Sara Ylen Bound Over to Circuit Court

Beth LeBlanc
June 18, 2013

Sara Ylen shook her head as prosecuting attorney Suzette Samuels summarized more than two hours of testimony related to Ylen’s past claims of sexual assault.

“We’ve shown probable cause that she falsely reported that felony,” said Samuels, the Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney, recounting testimony that Ylen had used makeup to create the appearance of bruising after she alleged she had been sexually assaulted in September.
“Her injuries would have been a critical part of the evidence. She tampered with that evidence.”
At the conclusion of the preliminary examination, the 38-year-old Lexington woman was bound over to St. Clair County Circuit Court on Tuesday by District Court Judge John Monaghan on charges of filing a false felony report and tampering with evidence.
Five witnesses took the stand during Ylen’s lengthy court hearing.
“I could have paraded another 30 witnesses, but this is a preliminary exam,” Samuels said.
A preliminary examination is a hearing to establish if there is enough evidence to send the case to circuit court.
Ylen reported she had been sexually assaulted on Sept. 18 of last year by two men, said Det. Sgt. James Johnson, a retired member of the Sanilac County Sheriff Office.
During testimony, Johnson said he didn’t meet with Ylen until Sept. 26.
Johnson said Ylen alleged during their interview that she woke up from a nap in her Lexington Township home on Sept. 18 to find a man holding his hand over her mouth.
Johnson said Ylen told him she recognized the man as Kevelin Patton. She said another person with Patton was Terrance Stone.
Ylen alleged the men bound her, hit her repeatedly and sexually assaulted her, Johnson said.
“She was quiet, she was very detailed, she took her time giving me the information,” Johnson said of his interview with Ylen.
Patton and Stone testified at the examination that they had not been in Lexington Township on Sept. 18.
At the time of the interview with Johnson, Ylen had bandages on her arm and face and some dark bruising below her eye, he said.
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When Ylen met with Sanilac County Medical Examiner William Starbird a couple days later, Starbird began cleaning the scrapes and bruising on her face with peroxide and gauze.
“The bruising started to disappear,” Starbird testified, adding that a substance or coloring came off on the gauze he was using.
Later, Starbird and a deputy went back to the exam room and found a discarded makeup compact, he said.
He said some of the lacerations were oozing blood.
Starbird said even a deep laceration that required stitches would be healed enough to remove the stitches within five to seven days — Ylen was examined more than a week after the day she said she had been attacked.
The medical examiner said Ylen suggested the wounds had not healed because she was receiving chemotherapy for an illness.
Ylen’s charges came about six months after James Grissom was released from prison. Grissom was convicted in 2003 of sexually assaulting Ylen.
He served close to 10 years in prison before investigators found new evidence showing Ylen had made other unsubstantiated accusations of rape.
Based on the new evidence, the Michigan Supreme Court granted Grissom a new trial in November 2012.
St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Wendling asked the case be dismissed because of the length of time since the alleged incident and the new evidence that had been discovered.
Wayne County prosecutors took over Ylen’s current case after Wendling asked it be reassigned because of his office’s relationship with Ylen during the Grissom case.
The Times Herald normally does not identify victims of sexual assault. Ylen was identified when she asked the paper to tell her story.
Ylen also is facing six felony count charges in Sanilac County including four counts of false pretense, using a computer to commit a crime, and health care fraud.
Ylen’s charges in Sanilac Count are related to claims she made that she had cancer, according to officials.
In 2009, Ylen told the Times Herald she believed she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease — which she said developed into cancer — during Grissom’s alleged attack in 2001.
Michigan State Police began investigating Ylen’s cancer claims in May 2012 and found none of the doctors Ylen listed had made a diagnosis of cancer.
Ylen is scheduled to appear in Sanilac County District Court on July 9 for her preliminary examination on the fraud charges.