BOCA RATON, Fla. - Florida Atlantic University police say a 25-year-old student who reported being assaulted on campus on Wednesday has confessed that the crime never happened, according to Lisa Metcalf, university spokeswoman.
The revelation came during a press conference Thursday evening at the university's police department .
"We found some pieces of physical evidence that didn't match the story that we had been given," said FAU Campus Police Chief Charles Lowe. "It's developed over the last two days and it culminated in an interview with the young man," he said. "He did confess that it did not occur as he had reported it to police."
According to university police, Vincent Phillipps met with authorities earlier in the evening and confessed that he fabricated the events as a cover for what actually occurred – being beaten while paying off a drug debt in Broward County.
"FAU is a safe campus," said Lowe. "But just because this did not occur, we do not want people to not remain vigilant because other events have occurred and other events can occur," he said. "This event did cause quite a bit of concern to the community, it is unfortunate that, in fact, it was untrue."
Phillipps had claimed that, as he entered his car in the parking lot adjacent to the Rec Center, he was approached by five men who forced him to drive to a local bank and then to Coconut Creek. This incident remains an open investigation, Metcalf said.
University police immediately launched an investigation and activated its alert system, Metcalf said.
"The FAU Police Department will work with the State Attorney's Office regarding appropriate charges against Mr. Phillipps. Although it is rare to receive false police reports, it is a serious crime as it distracts law enforcement officials from real responsibilities and other investigations. In this case, it also led to unwarranted concern by the entire FAU and Boca Raton communities," Metcalf said.
She added that Phillipps also will be subject to FAU's Student Code of Conduct disciplinary process.