Thursday, September 4, 2014

KCTV/AP: DA reconsiders KU campus rape allegation after national scrutiny

DA reconsiders KU campus rape allegation after national scrutiny

Posted: Sep 04, 2014 12:01 PM CDTUpdated: Sep 04, 2014 10:03 PM CDT
Prosecutors are taking another look at a woman's claims she was raped at a University of Kansas residence hall last year.
District Attorney Charles Branson said Wednesday that he received new information last week about another encounter between the accuser and the same man.
Branson confirmed to KCTV5's Bonyen Lee on Thursday that he will consider that information and whether it will make a difference in a charging decision.
He declined to publicly discuss details of the alleged incident - and how those would affect the strengths and weaknesses of the case - because the alleged victim's family asked him not to.
Branson's comments came the same day the university's Student Rights Committee passed a resolution condemning the school's handling of student complaints of sexual assault. Students are outraged about the situation.
The woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, has done interviews with the Huffington Post and the Lawrence Journal-World, but declined to speak with KCTV5 on Thursday.
The woman says she was raped after she and a male student went back to his dorm room following a fraternity party last fall. Both had been drinking significantly. She said she told the man, "No. Stop. No," and, "I can't do this," but that he continued to sexually assault her for another 15 minutes. She reported the assault to campus police and KU officials.
Despite a reported confession, the man never faced charges because Branson apparently decided there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute the man.
The woman now says she wishes she had never filed the report because of the trauma and grief she has endured since then. She says the university has added to her distress. 
"The way [the university] dealt with it caused me so much more stress than the actual incident has," she told HuffPost.
However, she is grateful for the attention the issue has received this week and the subsequent support she has also received. 
The woman's attorney, Chuck Schimmel, said the man raped his client twice last fall. The school found him guilty of "non-consensual sex." The punishment was a written letter in his file and being banned from student housing. He was ordered to write "a four-page reflection paper" on alcohol, incapacity and sexual activity, and get counseling.
The university decided community service would be too punitive. A police officer reportedly threatened to arrest the woman for underage drinking.
The man's attorney cited the woman taking a birth control pill the night of the party as evidence that she intended to have consensual sex. 
The woman is now a sophomore. She was so outraged that she reported KU to the U.S. Department of Education, which launched a federal investigation of it and other universities for allegedly not properly handling sexual violence on campus. 
KU officials said they could not comment on the specific case but they want students "to come forward so we can take prompt action to keep our campus safe."
Some students say those are empty words and that the university's actions have made men and woman uncomfortable with reporting sexual assaults.
"There is no blurred line. Rape is rape. He should definitely suffer the punishments," KU student Liam Murphy said. 
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