Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prosecutors Fail to Take Campus Assault Seriously Too

NYT, Support for a College Student Grows After Rape Complaint is Dismissed.  In this story about a failed college investigation of sexual assault, what struck me here was the response of the prosecutor.  

Anna, a freshman, said she was assaulted by three football players last September, after two weeks on campus. The school’s disciplinary panel quickly cleared the athletes. Six months later, after Anna belatedly pursued a criminal complaint, the district attorney declined to bring charges, saying he believed the sexual encounter had been consensual. ***


The Ontario County district attorney, R. Michael Tantillo, closed the case without testing whether that seminal fluid matched the DNA of any of the accused. ***


Anna’s lawyer, Inga L. Parsons, said she requested that the rape kit be tested by the police even though Anna was pursuing her case [initially] through the school, and offered to pay to have it expedited. Ms. Parsons eventually arranged to have the rape kit samples sent to a private lab, which identified the seminal fluid.


Then in February, Ms. Parsons asked the police about getting DNA from one of the football players Anna had accused of repeatedly assaulting her. She said that it was warranted “given that we have extensive seminal fluids from the rape kit” and because the football player had denied having sexual intercourse with Anna. Even so, Mr. Tantillo decided not to test it.


Here is the prior article on the details of the alleged crime.  One word: Steubenville.

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