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Fake attack brings charge
A woman had said she was assaulted while jogging.
By COLLEEN JENKINS, Times Staff Writer
Published February 6, 2008
TAMPA - Dawn Marie Batik rattled Westchase when she claimed she had been brutally attacked in the suburb, then recanted her story days later.
On Tuesday, two months after authorities searched by ground and air for the fabricated attacker, the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office charged the 39-year-old mother and wife with filing a false report.
Batik has no prior arrest record in Florida. She did not return a phone call for comment Tuesday.
The night of Dec. 19, she told deputies that a masked man had tried to pull her into the woods while she jogged on Countryway Boulevard.
She supplied great detail, saying the man had punched her, banged her head into a tree and tried to strangle her. She was treated at St. Joseph's Hospital for cuts on her arms and forehead.
The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office sent out a canine unit and helicopters to search for the attacker.
Two days later, the Sheriff's Office said Batik recanted.
There was a jog but no masked man. Her wounds were self-inflicted. She spoke of domestic issues with her husband.
Mike Niemis, who lives in West Park Village, complained that the false report had put the community in a poor light.
" 'Woman Attacked in Westchase' on the 6 o'clock news doesn't particularly drive in the home buyers," Niemis wrote in a letter published this month in the World of Westchase newsmagazine. "We have all suffered from this woman's lie, and the HCSO or the State's Attorney's Office should absolutely file charges against this woman."
Prosecutors apparently agreed, though a spokeswoman wouldn't explain the filing decision.
"After reviewing the facts," said Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi, "we believe charges were warranted."