False reporters span all ages, all walks of life, and are capable of staging both injuries and evidence to support their claims. A thorough investigation of the evidence has traditionally been the best way to reveal the false reporter, who is more likely to confess when confronted with logical inconsistencies in his or her statements and behavior. Unfortunately, law enforcement resources are drained away from actual victims by such cases. Innocent citizens are exposed to the possibility of false accusations and damage to their personal and professional lives. Legitimate victims of sexual assault are exposed to the possibility of encountering overtaxed law enforcement resources that are inadequate to the task of investigating their cases thoroughly or competently. Building owners, private companies, and insurance companies are exposed to the threat of costly liability lawsuits. As stated in Gross (1924, 14): "Not only must the self-made victim be exposed, but innocent people who may be suspected must be protected."
A recent example illustrates the kind of problems that can averted by delaying action for just a few moments while stories are checked out and backgrounds are made clear. In involves Elisa LaCroix, a false reporter with a history.
Elisa LaCroix appeared in court Monday on charges related to what police say was the staged abduction of her 3-week-old son Saturday.
LaCroix is charged with making a false report -- a misdemeanor -- as well as violating probation on a 2006 burglary conviction. She's also facing charges for faking a sexual assault in January.
She blamed the rape and, at one point, the abduction on an ex-boyfriend, prosecutors say. He was later cleared in both cases.
Each charge carries the possibility of up to a year in prison, up to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years of probation, according to her attorney, Rex Butler. Her bail was set at $5,000, he said.
LaCroix has two children, including the 3-week-old, and both are in the custody of a family member, Butler said.
"That is what she wanted," Butler said.
He said she is also in counseling.
The abduction report led law enforcement to issue the state's first Amber Alert for a missing child overnight Saturday. The charges against her say that investigators later discovered that LaCroix handed her infant out a bedroom window to a friend because she was worried that her husband, who is due to deploy to Afghanistan, would try to take custody of him. The friend didn't know that she was part of a scheme and was not charged.
In a live interview on KTUU Channel 2 Monday evening, Butler said LaCroix, desperate to keep custody of her son, made a spur-of-the-moment plan that got out of hand. He called her a victim.
"The public doesn't know the whole story," he said.
Attempts to reach LaCroix's husband, Kaid LaCroix, on Monday were not successful.