AUSTINTOWN Woman charged in fake report



AUSTINTOWN -- A woman who accused a township police officer of forcing sex on her and hitting her is charged with two counts of falsification.
Police have warrants from County Court No. 4 for the arrest of Charmin J. Merchant, 34, of Amanda, Ohio.
Austintown Police Chief Robert Gavalier said Wednesday the warrants were issued after an intensive investigation with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
Merchant is charged with filing a false police report and with falsely incriminating a police officer on rape and assault charges.
Merchant told police Feb. 15 that the officer had forced her to have sex, and he had hit her when he saw an engagement ring on her finger afterward. The assault was supposed to have taken place Feb. 14. in the woman's hotel room at the Fairfield Inn on North Niles-Canfield Road.
Gavalier said there was no evidence the woman had been hit. He said the results of a rape kit taken at St. Elizabeth Health Center aren't back yet.
Gavalier also said the officer was never at Merchant's hotel room Feb. 14.

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