Jacob Anderson, a former Baylor University fraternity president who was indicted on sexual assault charges in 2016, pleaded no contest Monday to a lesser charge of unlawful restraint in a deal that would allow him to avoid prison, the McLennan District Attorney’s Office said.
The president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Baylor University is accused of drugging and raping a fellow Baylor University student on Feb. 21, 2016.
On Monday, Anderson was sentenced to three years unadjudicated probation and will not have to register as a sex offender, the district attorney’s office said. He will also face a $400 fine and will be required to seek counseling. Unlawful restraint is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
According to Anderson’s arrest warrant, the victim accepted a drink of punch at a party held at the frat house.
“She became disoriented and felt very confused and was led by a person she met there at the party,” according to court records.
Waco police Sgt. Patrick Swanton said that Anderson led the woman to the backyard where nobody was allowed. Swanton said the victim reported that Anderson took her behind a barn area in the yard and raped her.
According to the warrant, the victim told police that Anderson repeatedly assaulted her until she blacked out. When the woman woke up she vomited on herself, then found a friend at the party who took her to Baylor Scott & White, investigators said. The victim received a sexual assault medical exam, police said.
Anderson was later arrested and indicted.
Abelino “Abel” Reyna with the McLennan County Criminal District Attorney’s Office released the following statement:
“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. Let us remind everyone that our oath is to seek Justice. In pursuit of that ideal, we must evaluate each case alone on its own merit. Early in this case, law enforcement believed that the victim may have been drugged and this belief has been widely disseminated in the media; however, the evidence did not support that theory. This office stands by the plea offered and believes we have achieved the best result possible with the evidence at hand.“
The alleged victim and her parents have condemned the plea agreement and have urged 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother to reject it.
The Waco Tribune-Herald notes:
Strother ordered a presentence investigation by the probation department and will schedule a sentencing hearing for Anderson in about six weeks. That could change if the judge rejects the plea bargain after reviewing the report. If he does, Anderson could withdraw his no-contest plea and a trial likely would be scheduled.
The victim’s family released the following statement:
“Just when you think the Baylor rape scandal can’t get any worse, today the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office is allowing a man (former student) indicted by a grand jury on four counts of sexual assault (rape) to plea to unlawful restraint in return for dropping all sexual assault charges! This is an absolute travesty.
“By agreeing to this plea, Hilary Laborde and the McLennan County DA office have allowed that rape is no longer a crime in Texas. They are telling the rapists and sexual predators, ‘Go ahead and violently rape, choke to near death and abandon your unconscious, ravaged and used up victim and we will make darn sure you get some counseling. Even if a grand jury indicts you on four counts of sexual assault, we don’t care. Oh and all you rape victims, don’t bother to report it, because we will put you through hell for years, make promises about getting a conviction and lie to you about not accepting a plea the whole time. We will give your rapist counseling and drop all charges and let him go free! We don’t care about justice and we don’t care about you.’
‘We hear time and time again from people that the victims need to report their rape and go to the proper authorities and get convictions or we will just keep allowing rapists to go free and there will never be any justice. ‘Well, this victim did all that! She has had tremendous courage! She immediately went to the hospital. She immediately had a Sexual Assault Nurse Exam (SANE) to verify the rape. She immediately reported it to the police and many other authorities. An investigation was done and the assailant was arrested and indicted on four counts of sexual assault by a grand jury. This victim was told there were enormous amounts of evidence and a conviction was almost sure. And now two and half years later after living through hell, having the trial delayed a week before it was to occur and then never rescheduled, the DA has decided not to bother even trying to get justice.
‘We cannot even imagine what is going on in that DA office. Hilary told us she does not think a jury in Waco is ready to convict someone if this was only his first rape.
“’I have had success in trying college-aged defendants yes, but in retrospect, ONLY when they have multiple victims.’
‘In a prior loss of a case with completely different facts she told us, ‘In short, I think this jury was looking for any excuse not to find an innocent looking young defendant guilty. They engaged in a lot of victim blaming.’”