DOCUMENT: Revolting, Crime

Woman's False Rape Claim Led To Man's Death

Police report details tragic chain of events

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Florida Shock

MAY 19--The false report of a brutal sexual assault set off a bizarre chain of events that ended last week with the self-defense killing of a Florida man, according to police.

The fatal set of circumstances began when Brittany Sorey, a 30-year-old mother of five, last month contacted police to report that she had been sexually assaulted in her apartment in Largo, a town outside Tampa.

Sorey, pictured at right, alleged that a Hispanic man forced his way into her residence and “battered her and vaginally penetrated her with a broken broom handle and a box cutter.” She repeated this claim when later re-interviewed by detectives.

At the time of the purported attack, Sorey and her husband Gerald, 25, were living in the Largo home and were behind on the rent (which eventually precipitated an eviction action). According to her Facebook page, Sorey is the mother of six children.

In late-March, Sorey’s husband was arrested for allegedly shoving her to the ground during an argument in their apartment. The dispute, cops reported, was “due to infidelity allegations.” During the altercation, Gerald allegedly menaced his wife with a Glock handgun (which was later seized by police).

At the time of the March 24 incident, police noted, Sorey was six weeks pregnant. Gerald was busted for aggravated assault on a pregnant victim, a felony that was later dropped after Sorey told prosecutors she did not want the felony case pursued.

After making the sexual assault claim in April, Sorey and her husband moved out of the Largo apartment, but allowed a male friend, Timothy Hignite, to stay there. In an April 20 Facebook post, Sorey informed followers that she was raising money for the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence. That post, however, was deleted today from Sorey’s page shortly after a TSG reporter sent her a text message and left a voicemail on her cell phone.

As detailed in a court filing, Hignite, 38, was in the Largo residence on May 10 when a male neighbor, Michael Peterson, 60, showed up at the apartment to “confront” Sorey and her husband “over money issues.” Peterson, who had loaned Sorey money, “began beating on the front door,” apparently unaware that the couple had moved out.

With Peterson banging on the front door, Hignite called Sorey to report the disturbance. Sorey responded by telling her friend that “the person knocking at the door sounded like the male that sexually battered her,” cops noted.

Hignite then exited the apartment and attempted to “take a photograph of the male subject to give to police.” At that point, Peterson attacked Hignite, cops say. During the ensuing confrontation, “the friend killed the neighbor in self defense,” according to court records. Hignite, police report, stabbed Peterson to death.

EMS dispatch audio indicates that an ambulance was sent to the Largo home around 10:23 PM to handle a trauma call.

It was only after her neighbor’s death that Sorey admitted to police that she “fabricated the entire report of sexual battery and that it never happened.”

Sorey was arrested Friday afternoon on a single misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime. Seen in the mug shot at left, she was released from the county jail late last night after posting $150 bond.

Sorey did not respond to TSG messages seeking comment about her case. In a Facebook profile, Sorey describes herself as “Wife, mother, step mother, medical student. MS and Lupus warrior.” She reports having attended St. Petersburg College and Ultimate Medical Academy, which offers training for entry-level health care jobs.

In December, Sorey sought contributions via Facebook so that she could purchase a van capable of carrying up to eight passengers. Noting that she was about to start a new job, Sorey wrote that she “shared custody with my ex husband” and, due to her lack of a vehicle, was missing “some of my time and weekends or vacations with them” since, “I live hour and a half away from my kids.” While Sorey sought to raise $6500, she extracted no contributions from her online friends. (2 pages)