A former fraternity president at Baylor University who was accused of raping a female student in 2016 will avoid jail time and will not have to register as a sex offender, under a plea deal approved on Monday in Waco, Tex.
The agreement, which has roiled Waco and drawn howls of outrage nationally, calls for the accused man, Jacob Anderson, 23, to serve three years of probation, pay a $400 fine and attend counseling; he could eventually have the conviction cleared from his record.
Mr. Anderson pleaded no contest to felony unlawful restraint in return for the dismissal of four counts of sexual assault, which in Texas would be punishable by two to 20 years in prison.
The plea deal, approved by Judge Ralph Strother on Monday, was disclosed in October, and prompted an online petition signed by about 90,000 people urging its rejection.
The victim was a 19-year-old sophomore at Baylor in 2016, when she said that Mr. Anderson sexually assaulted her at a fraternity party and then left her, one of her lawyers said, “to die face down in her own vomit.”
According to The Lariat, the Baylor campus newspaper, the woman took the stand Monday and told the judge she was “devastated” by his decision to accept the plea deal instead of sending the case to trial.
“He stole things from me, and I will never be the same,” the woman said of Mr. Anderson, describing being taken to a secluded area, choked, and raped repeatedly.
In a victim impact statement she submitted to the court, she said she feared that Mr. Anderson could attack again.
“What will they tell the next victim when she questions why she did not know Jacob Anderson was a sex offender?” the woman wrote in her statement, according to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “How does she think the girls in his current college classes feel, knowing they could have been his next victim? I am writing this letter to hold the D.A. accountable to do their job and seek justice. To hold Jacob Anderson accountable for his crimes. He raped me. He almost killed me.”
After the plea deal was approved, one of the prosecutors handling the case, Hilary LaBorde, issued a statement defending it, saying the case was not as simple as it appeared, and that if it had gone to trial, there was a real possibility that Mr. Anderson would be acquitted.
“Conflicting evidence and statements exist in this case, making the original allegation difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Ms. LaBorde’s statement said, according to The Star-Telegram. “As a prosecutor, my goal is no more victims. I believe that is best accomplished when there is a consequence rather than an acquittal. This offender is now on felony probation and will receive sex offender treatment, a result which was not guaranteed, nor likely, had we gone to trial.”
“Given the claims made publicly, I understand why people are upset,” Ms. LaBorde wrote. “However, all of the facts must be considered, and there are many facts that the public does not have.”