University News

Grand jury decides not to indict students accused of sexual assault

New records appear to implicate third Brown student in alleged incident

By
University News Editor
Saturday, August 30, 2014

A grand jury this week chose not to indict two Brown undergraduates accused of sexually assaulting a female Providence College student last November, news outlets reported Monday.

The two Brown students, who were both first-years at the time of the alleged incident, were asked to leave campus in late April amid an investigation by the Providence Police Department into the allegation and were later dismissed from the football team, the Providence Journal previously reported.

The decision not to indict means the Providence County grand jury heard the case but opted not to bring charges against the two Brown students.

After the grand jury’s decision, police filings on Tuesday of cellphone records and emails — obtained through a search warrant — separately implicated a third Brown student, also a member of the football team, in the alleged rape, the Journal reported Tuesday.

One of the two students previously under investigation mentioned a third student in messages to the other that read, “LML YO LIKE CLASSIC [name] THO. NO INVITE JUST WALKS IN AND STARTS RAPING HER.”

Messages among all three Brown undergraduates included discussion of the alleged assault, mockery of the PC student and a graphic photo of the PC student on top of one of them, according to the Journal.

A lawyer for one of the two Brown students under investigation told the Journal his client is innocent, citing the result of the grand jury’s deliberation. He added that the meaning of the word “raping” in the students’ message is unclear, calling it “vernacular.”

Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, told The Herald the University has no comment on the grand jury’s decision and said the University’s policy is not to discuss “individual student matters.” She did not comment on the messages the students exchanged.

University administrators became aware of the criminal investigation in February when the Providence Police received an official complaint from the PC student, also a first-year at the time, against two of the Brown students, Quinn wrote in a June email to The Herald.

“Brown has cooperated fully with law enforcement,” Quinn wrote. “The University considers first and foremost the safety and security of campus and makes decisions in a timely way based on the best information available.”

Quinn declined to comment on what possible factors or changes arose between the University’s first notification of the investigation in February and its order for the two students to leave campus in April.

The PC student said in her complaint that she met the two Brown students at Louie’s Tavern, a bar near PC’s campus that closed earlier this year following the revocation of its liquor license for serving alcohol to minors, the Journal reported.

In her report to the police, the PC student said she had known one of the Brown students since third grade. During the night of the alleged assault, she felt “drugged,” despite having had only one shot of alcohol, she said.

The PC student told police that after being brought to a taxi, she awoke next to one of the Brown students in a Brown dorm room bed. The other Brown student then allegedly asked her to perform oral sex on him, according to a police report on the incident.

The PC student reported that she left the dorm room early the following morning and then went to the hospital later that night.

PC barred the two Brown students from its campus by issuing a No Trespass order soon after the PC student filed her complaint, the Journal reported.

In May, an attorney representing one of the Brown students named in the complaint filed a countersuit in Rhode Island Superior Court against the PC student for making “false and defamatory statements” that damaged his client’s reputation, the Journal reported. The court later dismissed the countersuit.

  • Rashid Kaban

    So a Brown University male student raped a woman. Brown University expelled two other students who aided and abetted, but did not expel the rapist. Now Brown University will have to take those two back, because even though they did something criminal, they were accused of crimes that they did not commit, and they were not accused of crimes that they committed. Real smart, Brown University deans. With that kind of cooperation with law enforcement, who needs any obstruction?

    • Reality check

      So a Brown University male student raped a woman.

      they did something criminal,

      I’m not sure you know what words mean.

      There’s an old saying in the legal field that a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich if they wanted to. S/he has every advantage- no cross-examination, no exculpatory evidence, the defendant may not testify, etc.

      Failure under those circumstances to obtain an indictment can lead to only one conclusion- the evidence pointing to a crime is so scant that your assertion that a crime was committed is absurd at best.

      We don’t know that a rape happened. We don’t know there was aiding or abetting. We know nothing.

      • Alum

        Yeah, while convictions can be very difficult because of the high standard of evidence, an indictment requires even less evidence than a university disciplinary committee (probable cause vs. preponderance of evidence).

        Preponderance of evidence means that there’s a greater than 50% chance you think the charge is true. Probable cause is even less than that and the prosecution couldn’t convince a group of people that there was a 20-40% chance that these two guys raped this girl. Not fair to say they raped her.