Police say 28-year-old undergrad threatened herself with rape in Facebook hoax
A student at the University of Wyoming has been charged with interference with a police investigation after she allegedly posted on an anonymous social media page that she would like to engage in angry sexual intercourse with someone named “Meg Lanker Simons.”
The University of Wyoming Police Department now says the posting was a hoax written by — wait for it — Meghan Lanker-Simons.
The kerfuffle began on April 24 when an anonymous posting was made to a Facebook page called UW Crushes. The page, which has since been removed from Facebook, was a forum for students to confess their desires for each other in secret. (Such pages are common on campuses all over the country.)
Here is the anonymous posting which campus police have concluded was penned by Lanker-Simons:
“I want to hatefuck Meg Lanker Simons so hard. That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its so hot and makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican bitch.”
Grammar errors are preserved for posterity.
Defenders of Lanker-Simons responded to the post. One of them appears to be her husband.
Lanker-Simons herself also chimed in, saying, “Actually, I want this to stay up. This is disgusting, misogynistic, and apparently something the admins of this page think is a perfectly acceptable sentiment.”
She added, “Even if it’s taken down, I’m left to wonder if there’s someone out there with a violent fantasy about me — and likely other women.”
The website Urbandictionary.com helpfully defines “hatefuck” as a verb meaning “to have sex, especially in a rough manner, with someone who one finds physically attractive but personally loathsome.”
At least one rally in support of Lanker-Simons ensued with signs declaring that “rape threats are not a joke” and the like. Lanker-Simons spoke at the event and denounced the anonymous UW Crushes poster, according to local radio station KOWB.
One rally organizer, Amy Pauli, alleged that some kind of menacing “rape culture” plagues the University of Wyoming campus.
“It’s not just about the page. It’s about the way rape culture becomes fostered among students,” Paul told KOWB.
Megan Selheim, who is employed by the University of Wyoming as a STOP Violence Coordinator, egged on the protesters.
“I think sometimes we feel when we challenge rape culture, when we feel like we’ve been targeted, we feel alone and feel like we’re in the minority,” she said according to KOWB. “I am just so grateful to see all of these people here who are rallying around this issue because it proves that you’re not alone.”
Police investigated the incident. By Monday, they had collected “substantial evidence” and determined that the posting was a hoax perpetrated by Lanker-Simons on her personal computer while it was in her possession.
University police came to their conclusion based on an interview with Lanker-Simons and a search of her computer after obtaining a warrant, reports the Laramie Boomerang (the local daily paper).
“Subject admitted to making a controversial post on UW Crushes webpage and then lied about not doing it,” reads the citation issued to Lanker-Simons.
According to local radio station KWYY, Lanker-Simons categorically denies any previous admission to making the original posting.
Officials at the University of Wyoming initially issued strong condemnations concerning the post threatening Lanker-Simons.
“The university became aware of the hateful, intolerable Facebook post early this morning,” the school said in one sternly-worded official statement, adding that the school was doing all it could to assist Lanker-Simons. “No student should have to deal with such threatening language.”
After the school’s own police concluded that the post was a hoax created by Lanker-Simons, school officials nevertheless continued to focus squarely on threats to students’ physical safety.
“The fact that the Facebook post apparently was a fabrication does not change the necessity for continued vigilance in assuring that we have a campus where everyone feels safe,” university spokesman Chad Baldwin said in a statement. “It’s important that this event does not undermine the progress that has been made in this area.”
Baldwin also observed that Lanker-Simons must be considered innocent until found guilty by a court.
“We believe there’s evidence to support the charge. I don’t believe anywhere in my statement there is solidarity with the suspect,” Baldwin told The Daily Caller.
“I don’t think there’s a rape culture anywhere on campus,” he added.
According to the Boomerang, the interference charge is a misdemeanor punishable by a prison sentence up to a year and a fine up to $1,000.
Lanker-Simons has referred requests for comment to Laramie attorney Charles Pelkey. He said he intends to enter a not guilty plea at her arraignment, reports KOWB.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Lanker-Simons and Weather Underground radical Bill Ayers sued the University of Wyoming after school officials decided to cancel a speech by Ayers. The same story suggests that Lanker-Simon admitted to pointing a gun at her employer in 2005.
The Pinterest page for Lanker-Simons describes her as “a 28-year-old undergrad at the University of Wyoming.”
“I’m heading to law school in 2013,” she adds.
On her LinkedIn page, she describes herself as a local radio host and a field organizer for the state Democratic party. She notes that she majored in psychology and criminal justice (with a pre-law emphasis).
Her first court date is May 13 at 9 a.m.