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Court Affirms Conviction, Sentence In False Rape Case

PORT HURON (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan appeals court has upheld the conviction and sentence of a woman who was charged with falsely accusing two men of rape in the Port Huron area.

It's one of two cases that have put Sara Ylen, now 40, in prison. In another case, she tricked an insurance company and generous donors into believing she was dying of cancer.

In a decision Friday, the appeals court says a judge made no errors last year in sending Ylen to prison for at least five years. She was convicted of lying about being attacked in her Lexington home in 2012. She was also convicted of tampering with evidence after police said she used makeup to create what looked like bruises. She did not testify in her own defense.

Ylen's story resembled a "cheap novel," prosecutor Suzette Samuels told jurors. "She's lying through her teeth. … This was unreal."

Ylen has been in the spotlight for years in Port Huron after she spoke publicly about being raped in broad daylight in a Meijer store parking lot. A man was released from prison -- 10 years later -- in that case after questions were raised about her credibility.

There was no surveillance video, physical evidence or witnesses. James Grissom, an off-duty Meijer employee with a past sex-related conviction, was charged after Ylen said her attacker, like Grissom, had a skull tattoo. Despite insisting his innocence, Grissom was found guilty in 2003 and sentenced to at least 15 years in prison, an enhanced punishment because Ylen said her attacker gave her a sexually transmitted disease.

But it didn't take long for Ylen's story to start unraveling. Authorities learned she claimed to have been kidnapped and raped while visiting her parents in Bakersfield, Calif., just months after the alleged parking lot attack back in Michigan. No charges were filed.

"My daughter likes to have a lot of attention," her father, Dale Hill, told Bakersfield officers in a 2001 police report that wasn't uncovered until after Grissom's trial.

After years of appeals, a judge in 2012 ruled that the police report could have changed the outcome of Grissom's trial and ordered a new one, saying Ylen appeared to have "concocted incredible stories" in California. Prosecutors dropped the case without a second trial, and Grissom was freed in November after spending a decade behind bars.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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