Last Wednesday, two days into the trial, Ingham County prosecutors say Det. Catherine Farrell, who was recently on active military duty in Guantanamo Bay, turned in a supplemental police report dated for April 16, 2012. According to another detective assisting on the case, this report says Det. Farrell requested and received cell phone records, burned them to a CD and turned them in at the Ingham County prosecutor's office. However, that detective says he previously had no record that report existed. The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office says it had no record either.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Lisa McCormick said in court testimony she became suspicious because the story did not line up. "It's important that defendant has a right to a fair trial," said McCormick. "Otherwise, we have no system, and it is very important to me that the [cell phone] records were given out. If they weren't and there's something wrong in our office, I had an obligation to look into it, but something didn't match up right."
McCormick then contacted the Lansing Police Department's internal affairs division and asked if it is possible to change the date and time on a supplemental report. She says an officer then went into a closed case and added a supplemental report where he was able to edit the date and time. As a result, McCormick says the department was able to confirm later that the report was generated on October 16, 2013, and not April 16, 2012, as it was dated.
McCormick also testified that Farrell had not visited the prosecutor's office on April 16, 2012 to drop off the records. "There's a log that all officers check in to the Veteran's Memorial office, at least detectives, so I checked the logs of April 16, 2012, because that's when the report is authored, and Detective Farrell never came down to our office on that day," she said in court.
An attorney for Farrell's maintains her innocence. "We're still largely unaware of the details of that investigation, but I can say on her behalf that Ms. Farrell has done absolutely nothing wrong, and she denies any allegation that she has committed any wrongdoing as a detective of the Lansing Police Department," says Patrick O'Keefe. "We would certainly hope that the public is more interested in the outcome of a criminal sexual conduct case…and whether or not the defendant gets a fair trial and justice is done as opposed to a date on a particular report."
However, the defense attorney in the trial says if the allegations are true, the case is compromised, and brings up concerns about the Lansing Police Department as a whole. "I'd worked with Ms. Farrell on different cases before and I never had any problems with her integrity. I've never had any issues with the Lansing Police Department. Obviously this, though, does raise a lot of red flags," says Kevin Tyrrell. "The fact that their system allows officers to recreate reports and backdate them is a grave concern because you don't know how many other times it had happened and it wasn't questioned, and it just kind of slipped through the cracks and nobody knew about it. So it does raise some grave concerns that have to be addressed by LPD."
Det. Farrell is on paid administrative leave from the Lansing Police Department. Chief Mike Yankowski said on Thursday that Det. Farrell has not been charged with a crime, and has a right to due process. However, he adds that this situation is being taken seriously, and he would be disappointed if the allegations are true. Penalties for Farrell could range from a counseling statement to termination.
Right now the case is under investigation by the Michigan State Police.