The Hercules Police Department is considering pursuing charges against a 15-year-old transgender student who made up a story about being sexually assaulted at school.
The department allocated many resources to the false report of the student being attacked inside a Hercules High School bathroom. Forensic experts dusted the bathroom for fingerprints, detectives interviewed students and teachers and extra officers were called to beef up security at the campus.
Police said they could charge the student with filing a false report.
"We expended a lot of resources on this case," Hercules Police Department spokeswoman Connie Van Putten said. "And so we need to take an entire look at the incident."
Last year, a San Jose woman told police that a man kidnapped her daughter. Dozens of officers were involved in the search for a suspect before she ultimately admitted she was lying.
The woman was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor of filing a false report.
For an adult, the crime carries a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, officials said.
Legal expert Dean Johnson said the rules can change when the person making the false claim is a minor.
"The juvenile system is a whole different ball game," Johnson said. "Technically, a conviction in juvenile court is not a criminal conviction and the punishment is more geared toward the rehabilitation of the juvenile."
Johnson said despite the expense incurred by the Hercules Police Department, it's not likely the teen will face a serious punishment.
"We may be looking at something like detention or some weekends in a juvenile hall," he said. "And that's of course if charges are filed in this case, which is a very large if."
Hercules police said they expect to decide by the end of the week on whether to forward the case to the district attorney's office.