A former fraternity president at Baylor University accused of raping a female classmate at a Phi Delta Theta party has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge as part of a plea deal that could allow him to dodge jail time and registering as a sex offender.
Jacob Walter Anderson on Monday pleaded no contest to one count of unlawful restraint, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, KWTX reported. Under the plea deal the 24-year-old would face three years of deferred probation, pay $400 fine and undergo court-mandated counseling.
The alleged victim, who is no longer a student a Baylor, told authorities she’d been at a fraternity house party the night of Feb. 21, 2016 when she handed a beverage and then urged to drink it.
“She said shortly after that she became very disoriented, was taken outside by our suspect, who is Jacob Walter Anderson and said when they got outside, Anderson forcibly sexually assaulted her,” said Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton.
According the arrest affidavit, she then lost consciousness but awoke a short time later face down on the ground. She immediately had a friend take her to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, where she underwent a sexual-assault medical exam before notifying authorities.
Anderson was arrested a month later and removed from Phi Delta Theta as president. He was indicted on four counts of sexual misconduct in May 2016 in connection with the incident.
The fraternity’s operations at Baylor University were also temporarily suspended while the University investigated the allegations of under age drinking and sexual misconduct.
The lawyer for the accuser’s family blasted the deal, expressing disbelief that it had been offered in the first place.
“I don’t get it. I just don’t get it,” attorney Vic Feazell told CBS News. “It sends a really bad message at this time to women who are thinking about reporting sexual abuse form the past.”
Feazell continued: “He’s a good looking young man, he’s from a very wealthy Dallas family, he’s from a fraternity. So what? That doesn’t give him a free pass.”
Following a pre-sentence investigation, which will take about six weeks to complete, a judge will decide Anderson’s final sentence. Should the plea deal be rejected, the case will go to trial.
The McLennan County District Attorney’s Office in a statement to KWTX defended the deal and dismissed allegations of leniency.
“The McLennan County District Attorney’s office is known throughout the state for our aggressive prosecution of sexual assault cases, to say otherwise is simply absurd,” District Attorney Abel Reyna said.
“Let us remind everyone that our oath is to seek justice. In pursuit of that ideal, we must evaluate each case alone and on its own merit. this office stands by the plea offered and believes we have achieved the best possible result.”
Several students at Baylor, a Christian university in Waco, have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct — many of them raised against football players — since 21012. An independent investigation in 2016 revealed the school did not properly handle the assault accusations, prompting the dismissal of of its president Ken Starr. And Baylor earlier this month received a formal notice of allegations from the NCAA amid its ongoing sexual assault scandal.
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