Psychology Professor Pleads Not Guilty to Fraud

June 17, 2004

A visiting Claremont McKenna College professor who claimed someone vandalized her car with racist and anti-Semitic slurs pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of filing a false police report and insurance fraud.

Kerri Francis Dunn, 39, of Redlands, appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pomona and entered a not guilty plea to two felony counts of insurance fraud and a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report.

If convicted on all counts, Dunn faces a sentence ranging from probation to six years in prison, said Martin Bean, the deputy district attorney assigned to the case.

Dunn was scheduled to return to court July 19 for a jury trial.

Telephone calls made to Dunn’s attorney, Gary Lincenberg, were not immediately returned.

Dunn, a visiting psychology professor, claimed that she discovered the vandalism of her car March 9 while she was on the Claremont campus preparing a lecture for a forum on racism.

The next day, she called her insurance company about the vandalism and items stolen from the car, authorities said. Police and the FBI began investigating, but Dunn became a suspect after two witnesses came forward and reported seeing Dunn vandalizing the car herself.

Her report of the alleged hate crime forced officials to cancel classes March 10 at the five undergraduate Claremont campuses and thousands of students staged sit-ins to protest what was believed to be part of a series of racial incidents at the colleges.

Dunn, who remains on leave from Claremont McKenna College, has denied any wrongdoing.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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