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Woman Dubbed ‘Cornerstore Caroline’ Faces Backlash After Falsely Accusing a 9-Year-Old Boy of Sexual Assault

3 minute read

Footage of a New York City woman falsely accusing a black 9-year-old boy of sexually assaulting her has gone viral, with a chorus of people criticizing the white woman caught on tape as a stark example of someone who inappropriately contacts authorities after misinterpreted interactions with minorities.

Teresa Klein has been dubbed “Cornerstore Caroline” after Jason Littlejohn posted footage on his Facebook page of her calling the police on 9-year-old Jeremiah Harvey.

In the footage — which has already garnered over seven million views since it was posted last Wednesday — Klein is seen arguing with Jeremiah’s mother after accusing the boy of grabbing her backside. Jeremiah is seen crying as his mother goes back and forth with Klein, who is captured on film allegedly speaking to authorities about the incident.

“I was just sexually assaulted by a child” Klein is heard saying on the phone.

However, officers never arrived to the scene, and a NYPD spokesperson tells TIME there is no proof she ever actually called 911 to report the incident.

Two days after the incident, Klein returns to the Flatbush bodega and viewed surveillance footage that clearly shows that Jeremiah did not grab Klein, and that it was most likely his backpack that brushed up against her.

Surrounded by locals, Klein is seen telling a camera crew she was mistaken in a separate Facebook video posted by Littlejohn.

“I was wrong,” she said. “Young man, I don’t know your name, but I’m sorry.”

Klein is being listed alongside other white people who have immediately resorted to calling the police on African- Americans for mundane incidents. In May, footage of Jennifer Schulten (aka “BBQ Becky”) calling the police on black people using a charcoal grill in a Bay-Area park without a permit went viral. That was famously followed by footage of Alison Ettel (aka “Permit Patty”) who was caught on camera calling the police on an 8-year-old girl who was selling bottled water on the street outside her apartment.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held a community meeting days later with Jeremiah, who delivered a simple message through tears: “Friendship is really the key.”

Jeremiah also firmly rejected Klein’s apology, telling WABC after the meeting that “I don’t forgive this woman at all … she needs help.”

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Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com