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The Rosen Blog

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Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape. We will prosecute it the same.

Leo Briones

The following is my statement regarding yesterday’s sentencing in the Stanford sexual assault case.
— District Attorney Jeff Rosen

I am disappointed with the sentence in this case.  The punishment does not fit the crime.  This predatory offender has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth.  It does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim’s ongoing trauma.

Let me quote from our sentencing brief: “He purposefully took her to an isolated area, away from all of the party goers, to an area that was dimly lit, and assaulted her on the ground behind a dumpster.  He deliberately took advantage of the fact that she was so intoxicated that she could not form a sentence, let alone keep her eyes open or stand.  This behavior is not typical assaultive behavior that you find on campus, but it is more akin to a predator who is searching for prey.  The prey in this case was a young woman who drank too much and was unable to protect herself.  Ultimately, the fact that the Defendant preyed upon an intoxicated stranger on a college campus should not be viewed as a less serious crime, than if he were to assault a stranger in downtown Palo Alto.”

This is an unjust sentence but this case will still have some positive resonance.  Students at Stanford and beyond are using this case to demand accountability and changes.  Just last week, I met with leaders from all area colleges, including Stanford, to discuss ways that we could better inform students about how to prevent sexual assaults and how to better handle them when they happen.  We will soon, I hope, come out with real reforms and a shared resolve to make our campuses safer.  Meanwhile, I hope that we all agree to confront college sex assault as a serious problem.  Let’s take care of an intoxicated woman at a party.  Let’s intervene if we see something wrong, to call the police or campus security.  And let’s care, comfort and support the victims.  It is unconscionable that they must bear the trauma of a violent assault alone.

Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape.  Rape is rape.  We will prosecute it the same.