Woman Charged for Falsely Reporting Strangulation in Cranberry Township

| May 18, 2022

CRANBERRY TWP., Pa. (EYT) – A 53-year-old woman is facing charges after allegedly admitting to falsely reporting that she was a victim of strangulation in February 2021 in Cranberry Township.

According to court documents, Franklin-based State Police filed the following criminal charges against 53-year-old Melissa Kay Hartle, of Fort Meyers Beach, Florida, in Magisterial District Judge Patrick E Lowrey’s office on Monday, May 16, 2022:

– Unsworn Falsification To Authorities, Misdemeanor 2
– False Report – Falsely Incriminate Another, Misdemeanor 2

A preliminary hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 22, in Venango County Central Court.

Hartle admitted on Monday, August 9, 2021, that the strangulation did not occur, according to court documents.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, police received a report from Melissa Hartle on Friday, February 19, 2021, where she stated that she was the victim of strangulation that morning at a residence along Orange Street, Cranberry Township, Venango County.

Hartle initially told police that she was in bed sleeping at approximately 4:00 a.m. when a known male walked into the bedroom and began yelling and screaming at her. Hartle related she told him he needed to go to sleep because she had to get up and go to work in the morning. She stated the known male continued yelling and screaming at her, so she went downstairs and laid down on the couch. She then related that the known male got in her face and came at her with both hands up, the complaint states.

Hartle told police she went to the front door to try to leave but the known male blocked the door to prevent her from leaving. She eventually was able to open the door and began yelling for the neighbor. Hartle related the known male then put his hands over her mouth and nose to the point where she could not breathe. She said she finally caught her breath and yelled as loud as she could. Hartle related her friend, a known female, who was sleeping in the residence, heard her yelling. She and the known female then left the residence, the complaint indicates.

Hartle provided the investigating trooper with a written Victim/Witness Statement Form documenting the incident that occurred. As a result of the incident, the known male was subsequently arrested and lodged in the Venango County Prison from Saturday, February 20, 2021, through Monday, March 8, 2021, when he was released on bail, according to the complaint.

On Monday, August 9, 2021, the Venango County Public Defender’s Office received a notarized handwritten letter from Hartle, dated Tuesday, August 3, 2021. She indicated in her letter that the incident that she reported did not occur, the complaint states.

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