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Jun. 15th, 2007

12:27 pm - Great stuff!

Two De Anza College students who reported that a high school girl was raped at a house party are scheduled to appear tonight before thousands at San Jose's Municipal Stadium to receive a citizens' medal of valor from Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

April Grolle and Lauren Chief Elk, members of the De Anza women's soccer team, will arrive in a sheriff's helicopter, receive their medals and throw out the first pitch before a 7 p.m. San Jose Giants-Modesto Nuts game.

"The thing is these girls had the guts to intervene in a situation that they knew wasn't right," Smith said. "These are the type of young women who deserve to be role models for our young people. We don't want the Paris Hiltons of the world as role models."

The fact that Grolle and Chief Elk will be honored inside a baseball park carries a touch of irony because the students say the rape occurred at a birthday party for a member of the De Anza baseball team. Other players at the party were interviewed by investigators, but no one was named as a suspect.

In March, the duo and a third soccer player, Lauren Bryeans, all 20, attended the party at a South Buena Vista Avenue home. During the revelry, they saw what they say was a 17-year-old girl being raped in a room. The three broke in, took the semi-conscious girl to a hospital and told authorities about what they saw.

The incident led to eight players being suspended from the team for violating De Anza ethics


rules.

After an extensive sheriff's investigation, Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr announced there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone. Then, Grolle and Chief Elk went public with their account of the party, touching off a firestorm that led to the local prosecutors referring the case to Attorney General Jerry Brown for review.

The sheriff's office is using the park for the ceremony after purchasing a block of tickets that gives the purchaser the right to select who tosses the first pitch, said Jim Weyermann, Giants president.

Last year, the department honored a deputy who had saved the life of a motorist involved in a car crash.

Smith's decision to honor Chief Elk and Grolle at the ballpark has sparked at least one complaint to the Giants about the possible exploitation of the women, especially since the attorney general's review is ongoing, Weyermann said.

"My response ... for us, it's all about celebrating the community. We try to be the village green, the gathering place for everybody, and as part of that, it is completely consistent for us to recognize the contribution of citizens as honored by legitimate organizations."

But Weyermann said he told a sheriff's representative that the ceremony would carry political overtones.

"What it's going to look like is a public display of in-your-face to the district attorney," he said.

Smith said, "I think even Dolores recognizes the strength of these young women."

Carr could not be reached for comment Thursday. However, Assistant District Attorney Marc Buller pointed out Carr has praised the students' actions.

Meanwhile, Chief Elk said she's excited about receiving the flight and the medal. But she's mindful of why she and Grolle are being feted.

"We are the voice of what the victim wants to say," she said. "We feel so strongly about this. This is not about this one incident. This kind of thing happens all the time. It needs to stop. This was a bad thing that happened and, hopefully, it is getting the attention it deserves."

Jun. 6th, 2007

02:32 pm - Hurray!

From Feministing:

BREAKING: CA Attorney general to investigate decision not to prosecute gang rape case

State Attorney General Jerry Brown's office has announced that they will review the Santa Clara County district attorney's decision not to file charges in the alleged gang rape of a teen girl by De Anza College baseball players.

"We will review to determine if the district attorney abused her discretion in finding not to prosecute," said David Kravets, a spokesman for Brown. "We have no evidence that she did, but we will conduct a thorough review of the evidence in this case and come with an independent decision. ... We will look at their entire case file and do any investigation of our own that we determine is appropriate."

09:53 am - Post your message of support here!

I realized I should just make one thread for people to post comments on, so post them here! 

Jun. 4th, 2007

03:59 pm - More information

I'm so happy to see that there are many amazing people out there who care about this case. 

Check out Cara's blog:

http://thecurvature.blogspot.com/2007/06/de-anza-rape-victim-wants-her-day-in.html

Also check out I Blame the Patriarchy at:

http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/2007/05/24/de-anza-case/

And Feministing:

http://feministing.com/archives/007111.html



If anyone knows of other places where good conversations are going on, please post it here. 

02:57 pm - Contact information-who to contact about this case

Here is some contact information for the DA, Dolores Carr, who refused to take this case to trial.  Please call her and email her and put the pressure on.  This is a clear cut case of gang rape-the girl was 17, drunk, vomiting, and could not possibly consent to having sex with multiple partners.  We need to take a stand on this-men everywhere now think they can rape a girl as long as she is drunk. 

DA Dolores Carr is as follows:

Office of the District Attorney
70 West Hedding Street, West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-7400
Email: webmaster@da.co.santa-clara.ca.us


Website http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/da/


Dolores Carr
70 West Hedding St.
San Jose, CA 95110
(408) 299-3099
(408) 299-7500

You can also write to the California state attorney general, Edmund G. Brown:

Attorney General's Office
California Department of Justice
Attn: Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

And here's the Attorney General's website:
http://ag.ca.gov/

 

Here is a link to an article talking about an online petition:

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=local&id=5357502



Also, here are some links with more information on the case.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/13370961/detail.html

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_5996631

http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_6031160?nclick_check=1

The Mercury news has a lot of articles about it for you to get updated on the case. 



ThIs is the form email that I received from DA Carr in response to my outraged email asking her how the heck she decided not to file charges.

“Thank you for taking the time to write me about the De Anza case. I am attaching the article I wrote for the Mercury News explaining why I decided not to file charges.

Having prosecuted rapists and other sexual offenders for many years, I am well aware of the anguish and pain these cases can cause for victims, their families, and the community. When I weigh all of the evidence, much of which has not, and should not, be released to the media, I am certain that any attempt to obtain a sexual assault conviction here would end in failure. Prosecutors may not ethically file charges under such circumstances. Moreover, neither the community nor the victim would benefit from a not guilty verdict after a prolonged, agonizing trial.

Thank you for your concern for our community.”

And here is the article that she wrote explaining her awesome decision.

Why I Did Not File Charges

When I ran for office, I pledged that I would make decisions based on the evidence, justice, and fairness, not on politics or popular opinion.

Many in our community are outraged by my decision not to file sexual assault charges in the “De Anza baseball team case.” I made my decision only after a careful and exhaustive assessment of all available, relevant, and reliable evidence.

As the former leader of the Sexual Assault Unit in this office, I know that no matter how compelling the evidence may seem at first glance, sexual assault charges can be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Parties where young people become intoxicated pose particular problems. The credibility and memories of witnesses are easier to attack. Having more witnesses is not always an advantage if their recollections differ. And intoxicated people behave in ways that they ordinarily would not.

Is it sexual assault when a victim is too intoxicated to consent to sex? Yes, but we must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim was so impaired that she could not understand what she was doing. We must also prove that the defendant should have known that she was incapable of consenting. This can be very difficult when the defendant and witnesses offer competing versions of the victim’s condition.

This case fits that mold. Many of the witnesses had been drinking, some heavily, and their stories were not always consistent. But most important, the victim told investigators that she did not remember anything that happened from shortly after the time she arrived at the party. The victim would be unable to counter claims that she had consented. The trial would be fought over differing versions of the victim’s sobriety and behavior, with several witnesses and potential defendants motivated to paint her in an unfavorable light.

The result would be such a confusing and conflicting account of what happened that we would be unable to convince 12 jurors to convict. For example, the media reported that the victim vomited. But lab tests showed that the vomit did not come from her. The defense would challenge any account which depended upon the vomit to prove that the victim was too intoxicated to consent.

These cases depend upon a careful weighing of the facts. However, now that we have decided not to file charges, ethical responsibilities limit my ability to discuss all of the evidence in this case. My first duty is to the teenager, who did not choose to have her life dragged into the media. When we do not file charges, it is unfair to the victim to release details of the incident in order to justify our decision. Releasing such information would also discourage victims from reporting assaults in the future.

I must also respect our responsibility as prosecutors to the accused. As U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said after deciding not to indict Karl Rove in the Valerie Plame spy case, “we either charged someone or we don’t talk about them.” The Duke lacrosse team case shows how statements by prosecutors can damage lives even when no charges are filed.

And what of the three soccer players who witnessed men huddled around a man having sex with a teenage girl? I salute their honor and courage in intervening to rescue this girl from a horrible situation. But they only saw the last 30 to 60 seconds of a two hour party. The totality of the evidence of what happened that night would make it impossible for us to prove sexual assault charges beyond a reasonable doubt against anyone.

Unfortunately, the District Attorney’s Office receives complaints of behavior which, while abhorrent to us all, do not provide a sufficient basis for a criminal prosecution. Filing charges in such cases would be an abuse of my authority. This office will continue to aggressively protect this community from sexual predators within the confines of the law and the evidence presented. In this case, the law and the evidence made a prosecution impossible.

Finally, I appreciate the community making its voices heard, even in protest. I will continue to listen, and when appropriate, respond, to ensure that our criminal justice system remains open and transparent.

Jun. 1st, 2007

03:53 pm - Support for victim of gang rape at De Anza College

Hey there everyone,

I started this page to offer support and encouragement to the victim of gang rape at De Anza College.  This is a site for support, and organizing activism around this case.  I will be posting newspaper articles soon.   I don't know if she will ever see this, but I want to be able to express my support for her and for the case, and my disgust at the DA, as well as the rapists.  I'd also like to commend those amazing young women who rescued the victim from a room full of drunk rapist men. 

More later. 

Current Mood: angryangry