University student pleads guilty to false hate crime report
University of Michigan student Halley Bass pled guilty to one count of falsely reporting a misdemeanor Monday afternoon in the 15th District Court.
Bass told police on Nov. 15 — following two other widely covered alleged hate crimes ― a man had scratched her face with a safety pin while walking down Liberty Street. Bass confessed in court, however, she fabricated the report.
Bass said she made the report to cover up a self-inflicted scratch made to her face in the midst of a period of depression. Bass said she felt embarrassed about the mark and told a friend that a stranger had assaulted her on the street and was then encouraged to file a police report.
"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."
According to an Ann Arbor Police Department report obtained by MLive, detectives became suspicious when Bass did not appear in surrounding businesses’ surveillance footage at the time and location of the alleged assault. She later admitted to detectives she cut her own face after an upsetting discussion in a women’s literature class.
"I had been in a discussion in my women's lit weirdly and there were a few people in my class that sort of said some things that scared me," Bass said. "It was more like I wanted a concrete reason to be scared then to just talk, I guess."
Bass’s attorney, Douglas Mullkoff, has requested that Bass be sentenced through the 15th District’s mental health court. If deemed eligible, sentencing will take place on March 22.
Bass faces a maximum of 93 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.