Here's a story that makes me even more glad I voted against Proposition 5 in the Anchorage 2012 Municipal Election. Alexandra Pennell, a lesbian activist, faces a multitude of charges after being caught staging a series of hate crimes against herself at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU).
Pennell has already been expelled from CCSU and barred from attending any state university for the next five years. She was arrested on May 2nd and has been free on a written promise to appear in court. She has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on July 26th in New Britain. The case has been designated H15N-CR12-0263399-S; here are the specific charges:
-- Eight counts of Tampering-Physical Evidence, a Class D felony
-- Eight counts of filing a False Incident Report, a Class A misdemeanor
-- Eight counts of Interfering With Officer/Resisting, a Class A misdemeanor
-- One count of making a False Statement, a Class A misdemeanor
Read the nine-page arrest warrant HERE.
So on March 22nd, CCSU police set up a second recording device in a locked closet, but did not tell Pennell about it. Then on April 5th, police went to Pennell's room to remove the first recording device, telling Pennell they were sending it out to be repaired. Less than an hour later, CCSU police received another complaint from Pennell about another note. Two officers took Pennell's complaint while Lt. Dercole retrieved the second recording device. That video showed Pennell walking off with a friend, then returning a moment later, speaking with two friends before going into her room. Two minutes later, she came out, looked around and then slid a note under her door. Oops!
On April 13th, police confronted Pennell. After initial dodging and weaving, she allegedly owned up to planting all the notes. On May 2nd, she was arrested. Even the gay media is lighting her up over this case.
Motive: It is said that Pennell did all this to get the attention of her roommate, Siobhan Dooley, whose sexual orientation hasn't been reported. She was hoping Dooley would spend more time with her; she felt like her close friends were slipping away.
CCSU Reaction: While the university said it is saddened by the student's actions, it remains unrepentant of the resultant Orwellian anti-hate rally that it spawned. "We remain proud, however, of the campus community's response to what we believed was an act of bias, and we reaffirm now what was said then: Acts of bias and hate will not be tolerated at CCSU", university spokesman Mark McLaughlin said.
Analysis: The sheer volume of charges are obviously intended to induce Pennell into accepting a plea deal which would likely make the felonies go away in exchange for pleading guilty to the misdemeanors. Since Pennell seems like she was just an attention whore who got out of control, it would be harsh to make a felony follow her around for the rest of her life. But vigorous punishment is in order; forgiveness must be preceded by repentance. I'd like to see her sentenced to the maximum term for whatever charge she pleads guilty to. An acceptable alternative in lieu of imprisonment would be a heavy fine equal to the cost of the police investigation and the prosecution.
Of course, all of this makes me wonder just how many of the incidents of "hate" and "discrimination" compiled in the Anchorage 2011 LGBT Discrimination Survey (Final Report) and cited as justification for Proposition 5 were genuine.