A Michigan woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying about being raped by a stranger in a parking lot at Delta College earlier this year.
Appearing before Bay County Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran, 21-year-old Mary T. Zolkowski pleaded guilty to one count of false report of a felony, according to MLive.
“I called Delta College and falsely reported the rape on their campus,” Zolkowski told the judge of the Feb. 22 incident. “My mother made the initial call, and I took the phone and continued to report.”
When asked why her mother called the school in the first place, Zolkowski explained she told her mother she had been raped in the back parking lot but didn’t name names. She claimed she had been assaulted previously, just not at Delta’s campus.
“And because I was ashamed of circumstances of that, when my mother called, I vented through Delta, which was very wrong of me,” Zolkowski told the judge. I should’ve been truthful from the very beginning, and I used Delta.”
The young woman contacted campus police last month to report the alleged rape, telling authorities she was walking to her car and fumbling with her keys when an unknown man grabbed her from behind. She claimed her attacker then grabbed her face and throat and proceeded to force himself on her with no protection.
After it was over, the suspect reportedly hopped into the passenger’s seat of a vehicle and fled the scene, MLive reported. Zolkowski was unable to provide police, with a description of the car, saying she “kind of blacked out” during the assault. She only identified her assailant as a Black man.
Police launched a lengthy investigation into the incident, despite Zolkowski’s unwillingness to participate in a physical exam and her expressed disinterest in prosecuting her attacker. The woman told investigators she dropped her classes at the school due to the attack, but authorities soon learned she actually dropped her classes prior to Feb. 22.
Failure to turn up any clues in the alleged assault led police to question Zolkowski about the incident again, during which she changed her story to say she was raped by a friend earlier that day at his Saginaw Township apartment, according to MLive.
Police later interviewed the man Zolkowski named as her assailant, who said he was with the young woman and that the two had engaged in consensual sex. He then provided the police with screenshots of their text message conversation, in which Zolkowski alleged she was raped by a stranger at Walmart after she left his place. Court records show she later asked the man not to participate in the police investigation.
Zolkowski’s attorney, James F. Piazza, told the judge his client has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder and is currently receiving treatment.
“She has been and will continue to be on psychotropic medication related to her illness,” Piazza said, adding that his client is engaged to be married and has plans to go back to school.
Zolkowski is currently out on bond. She faces a maximum of four years in prison and a $2,000 fine.