A 21-year-old Ann Arbor woman pleaded guilty as charged to one count of false report of a misdemeanor in 15th District Court on Monday, March 6.
Halley Bass admitted in court that she fabricated a story about a strange man scratching her face in downtown Ann Arbor on Nov. 15.
“I was suffering from depression at the time,” Bass told Judge Elizabeth Pollard Hines. “I made a superficial scratch on my face. It was visible and I was embarrassed about what I’d done. So I made up a story and told a friend that a stranger had done it while I was walking. I was encouraged to report it to the police. I made the mistake of doing that.”
At the time, Bass claimed her attack was part of the surge in hate crimes following the election of Donald Trump a week earlier. She told police she was targeted for wearing a solidarity pin connected to Great Britain’s “Brexit” vote.
Bass admitted to scratching her own face with the pin after becoming upset during a Woman’s Literature class at the University of Michigan, according to the Ann Arbor Police Department report.
Bass described the suspect as an approximately 45-year-old white male, with stubble on his face, wearing a black baseball hat pulled low over his face, a gray hoodie with the hood down and sweat pants.
She has now admitted to making up the suspect.
Bass posted about the attack on Facebook the same day she reported the attack to the police, according to the report.
Bass later told detectives she wrote the post to convey “that all people are equal and deserve to have their voice heard and not feel endangered.”
Bass also heard of other incidents on campus, including the incident of a woman wearing a hijab who said a man threatened to light her on fire if she didn’t take it off. Ann Arbor police later determined that incident was a hoax too, though. The woman who falsely reported the crime is not being prosecuted in that case, however.
After the Nov. 17 interview, detectives scoured surveillance footage from restaurants and other businesses along East Liberty, the report shows.
But they didn’t see Bass on the street in any of the videos, according to the report.
Bass eventually confessed that she had cut her own face after getting out of her Woman’s Literature class.