Ilya Blanter and Kate Benner, Daily Princtonian, December 14, 2007
Francisco Nava ’09 admitted yesterday to fabricating an alleged assault on him that he said occurred Friday evening and to sending threatening emails to himself, other members of the Anscombe Society and prominent conservative politics professor Robert George. He admitted the falsification while being questioned by Princeton Township Police.
In an interview with The Daily Princetonian, Nava expressed remorse for his actions’ effects on the recipients of the threatening emails, other Anscombe members and the general Princeton community. “I accept full responsibility for my actions and agree to face criminal and/or disciplinary proceedings from the University,” Nava said. He declined to answer any other questions, however, including how he managed to inflict the injuries on himself and what motivated his actions.
Detective Sgt. Ernie Silagyi said Township Police became suspicious after “there were some things that didn’t add up” in Nava’s story. “We interviewed him this morning, we confronted him with the inconsistencies, and he admitted to fabricating the assault and the threatening emails,” Silagyi said, adding that Nava told Township Police that his injuries were self-inflicted.
Nava may face charges of filing a false police report, which in New Jersey is the equivalent of a misdemeanor, Silagyi said. He added that, if convicted, Nava may face both jail time and community service. The latter penalty, however, is frequently “handled with a fine,” Silagyi said.
University Communications Director Lauren Robinson-Brown ’85 said the University is looking into the incident, and “the investigation is ongoing,” adding that “as the investigation continues, we will continue to provide all necessary support to everyone involved.”
The disclosure today that Nava, 23, of Bedford, Texas, had himself been responsible for the threats and the attack, which drew national media attention, frustrated several members of the close-knit conservative student campus community.
Those interviewed yesterday and today expressed puzzlement about what Nava—who returned to campus this year determined to be more vocal about his views and help promote socially conservative ideas on campus—thought he could achieve by fabricating the threats and assault.
Details of the incident have not been confirmed by Princeton Township Police or the University Medical Center at Princeton, but Nava said in an interview Friday evening that he was walking from a borrowed car to the house of a boy he is mentoring when he was stopped by a man dressed in black and wearing a ski cap. According to Nava, the man said that someone was hurt and asked for his help. A second assailant, who was waiting around the corner, grabbed Nava from behind. Together, the two men checked him against a wall and repeatedly hit his head against the bricks.
“Eventually I just blacked out,” Nava said. “I don’t remember what happened; I just saw a bunch of white.” When he came to, he said, the two men were still hitting him.
Nava said the two men told him to “shut the fuck up” as they left him lying on the ground. Though he was carrying a wallet, credit cards and a cell phone, the assailants did not take any of Nava’s belongings.
Nava said he was sure the assailants “at least had something to do with” threats he has been receiving since mid-October. He pointed out that his assailants’ parting words—”shut the fuck up”—concluded the most recent threat letter he received, an email that arrived Wednesday afternoon.
Nava said the first assailant—the one who lured him around the corner—was blue-eyed, athletic and a little over six feet tall. He said he didn’t get a good look at the second one, but that he was also athletic, about four to five inches shorter than the other and wearing Adidas sneakers. Both men were white, and dressed from head to toe in black, he said.
Nava said that the attack has left him undeterred. “I’m still committed to having the beliefs that I do, and I hope that Princeton will show these two characters that intimidation doesn’t work,” he said.