Tuesday, 13 September 2016

UNC student claims football player raped her, and that the school has responded with 'discouragement and delay'

Screen Shot 2016 09 13 at 2.06.55 PM

A student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill claims that she was raped on Valentine's Day by a junior linebacker on the school's football team, ABC 11 Eyewitness News reported. 

Delaney Robinson, 19, a sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill, made the allegations against the football player, Allen Artis, 21, seven months after reporting the alleged assault because of what she believes is misconduct and a lack of action on the school's part. The alleged incident occurred at Ram Village, an apartment complex at UNC, when Robinson was an 18-year-old freshman.

During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Robinson's attorney, Denise W. Branch, said the Orange County District Attorney's office had informed them in an email that District Attorney James Woodall would not be pursuing criminal charges against the accused.

"[F]or more than six months we have asked the University and the Orange County District Attorney's office to hold Delaney's rapist accountable for his actions. At every turn we have been met with discouragement and delay," Branch noted in a statement.

"No victim services have been offered to Delaney, either from Jim Woodall's office or from the Department of Public Safety," Branch said at the press conference. 

Woodall, however, told USA Today the investigation remains active at his office and UNC. 

"I have worked in the DA’s office for 26 years and have prosecuted many, many UNC students, including UNC athletes, for very serious crimes, including rape,” Woodall said. “From our perspective, it’s immaterial who the alleged person and it doesn’t factor into our decision.”

Branch claims Robinson fully cooperated with the university and police by providing them with names of witnesses, photographs, and a detailed timeline of the evening leading up to her alleged rape. Robinson also said she went through invasive physical exams.

As a result of the alleged inaction from law enforcement and the university, Branch and her client took what she called an "extraordinary step" of meeting with a magistrate and requesting self-sworn warrants — warrants that citizens can request — for the arrest of Artis. A judge issued the warrants on charges of misdemeanor assault on a female and misdemeanor sexual battery, and the Sheriff's office currently holds them, Branch said during the press conference. 

The warrants say Artis had sex with Robison while she was "mentally incapacitated and physically helpless," according to USA Today.

Robinson, who said she decided to forgo the usual anonymity offered to sexual-assault victims, also criticized the university, especially for its treatment of her when she reported the alleged assault.

"I did not realize that rather than receiving concern and support from the university, I would only be further victimized by the people who should be working to keep us safe," she said in a statement"Yes, I was drinking that night. ... I'm underage, and I take responsibility for that. But that doesn't give anyone the right to violate me. I did not deserve to be raped."

She said investigators treated her like a suspect and asked her "humiliating" and "accusatory" questions: "What was I wearing? What was I drinking? How much did I drink? ... Did I lead him on? Do I often have one night stands? How many men have I slept with?"

Branch said Orange County District Attorneys office also told her that "unconsciousness is rape, black-out drunk is not rape."

UNC Chapel hill spirit

Robinson and her lawyer allege that the university also acted in violation of its own Title IX guidelines when it requested a report containing the victim's blood-alcohol content. The school's revised Title IX policy is one of affirmative consent, not the absence of consent.

According to the university's policy, affirmative consent implies that "consent is the communication of an affirmative, conscious and freely made decision by each participant to engage in sexual activity." Conversely, "silence, passivity, or a lack of resistance" implies an absence of consent.  

"You have to have active consent; therefore, the alcohol consumption of the reporting party would be irrelevant," Branch said during the press conference. "The appropriate punishment for drinking is a citation. ... It is not rape."

Listening to recorded interviews that the university's Department of Public Safety allegedly conducted with Artis further incensed Robinson. In direct contrast to the way she had been treated, investigators spoke to her alleged rapist with a "tone of camradery [sic]," as noted in her statement.

"They provided reassurances to him when he became upset. They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls' phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night that he raped me," her statement continued. 

Robinson's father, Stacey Robinson, expressed anger and frustration with the way his daughter's case has been handled during the press conference.

"Nowhere in this entire process have DPS investigators, University leadership, or the Orange County District Attorney's Office expressed concern for my daughter's well-being," Stacey said. "We are standing up today to demand better treatment from the University."

In a statement, UNC said federal privacy laws prevent the school from responding to allegations against a student. It continued:

"The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of our students and takes all allegations about sexual violence or sexual misconduct extremely seriously .... These matters are complex and often involve multiple agencies including law enforcement. While the University always tries to complete an investigation as quickly as possible, our priority is to ensure that the factual investigations are complete and conducted in a fair and thorough manner."

UNC football's head coach Larry Fedora echoed the university's statement about the students privacy.

"We are aware of the misdemeanor charges against Allen Artis.  I cannot comment on either the allegation or the investigative process. We take these matters very seriously and are fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities," he said in a statement emailed to Business Insider.

Neither the Orange County district attorney or police department immediately responded to Business Insider's requests for comment.

Robinson's allegations come on the heels of heightened national scrutiny over how authorities and the community at large handle sexual assault, particularly on school and college campuses.

SEE ALSO: California bill closes major sexual-assault loophole days before Brock Turner's release

Join the conversation about this story »


UNC student claims football player raped her, and that the school has responded with 'discouragement and delay' posted first on http://lawpallp.tumblr.com

No comments:

Post a Comment