A 19-year-old Roanoke College student was accused of rape in March 2015 by a college freshman. He was charged by the district attorney, but it took a jury just 25 minutes to find him not guilty at the end of a trial that lasted one day. A campus sexual misconduct hearing also found him not responsible.
Case closed, right? Wrong, of course.
When the student, who is from Zimbabwe, re-enrolled in Roanoke, campus activists started an online petition in an effort to bar him from campus, citing safety concerns. This just goes to show that students who are accused of sexual assault on college campuses are often considered guilty-until-proven-innocent, and even then are still considered guilty.
Under cross-examination at the trial, the accuser made multiple contradictory statements about the night in question. The woman claimed she had been drinking for hours and invited a male friend over. He said no, so she invited another male student, whom she later accused of sexual assault. The two began talking in the dark while in her bed and eventually engaged in sex.
She says he initiated while she objected. He says she initially consented but told him to stop, so he did and left her room. The accuser then called the first male friend over and told him she had been assaulted. Her conflicting statements related to her level of intoxication and her statements about the first male friend.
Despite the accused student being found not guilty in a court of law and a campus hearing, campus activists started a petition to keep him off campus, saying "a mahority [sic] of the student body will be put at risk." The petition also said "no female student will be able to feel safe" if the accused student (who was, again, found not guilty) is allowed to return.
The petition had garnered only 291 of the needed 1,000 signatures before it was closed.
In a twist, the accused student is now suing his accuser for $500,000 in damages, alleging the accuser knowingly published false statements on her social media account. She had also circulated the online petition, although she did not create it.
A Jan. 12 injunction ordered the accuser to remove all references to the allegations from her social media accounts to and to refrain from making additional comments about the accused.
Neither the accuser, her attorney nor the attorney for the accused student returned a Washington Examiner inquiry. The Examiner will refrain from naming either student.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.