A student at a Christian university in California has been arrested and charged after police say she faked a series of hate crimes against herself and other students.
Anayeli Dominguez-Pena leads a student group at University of La Verne that received several racially tinged, threatening messages in 2019, mostly via email and social media, allegedly from a campus fraternity and its president. Dominguez-Pena also reported finding a backpack emitting smoke inside her car in March 2019, then being attacked at her dorm in May 2019.
Police say Dominguez-Pena sent the messages herself. She faces charges for making a criminal threat and for committing perjury in filing victim compensation requests with false information, both of which carry felony charges. She also has been charged with electronic impersonation and with filing false police reports.
Dominguez-Pena pleaded not guilty to the charges.
"I think she was trying to instigate some racial issues within the university," said La Verne Chief of Police Nick Paz. "She was sending messages to certain people and the comments that were being sent were of a racial nature."
The university canceled classes and held campus discussions on diversity on the day of the backpack incident, as well as instituted numerous diversity initiatives on campus.
"These incidents are very upsetting to our community," university spokesman Rod Leveque told the Daily Bulletin. "We pride ourselves on being a safe, diverse and inclusive campus, and this really struck at the heart of that."