last August, when a woman told authorities that she was grabbed and sexually assaulted as she jogged along the Back Cove running trail.

Sarah Dodge, 34, of Bridgton, was charged with making a false report in that case, when witness accounts from the area contradicted her statements about what happened.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

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