Judge Who Approved Deal Giving Baylor Frat President Accused Of Rape No Jail Time Faces Strong Backlash

Protests have formed in response to the light sentence handed down by Judge Ralph Strother.

A judge's gavel sits on a desk.
Joe Raedle / Getty Image

Protests have formed in response to the light sentence handed down by Judge Ralph Strother.

The Baylor University rape case may be over, but the fallout is just beginning. After a shockingly light sentence, public outcry over the ruling has reached a fever pitch — and could end up costing the judge who handed down the ruling his job.

Jacob Anderson, 23, was charged with four counts of sexual assault on a 19-year-old sophomore. As reported by USA Today, Anderson was accused of raping her repeatedly at a Phi Delta Theta fraternity party back in 2016. Anderson was fraternity president at the time.

Although prosecutors recommended a much harsher sentence, Judge Ralph Strother accepted a plea deal on Monday that reduced the charges to unlawful restraint. Anderson will now have to go through deferred probation, counseling, and a fine. He is not required to register as a sex offender, and the charges could eventually be dismissed so long as he does not violate his probation.

The light sentencing has caused a widespread public outcry, with thousands signing a petition demanding Judge Strother to resign or be removed from office. As reported by the Star-Telegram, the petition currently has over 20,000 signatures, about 2,000 which are from Texas.

The victim, Donna Doe as she is referred to in court records, claimed that Assistant District Attorney Hilary LaBorde, who prosecuted the case, reassured the family that Anderson would be convicted — and then threw them for a loop by accepting a plea deal. In emails, LaBorde insisted on the plea deal, saying a similar rape case she had just tried had ended with the accuser not being convicted.

“The idea that the outcome of a separate case should inform LaBorde’s approach to this one is a defeatist attitude that has no place in 2018, let alone 2019,” Byers said in an email. “The culture of victim blaming and posture of automatic disbelief of a victim’s accusations is assisted by LaBorde’s complicity.”

Anderson was later expelled from Baylor University. He enrolled at the University of Texas at Dallas; however, after over 26,000 people signed a petition to ban him from campus, Anderson is no longer welcome on school grounds. School officials claim they were unaware of his legal history at the time of admittance. Anderson will still receive a diploma from the university.

In a recent announcement from the University of Texas at Dallas, officials said that one of its students would not be involved in graduation ceremonies. Although he is not mentioned by name, it is widely assumed that Jacob Anderson is the student they are talking about.