Last week we reported on Seattle protester Jennifer Fox, who claimed to have miscarried after being hit with pepper spray by police.
SeattlePi.com reports today that there may be an issue with her credibility, and as the story has unfolded, it appears to be similar in nature to other stories which originate from unconfirmed sources and spread virally on the Internet.
Fox, 19, first made headlines at a Nov. 15 rally where police deployed pepper spray against demonstrators they said were either refusing orders to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior. But she has failed to give a consistent story about her pregnancy claims.
The night Fox was pepper sprayed and claimed she was kicked by police, she and other Occupy Seattle protesters told seattlepi.com she was two months pregnant. At the Friday Occupy Seattle rally outside the Seattle Municipal Tower – Nov. 18 – Fox told seattlepi.com, "I'm three months pregnant today."
Another police report says that just before midnight Sept. 22, Fox and five others were found squatting in a Denny Way building and when one of the others was arrested, Zachary Johannes, Fox "said she is three months pregnant with Johannes' baby and began crying when he was arrested," the report reads. "(Fox) began holding her stomach and was screaming it hurt."
Fox’s unconfirmed claims of a miscarriage by the police force and pepper spray was posted Monday by the Stranger. Fox claimed she was kicked by police, and was upset that a cop "would murder a baby that's not born yet."
Those unconfirmed claims, also posted an Occupy Seattle blogger, were picked up by news outlets including a Washington Post blog and Forbes magazine's website. The Stranger noted at the bottom that Fox couldn't provide records to back her claim, and neither could aggregated reports.
As the article notes, Fox had come to the attention of authorities in August when she was making claims on the beach of being an Olympic swimmer in an attempt to lure young girls to take swimming lessons with her. She has not been charged with a crime, but it does point to some issues with her credibility.
Fox's foster mother was quoted in a recent Seattle Times article, saying this:
Stebbins said Fox, whom she parented for 10 years, has a pattern of exaggeration. "My daughter is a compulsive liar," Stebbins said. "She's a wannabe drama queen."
Stebbins' older daughter echoed the statements in a separate interview.
"I seriously doubt, that if she is claiming she had a miscarriage, that she was even pregnant," said Nicole Botes, who has known Fox for a decade. "I'd like to see actual medical reports."
While it is entirely possible that she did suffer a miscarriage, she has not provided any records or evidence to the police supporting the claim. It should be noted, however, that pepper spray is associated with an increased risk of birth defects or miscarriage, though studies have not been shown to be conclusive.
It would appear at this time that Ms. Fox's claims should be viewed with some skepticism, given her past difficulties and inconsistent stories.