CSU student accused of sexual assault and ‘catfishing’ friends faces judge

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- A Colorado State University student facing sexual assault and stalking charges in a complicated "catfishing" case is due in court Monday for a disposition hearing.

Police say Jalen Perez, 20, admitted to creating at least three fake social media accounts and using them to trick her friends into forming online relationships with fictional men they thought were also CSU students.

The details of the case are outlined in an arrest affidavit. The two friends spoke to investigators with the the Fort Collins Police Department in February.

The friends told police they thought they had been texting with two men but had come to believe Perez was the actually person they were exchanging messages with.

One of the friends told police that Perez had sexually assaulted her in September after both women had been drinking, but she didn't report it because the man she had been texting with convinced her that Perez hadn't done anything wrong.

The friends told police there were multiple red flags, including: the men were never available to meet in person, they weren't listed in the CSU student directory, no one seemed to have met them other than Perez and they seemed to know a lot of information that Perez would know.

When police initially questioned Perez about the alleged sexual assault, Perez denied it and said there had just been a "weird kiss."

On April 6, Perez met with police again and allegedly admitted to digitally penetrating her friend after they had both been drinking but said she believed it was consensual.

Perez admitted to creating two fake online accounts because she wanted to know what the two friends thought about her, the affidavit states.

Police said Perez has been accused of a similar "catfishing" incident when she was in high school in Colorado Springs. Perez's attorney declined to comment.

At Monday's disposition hearing, Perez could enter a plea, ask for a trial or ask for more time to try to reach a plea deal.