A 13-year-old girl in Berlin has admitted that her claim of sexual assault by refugee men, which sparked outrage in Germany, was untrue.
The girl, known to media only as Lisa, was reported missing by her parents on Jan. 11, and returned home 30 hours later with injuries. She claimed she had been attacked by three men of Arabic and Turkish descent, who she said took her to a train station and sexually assaulted her, CNN reports. The girl's story became viral on social media in Berlin's Russian-German community and sparked protests from a Russian-German community group and Germany's far right National Democratic Party.
The story comes after a series of shocking assaults on women in Cologne, Germany, allegedly by groups of migrant men, BBC reports. Occurring on New Year's Eve, it was reported that 1,000 men were involved in the attacks, which included robberies, groping, and rape.
One man in Cologne told the BBC that his partner and 15-year-old daughter were surrounded by men outside the station. "The attackers grabbed her and my partner's breasts and groped them between their legs," he said.
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The assaults ignited outrage in Germany and fierce debate over the country's policies regarding refugees entering its borders. Frauke Petry, head of the far-right German party Alternative For Germany (AFD) stated that "Police must stop refugees entering German soil ... using firearms if necessary." Petry clarified that she didn't want police to open fire on refugees, but that they should use firearms as a last resort to prevent illegal border crossings, the Independent reports.
Police have determined that the teenager's story was false after checking phone records which show she spent the night at a German man's house. The man and his mother confirmed that she was at the house on the night of her disappearance. A medical examination also showed that she had not been raped.
The girl's mother told Der Spiegel magazine that the teenager was undergoing treatment in a psychiatric ward, The Guardian reports. Berlin prosecutor's office spokesman Martin Steltner said that she had been experiencing problems at school.