College student faked anti-gay notes that sparked mass rally, police say

A college student who was given an outpouring of community support after she complained about receiving anti-gay notes has been charged with writing the messages herself.

Alexandra Pennell was videotaped sliding one of the notes under her own door by a hidden camera set up by Central Connecticut State University police, according to an arrest warrant.

Pennell, 19, has pleaded not guilty to charges including falsely reporting an incident, fabricating evidence and making a false statement. She was arrested on May 2, and the charges were first reported Monday by WTIC-AM.

Hundreds of students rallied in support of Pennell on the New Britain campus in March after she reported receiving the harassing notes. She had told campus police that several anti-gay notes were slipped under her door or written on a dry-erase board on her door.

CCSU police set up video cameras to identify who was responsible. The arrest warrant says one camera recorded Pennell putting a note under her door before retrieving it and alerting police.

When confronted by police, Pennell admitted that she was responsible for all the notes and said she did it because she wanted more attention from her roommate, according to the warrant.

Pennell was suspended from attending any school in the Connecticut state university system for five years. She could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.

The university said it is confident the perpetrator was identified but saddened by the student's actions.

"We remain proud, however, of the campus community's response to what we believed was an act of bias, and we reaffirm now what was said then: Acts of bias and hate will not be tolerated at CCSU," university spokesman Mark McLaughlin said.