VANCOUVER, Wash. (CN) – A woman who gained fame – and $28,000 – by making up a story that a black woman threw acid in her face avoided a prison sentence in a plea deal. She also apologized to the residents of Clark County, Washington, “especially the African-American community.”
Bethany Storro, 28, told police and the media that an unknown black woman threw a cup of acid on her face in August 2010. She received about $28,000 from sympathetic donors before admitting it was a hoax.
“I am getting the help I so desperately need,” Storro said in a statement. “All I can hope is in time you can forgive me.”
Storro was charged with three counts of second-degree theft. She pleaded guilty on Friday to making a false statement to a public servant, a misdemeanor.
Judge John Nichols accepted both parties’ recommendations that Storro be placed in an 18-month felony diversion program.
Nichols praised the civility of the counsels’ plea agreement, calling it a “good example of working together and coming to a good resolution.”
Nichols said the diversion program was an opportunity for Storro to “give something back to the community.”
“It’s a sad situation,” he said, addressing Storro. “You’ve got a lot hanging over your head … but I do think on the whole … you will be successful.”
As part of the plea, Storro agreed to pay the Vancouver Police Department nearly $4,000 for overtime work that detectives spent investigating her claims.
Most of the donated money was reimbursed by banks; only $3,000 donated by Safeway went directly to Storro’s personal account, which she agreed to pay back.
She must also comply with the treatment plan of her mental health provider and serve 1 month of community service. If she meets all the conditions, her felony theft charges will be dropped.
Storro made international news last year after she and her parents held a press conference in Portland, Ore., about the alleged attack. She claimed that while walking through a Vancouver park, a black woman said, “Hey, pretty girl, want to drink this?” then threw a cup of acid in her face.
Police were unable to corroborate Storro’s account, and some journalists noted that her burn wounds were not consistent with being “splashed” with acid. She eventually confessed to smearing drain cleaner on her face in a park bathroom before falling to the ground screaming in a nearby parking lot.