Local News

UNC student seeks help after falsely reporting hate crime

Posted April 14, 2011
Updated April 15, 2011

— A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student who falsely claimed to be the victim of a hate crime on campus has returned home to Asheville and is receiving counseling, his father told WRAL News on Thursday. 

Freshman Quinn Matney, who is gay, told authorities that on April 5, a man walked up to him near a foot bridge on campus, called him a derogatory name, told him "here is a taste of hell," and held a heated object to his skin for several seconds, leaving third- and fourth-degree burns.

David Matney III said his son was too embarassed to reveal the wound was self-inflicted when a friend noticed it, so he made up the story. After other friends heard about it, they pushed Quinn Matney to report the incident as a hate crime. 

The story then snowballed, David Matney said. 

In an interview with WRAL News Monday, Matney described the alleged attack in vivid detail. He said the branding felt like "relentless, burning, searing pain."

"It has burned all the way through the flesh and is burning through muscle and tendon," Matney said. "He never actually let go until I punched him full in the face."

He added that he has an infection and limited movement in some fingers and nerve damage that might require surgery.

He said his attacker was not a student but that he had seen him on campus before.

"I have never spoken to him. I never said a single word to him," he said.

False hate crime report hot topic at UNC forum False hate crime report hot topic at UNC forum

David Matney said his son admitted the story was false during a meeting with UNC's public safety department on Tuesday.

Officials then took Quinn Matney to the university's Counseling and Wellness Services department and contacted his parents. He was taken off-campus before administrators announced the truth, David Matney said. 

Randy Young, a spokesman for UNC's public safety department, said charges of filing a false police report are likely against Matney.

The false report was a hot topic at a forum hosted by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight Alliance at UNC on Thursday night. 

Some in attendance were critical of UNC leaders, who did not tell students about the reported attack until a week after it allegedly happened. 

"I think, frankly, we did not get that right," UNC Vice-Chancellor Winston Crisp said at the forum. "I acknowleged that I don't think we handled this the way it should have been handled." 

Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, who is gay, said he understands how harassed students feel.

“(We need to) fight and be aggressive about our rightful place in our community because we deserve it,” Kleinschmidt said during the forum.

UNC officials stressed there is help on campus for anyone dealing with mental health problems.

“We might have to deal with some conduct associated with mental illness, but we are not going to punish you for having a mental health issue,” Crisp said.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • jscott13 Apr 15, 2011

    I am NOT supportive of this man. He ran the police around the block when they have other problems that they are dealing with such as the guy who has been coming into student apartments at night and who stands and stares at people, sleeping or awake. Thanks, Mr. Matney, for taking time away from that LEGITIMATE investigation. Those of us with kids at UNC do not appreciate you!!

  • weasel2 Apr 15, 2011

    5 minutes of Fame for a life of shame. He sure helped further his cause with that stunt.

  • Truth Time Apr 15, 2011

    This was so obviously a false report... Called it as soon as it hit the news... Very easy to pick these ones oue

  • TheAdmiral Apr 15, 2011

    fl2 - I agree - and against WRAL for their political correctness reporting.

  • TheAdmiral Apr 15, 2011

    I am charging WRAL with Journalistic Negligence. They published the story like a parrot without obtaining the facts on the case.

    They published it knowing that the facts did not match - and they did NOT confirm any of the story before posting it.

    The student attempted to use his sexual orientation as a "Wounded Duck" for self-destructive behavior, and rather than confirming the information and story, it was used as a marketing tactic.


  • shawna Apr 15, 2011

    tgiv...first one out of ten that made it through...and the others were not that bad. Everyone knows that this board is censored far to the left.

  • fl2nc2ca2md2nc Apr 15, 2011

    "There should be a hate crime filed against him for making this false charge. He is inciting hatred toward straight people by making this whole thing up and insinuating that it was someones anti-gay bias that caused them to hurt him. You can't have it both ways." Doctor Dataclerk

    Not just straights, he tried to make the fictional perp out to be a right-wing religious nut. He should be ashamed. I hope he gets the help he needs...

  • tgiv Apr 15, 2011

    Shawna, what evidence do you have for your allegation? The majority of comments on this board have been critical of this guy. Unless you have some special access to the process, you've simply pulled a paranoid theory out of your nether region. Think about it: if they were only concerned with content, how did your comment sneak through...

  • tgiv Apr 15, 2011

    "We want to see the same treatment of other "special" groups as well such as minorities and gays or lesbian or extraterrestrial. Fair is only fair, right?"

    I don't think this young man should be shown any deference due to an group association. However, you're contending that minorities currently receive LESS punishment for the same crime in our legal system? I would love to see the data study that supports that position.

  • seaturtles246 Apr 15, 2011

    Well, Pseudonym, was running the stop light a poor calulation on your part, maybe an error in your judgement. Were you careless when you ran the light? Were you expecting to get a ticket? Did you look all over to see if there was a cop in sight? And, if you had gotten stopped, would you have apologized to the officer and said something like, it was my fault - an error in judgement, and I won't do it again. Now, if you ran the next stop light and you saw a cop at a convenience store, would you go over to him and tell him what you had just done? :) This student's mistake was certainly an error in judgement and he was very careless in the way he handled it. Well, unfortunately, I'm one of the few that have put off having my taxes done, so I'm off for a while. And, just when I was having fun. Don't worry, I'll be back!