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Police Say Lesbian Minister’s Report of Attack Bogus

August 10, 1989 GMT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ A lesbian minister who claimed to be the victim of two anti-homosexual assaults fabricated one of the attacks, police said Thursday.

″We feel at this time the case is unfounded,″ said Police Chief Frank Jordan, referring to the second attack the Rev. Lynn Griffis had reported to authorities.

Griffis, an assistant pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church, had reported that she was attacked once by an intruder wielding a shovel and later by ″skinheads″ who abducted her and cut an inscription into her chest.

Griffis, 26, had blamed both attacks on anti-gay assailants, and her case became a rallying point for ongoing efforts to fight so-called gay bashing.

At a news conference Thursday, Jordan said the matter would be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.

He said an investigation into the first attack is continuing. He declined to speculate on whether that case also might be shown to be unfounded.

When her version of the second attack was questioned, Griffis left San Francisco. Her mother, Adele Griffis, told The Associated Press by telephone Thursday that her daughter was at the family home near Cozad, Neb., but was not available for comment.

″We’re just not going to be talking because there’s been so much damage that’s been done,″ she said. ″We’re just so heartbroken.″

Police and gay leaders in San Francisco last week held a joint news conference that cast doubt on Griffis’ account of the second attack that she reported last month.

The first attack was reported July 12. Griffis told police a man broke into her home and struck her with a shovel. She showed up at a news conference several hours after the reported assault with several stitches around her eye.

The assailant reportedly scribbled ″Kill You Fags″ on the wall. The church also received a letter the day before the alleged attack containing death threats against Griffis and pastor Jim Mitulski.

Griffis, who marries gay and lesbian couples as part of her pastoral duties, said after the first reported attack that she would fight her attacker ″with love and with education.″

In the second attack, on July 27, Griffis told police she was briefly abducted by two men she described as ″skinheads″ who made threats against her and cut her with a switchblade.

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But Aug. 3, police confronted Griffis with inconsistencies in her account of the second attack, including evidence that her wounds were self-inflicted. Griffis then changed her account of the attack, contending it was a sexual assault.

Mitulski and the church’s board of directors had placed Griffis on leave after the inconsistencies were publicized. She later resigned.

The Metropolitan Community Church is a non-denominational Christian church that caters chiefly to homosexuals. It has branches in several cities.

Another alleged attack by ″skinheads″ in San Francisco has also been called into question.

In April, syndicated talk show host Morton Downey Jr. said he had been attacked by neo-Nazi skinheads in a restroom at San Francisco International Airport. He said they tried to shave his head and scribbled reverse swastikas on is face and clothing. But airport authorities said they could not substantiate any of his claims. Downey’s talk show has since been canceled.