No charges filed in September assault case

| Director of New Media

The St. Louis County prosecutor has declined to press charges this month in the case of a Washington University student who reported being sexually assaulted last semester.

According to the Washington University Police Department, a female student reported the alleged assault to police on Nov. 10. The victim reported being sexually assaulted by an acquaintance in September.

Upon coming forward, the victim wanted to press charges against her alleged attacker, but the prosecutor’s office chose not to proceed with the case.

The prosecutor’s office did not return several phone messages from Student Life asking for comment on Thursday and Friday.

According to information released by police in November, the accused perpetrator was a student at another St. Louis university. As a result of the decision of the prosecutor’s office, no criminal action will be taken against that individual.

The alleged assault took place on Sept. 29 in the victim’s room in a South 40 residence hall.

In November, University police made an arrest based on the victim’s report and conducted an investigation. The results were presented to the prosecutor’s office over winter break.

Police did not release the suspect’s name in November because charges were not formally registered. The suspect’s name is not available now because no indictment was filed.

The prosecutor’s decision removes the potential for recourse through the criminal justice system, though the victim could choose to go through the civil court system.

The reported assault comes amid continued discussion of the importance of creating an administrative position to coordinate campus services for the victims of sexual assault. Last semester, a hiring committee interviewed several candidates for the job, but the position has not yet been filled.

  • Who You Are All Taking About

    Well, To clear up any confusion. I WAS RAPED buy the president of Black Student Alliance at Saint Louis University. The legal system failed me like SO many others. Strong evidence was collected. But I sit left to pick up the pieces of my life with the therapists at Student Health Services. WUPD did their job, Saint Louis DID NOT.

  • Not surprised

    My child was also sexually assulted “raped” in November of ’08 and the prosecutor refused to accept the case. As you know Saint Louis and WashU are very liberal and apparently don’t look at these types of events very seriously. If they did something would be done and the prosecutor would either accept these cases or be voted out of office.

    Look at what happened when one of the students was denied admittance to the bar in Chicago. The students became upset and the Chancellor became involved. The result was something was done. Hopefully students will realize just how serious this is. I can tell you from personal experience it affects not just the individual involved but also the entire family. Justice will never be served in these cases because liberal minded counties and institutions simply don’t care. They look at it as part of the growing up process. (You stand a greater chance of having the prosecutor accept a case if you are slapped in the face. Hence simple asault) Unfortunately many more WashU students will experience this growing up process until it ends in death. Then and only then will the school and the students rally and come together and do something. Until then young ladies beware, you are on your own.

  • katiesadow

    It might do everyone a bit of good to note that the word “rape” is not mentioned in the article, and that “sexual assult” and “rape” are not synonyms. (If anyone did receive a Thesaurus for the holidays, they might be interested in backing me up.) The point simply being (in the interest of becoming/remaining fully educated on the matter): sexual assault isn’t necessarily rape. It’s always sans consent, illegal, and horrifying, but it’s not always sexual intercourse, just for anyone out there who needed clarification.

    As far as shame goes, we probably ought to be sending most of that the suspect’s way, rather than at one another.

  • Alex

    Correction – as Melissa said, an estimated 61% of rapes are unreported, not 10% as I originally said. Stupid google…

  • Alex

    I imagine that nearly 1.6% of Wash U students are either criminally insane or criminally stupid. I would like to assume that, since 1.6% represents such a minuscule proportion of the population, neither Chris nor Ashley is a member of said category. But as Chris so sagely notes, we cannot make such a “blind” assumption. So their intelligence and sanity remain in doubt. Nice use of “hubris,” Chris – someone must have bought you a thesaurus for Christmas.

    In this rape case and many others like it, the legal system is stacked against the prosecution. The FBI estimates that only 10% of rapes are even reported (and the rest, inherently, cannot be prosecuted). The time lapse between the incident and the report is not uncommon in rape cases (and, so far as I am concerned, does not cast doubt on the report’s legitimacy), but it does make the collection of evidence extremely difficult. Even if the report were immediate and accompanied by the administration of a rape kit, however, it is unlikely that a jury would believe the victim/survivor did not consent to sex, if only because she knew the perpetrator and allowed him into her room. This seems to be the sort of ignorance that Chris and Ashley espouse, in stark contrast to estimates that fifty to seventy-five percent of rapes are perpetrated on dates and/or by someone that the victim knows.

    The legal system will not – and perhaps cannot – comfort most rape survivors. The least we can do is to believe and support them through the difficult recovery process.

  • Chris

    Shame on you, Melissa, for assuming that this case is not part of that 1.6% of false reports that you so blithely spout. You’re also making the same blind assumption – only that she was raped, not that she wasn’t. Way to be smarter than the whole of the judicial system – Wash U. pride (or hubris) at play.

  • Melissa L

    This story makes me very sad. The brave woman who came forward with the story of her assault deserves more from our justice system. A little bit of perspective: rape and sexual assault go underreported to a huge degree in this country, with more than 60% of rapes never reported to the police according to Justice Department estimates (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/18/AR2006061800610.html). Frankly, in our society there is little incentive to report sexual crimes–the process is public, likely to be embarrassing and painful, and sadly unlikely to end in a successful prosecution of the attacker–beyond a personal desire for justice and a desire to prevent the same thing from happening to someone else. So I commend this person for standing her ground.

    I am dismayed by Ashley’s comment, which insinuates that, due to the length of time elapsed between the assault and her report of it, it MUST be a false accusation. It is a shame that the victim in this case must suffer comments from people who call her story in question. What d you think, she waited around for a month cooking up her story? How is that even relevant?

    In fact, false reports of rape are exceedingly rare. A task force of the Oregon Attorney General’s office found that only 1.6% of sexual assaults were falsely reported. (For comparison, 2.6% of auto thefts were falsely reported. http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/2005/12/dont-just-blame-victim-prosecute-her.html)

    Shame on you, Ashley.

  • Ashley

    I think its funny that StudLife mentions there being no criminal recourse but that she can proceed with civil charges. Yet you fail to take note of the significant amount of time between the ALLEGED assault and the reporting. Seems like StudLife is ready to convict this guy.