Freshman Quinn Matney told a lie. But he never meant for it to snowball into a falsified police report that rallied the community around him and reached the nation, his father said Wednesday.
Matney told campus police a man branded his wrist at 3 a.m. April 4 on the footbridge outside of Craige Residence Hall. But the injury was self-inflicted, his father said.
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“A friend saw the wound, and he was embarrassed to say it was self-inflicted. He made up something on the spot, thought that would be the end of it,” said David Matney III after consulting his son.
But after learning that the reported assailant called him a “f—-ing fag,” friends said they believed Quinn Matney, who is gay, was the victim of a hate crime. So they pushed him to report the incident, his father said.
“He did not know how to stop the ball once it started rolling,” David Matney said.
“This was nothing malicious that Quinn did. It got away from him.”
Quinn Matney admitted the story was false during a meeting with the Department of Public Safety on Tuesday, his father said.
David Matney said officials then took his son to Counseling and Wellness Services. Only after contacting him and ensuring that Quinn Matney was off-campus did administrators announce the truth, David Matney said.
Jeff DeLuca, co-president of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight Alliance, said the group will still join UNC’s LGBTQ Center to hold a forum today that they planned in response to the now-disproved report. He said the forum will address safety issues and communication on campus.
He said Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp and other administrators will give remarks. The forum will then open to questions.
“There’s a lot of emotion involved in this right now,” he said. “We really want this forum to be a constructive space for beginning the conversation about safety on- and off-campus.”
Jeff McCracken, chief and director of the Department of Public Safety, said officials determined the story was false based off Quinn Matney’s admissions during Tuesday’s meeting.
The freshman will likely be charged for filing a false police report, said DPS spokesman Randy Young and University spokesman Mike McFarland.
David Matney said he hopes the University will not press charges.
“Is it technically a crime? I’m sure it is. Is it one that’s worth them pursuing? That will only be up to them to decide,” he said.
Sydney Borden, a freshman and close friend of Quinn Matney, said she encouraged him to report the attack. She said she believed his account until the University’s announcement.
“He was afraid, but me and another friend pushed him to go and seek help,” she said.
Borden said she thinks Quinn Matney lied out of fear of being hospitalized or seen in a different light.
“At first I was angry because it was like he made a fool of everybody, but then knowing him personally it’s easier to see that he made a mistake because he was scared,” she said.
DeLuca said the incident shouldn’t keep victims from reporting crimes.
“This means preserving an open environment for survivors to come forward when real incidents occur, and making sure they know they will be believed,” he said.
David Matney said his son will begin counseling today.
“Quinn has got a lot to work through,” he said.
“He’s caused a lot of ruckus for a lot of people. For that we’re sorry, but I can’t put the genie in the bottle, and we have to go forward from where we can.”
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