Wednesday, May 30, 2007

JUST MALE BONDING FOR COLLEGE ATHLETES


Two female De Anza college (California) students who witnessed the rape of a 17 year-old high school student at an off-campus party in March will be joined by several national organizations Thursday in a protest demanding that District Attorney Dolores Carr reconsider her decision not to file criminal charges. Both witnesses, April Grolle and Lauren Chief Elk, told authorities that the victim was clearly incapacitated, if not virtually unconscious, at the time of the rape. Yet District Attorney Carr has disregarded this compelling testimony, along with physical evidence including that the victim's blood-alcohol content was .27 more than 24 hours after the assault.

Unless you live in the area you have probably not heard the story about the girl at the booze-sodden March house party attended by De Anza baseball players. You've not heard of the two De Anza students, April Grolle and Lauren Chief Elk, who have reported about how they found the teenager half naked on a bed and barely conscious, with vomit smeared on her face, before they took her to the hospital.

“Sexual assault in social settings is a pervasive and devastating problem in college communities where justice is often elusive with devastating consequences for victims. The DA should open her eyes to the abundance of compelling evidence in this case, including eyewitness testimony, and let a jury hear it so that this victim can get the justice she deserves,” said S. Daniel Carter, Security On Campus, Inc. in a press release from the California National Organization for Women.

“This kind of case highlights the culture around rape that keeps victims from coming forward, rapists from being prosecuted, and society from successfully eradicating violence against women,” said Mandy Benson, President of California National Organization for Women (CA NOW). “We join the call for the pursuit of justice for this young woman, and for accountability for those charged with protecting women’s safety.”

"The District Attorney’s statements have brought into question her dedication to the pursuit of justice. This is one of the few cases of gang rape in which eyewitnesses are present and a solid scientific basis exists for prosecution. In the interest of preventing the brutal act of rape across the country, the DA must reconsider her flawed decision. The perpetrators must be held accountable in order to send a direct message to our society that the accepted culture of rape and the entitled status of athletes will no longer be tolerated," said Katherine Redmond, National Coalition Against Violent Athletes.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith believe that some of the party boys are getting away with sexual assault , she doesn't care if they sue her for saying so. "Bring it on," she told the Mercury News last week.

"We're worried that the message this case sends to the next victim is `Why bother filing a report?'" Sandy Davis, director of the YWCA center, told a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News.

As Sue Hutchinson writes in the Mercury News the case, "...suggests there still is a perception out there that someone who's too drunk to know what planet she's on is capable of consenting to sex. It's not just some guys who don't get that this isn't true. Too many girls are clueless about it, too."

The accusations at De Anza are only the latest to involve college athletes.

Cases have been reported around the country — some prosecuted, most not. There is no way to tell if the crime is increasing because so little information is available and generally, most rapes of all types aren't reported to police at all.

Only about 5 percent of college rapes are reported, according to an analysis of rapes reported to police versus the number reported to the National Crime Victimization Survey, said Mary Koss, a professor at the University of Arizona's College of Public Health, specializing in sexual violence. Victims "think they'll get in trouble or think no one will do anything," she said.

The campus cases "are part of a culture," Katherine Redmond, founding director of the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes said, "a culture where the male athlete believes the women are there for them. It is a form of team bonding for them now."

INFORMATION ABOUT TOMORROW'S PROTEST
WHAT: De Anza Rape Protest of District Attorney Carr’s Decision Not to Prosecute

WHERE: Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office, 70 West Hedding Street, San Jose

WHEN: Thursday, May 31, 2007, 1pm

WHY: To force the District Attorney to reconsider her decision and allow a jury to decide the case. Whether a victim is incapable of consenting should not be a political decision! Also recognizing the brave women eyewitnesses who rescued the victim


The following is from the San Jose Mercury News.

Activists plan Thursday protest on De Anza case

Activists from around the country plan to descend on the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office Thursday to protest the decision to not file charges in a high-profile sexual assault investigation that involved members of the De Anza College baseball team.

"We want to make sure rape cases are being prosecuted," said National Coalition Against Violent Athletes' Katherine Redmond, who helped organize the rally. "We are tired of seeing this happen. We are tired of the culture that allows this to happen."

This is the second protest since District Attorney's Dolores Carr's May 21 announcement that she declined to filed charges in the reported March rape of a 17-year-old at a team party.

Carr's office has come under attack from members of the community who demanded she release more information about the decision and others who wanted her to go forward with charges.

Sheriff Laurie Smith told the Mercury News that someone "got away with" sexual assault the night that at least eight men, some of them baseball players, surrounded the nearly passed out teen as she lay on mattress while another man had sex with her at a party. Three women who attend De Anza College busted into the room as the alleged assault was taking place, scooped up the girl and took her to the hospital. Two of those students are expected to speak at the rally.

Carr responded to the criticism Sunday in a column published in the Mercury News. In it, she wrote that while what happened that night was horrific, witnesses gave too many conflicted statements for her office be able to prosecute the case.

Her office declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

The rally Thursday is organized by Redmond's group; the California National Organization for Women; Stop Family Violence, out of New York state; Pennsylvania-based Security on Campus; and Boston's Victim Advocacy and Research Group.

"The DA should open her eyes to the abundance of compelling evidence in this case, including eyewitness testimony, and let a jury hear it so that this victim can get the justice she deserves," Security on Campus representative S. Daniel Carter said.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"good Samaritan law"

Perhaps DA Carr or any incoming DA should watch "The Accused"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Accused and then read the account of the "Creep on campus"
http://www.salon.com/it/feature/1998/10/cov_09feature.html
about David Cash (Berkeley Student) who stood by and watched as a 7 year old was assaulted by Jeremy Strohmeyer and ultimately killed. As the story states he even considered profiting from the killing!

California then passed SB80 http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/99-00/bill/sen/sb_0051-0100/sb_80_cfa_19990607_105155_asm_comm.htmlthat made it a legal requirement to report such acts to the police, although I feel it falls short as the age cut off is 14. I believe it should be changed to 17 and that just as Johns names are publicized that so should inept individuals that sit there while a crime is being committed. In fact the fact that they stood there in approval makes them complicit to the ACT.

Also, how can a DA feel justified in prosecuting murder cases with just eye witness accounts as the Sheriff has stated they collected enough evidence and is just as concerned as all other citizens in the Bay Area and now nationally.

I commend the young women for rescuing this minor from further attacks, humiliation by degenerates. They are the heros, they have chosen to take a stand, if someone within the crowd in Iraq had done like wise perhaps that teenager would not have been stoned to death.

It makes me angry to hear about comments that even consider "If she was a slut". This is truly a sad statement in a society that seeks to be a social model to others.

Also, I think it behooves DA Carr to do full disclosure as to the fact that two of the attorneys representing two of the "alleged" students made large contributions to her campaign as reported in the newspapers. Also, has she spoken to any of them? Perhaps there should be a grand jury investigation into this case for the sake of all rape victims and for the sake of the trust society has to place in a DA to do the just and proper thing by and for the people. Is it now true that in court is states "The people vs" when prosecuting.

In the San Francisco Chronicle its headline states:"Alleged rape victim wants day in court-D.A. should give it.

Are you listing Attorney General Brown? Is anyone listing? We don't need a society that protects the likes of a David Cash.

SpeakUp!

Jessica Heskin said...

We have started a campaign, with the help of the three soccer players who have been active in the De Anza case. It's called the No Woman Left Behind Campaign. The website is:
www.nowomanleftbehindcampaign.org

We are encouraging other colleges to institute this program in response to the De Anza decision by Carr and the attorney general.