A Baylor University fraternity president accused of rape pleaded guilty to a lesser charge that allowed him to avoid any time in jail, a decision that has prompted outrage.
Former university student and Phi Delta Theta president Jacob Anderson had been accused of sexually assaulting a student at a fraternity party. As ABC News reported, the woman said that she was offered a drink that made her feel ill. Anderson took the young woman outside where she claims he raped her.
Despite the allegations, a Texas judge accepted a plea bargain that allowed Anderson to plead no contest to a single charge of unlawful restraint. Anderson did not admit guilt through the plea and will be given a $400 fine and be required to undergo counseling. He will serve no jail time.
The plea led to outrage among many, and the accuser spoke out in court, saying that prosecutors failed her.
“I am devastated by your decision to let my rapist Jacob Walter Anderson go free without any punishment,” said the woman, who was not named.
“He stole my body, virginity and power over my body and you let him keep it all for eternity,” she added.
Many others feel similarly about the plea deal. As the Associated Press reported, the case drew national attention and a harsh reaction to the judge.
“The woman who accused Anderson said she was devastated by the judge’s decision and described the county’s justice system as ‘severely broken.’ An online petition had been created to oppose the plea agreement, which the woman said more than 85,000 people have signed.”
As the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported, prosecutor Hillary LaBorde explained to the accuser’s family that she offered the plea deal after losing a recent rape case, saying that the accusations against Anderson were very similar. She warned that the victim’s “behavior” would lead to “a lot of victim blaming.” She went on to explain that she had only found success in convincing a jury to side with the accuser when there was evidence of multiple victims, not a single victim.
Ex-frat president at Baylor gets no jail time in rape case as judge accepts plea deal https://t.co/lRostqBOa1
— Jim Hostler (@hostler1) December 10, 2018
The controversy was the latest to hit Baylor University, which faced harsh NCAA penalties for its football program after an investigation revealed that school officials failed to take action against a series of sexual assaults committed by members of the team. One of those players, Tevin Elliot, was ultimately sentenced to 20 years in prison for two assaults against a student in 2012.
As part of his plea deal, Jacob Anderson will not be required to register as a sex offender.