A Southern California woman accused of posting "rape fantasy" ads to encourage men to assault the pregnant wife of a U.S. marshal has been cleared of any wrongdoing, after an investigation revealed the alleged victim had fabricated the story to frame her husband's ex-fiancee, prosecutors said Monday.
All charges against Michelle Suzanne Hadley, who spent months behind bars, have been dropped and she has been fully exonerated, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a news release.
Prosecutors now believe 31-year-old Angela Maria Diaz of Phoenix made the story up to frame her romantic rival, who had been engaged to the marshal for about two years before he married Diaz.
"Ms. Hadley is an innocent victim of a diabolical scheme," District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in the release.
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Diaz allegedly posted ads on Craigslist last summer posing as Hadley, inviting men to act out her "rape fantasies" even if she screamed or resisted, prosecutors said.
Anaheim police said they stopped at least two men who intended to reach Diaz's house. In an attempt to bolster her story, Diaz also called 911 and reported that she chased away a home intruder who attempted to rape her, prosecutors said.
Hadley was arrested after Diaz allegedly staged an attempted sexual assault on herself in which she had red marks on her neck and breast, City News Service reported.
Diaz told police that Hadley was stalking her and she had no involvement in the Craigslist ads. Diaz also took out a restraining order against Hadley.
Hadley was released when investigators found cracks in Diaz's story and suspected the emails had been faked.
Diaz was arrested in Arizona and charged Friday with counts including kidnapping, false imprisonment, perjury and grand theft. She also faces 21 misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting a crime to a peace officer.
Diaz is also accused of faking cervical cancer, faking a pregnancy, pretending to be an attorney and posing as two of her husband's ex-girlfriends in emails, prosecutors said. Additionally, she allegedly altered a paycheck to add $2,000.
It was not immediately clear if Diaz has an attorney.