Rape Survivor Advocates Express Disappointment with Plea Deal in Baylor Rape Case

"He stole my body, virginity and power over my body and you let him keep it for all eternity"

Rape survivor advocates expressed disappointment with a plea deal that allowed a former Baylor university student, accused of raping a woman at a fraternity party, to avoid jail time.

The McLennan District Attorney is defending his decision to offer the plea bargain saying it was the best possible result with the evidence they had.

For some, the case brings up the question: What does it take to prosecute these cases?

Tracking reports of sexual assault is a daily task at the Women’s Center in Fort Worth.

"Our total for 2017 was 830 times we responded to the hospital," said assistant director of research and training services Katharine Collier Esser.

Esser pointed to a board posted on the wall at the center that resembles a calendar.

Each square contains a number of times a staff member or volunteer responded to a Tarrant County hospital as rape victims who come forward undergo forensic exams.

"You can see overall there has been a trend, an increasing trend," she said comparing 2017 numbers to 2018.

Esser’s advocacy officer was brought to a standstill on Monday.

"Our reaction actually was shock," she said.

Shock after a Texas judge signed off on a plea deal where ex-Baylor University fraternity president Jacob Walter Anderson, accused of repeatedly raping a woman at a party, will avoid jail time and will not have to register as a sex offender.

Anderson agreed to plead no contest to unlawful restraint, agreed to seek counseling and will pay a $400 fine.

Had Judge Ralph Strother denied the plea deal, Anderson would have faced trial.

His victim is said to be outraged, calling McLennan County’s justice system 'broken.'

"He stole my body, virginity and power over my body and you let him keep it for all eternity," the woman said.

"It’s shocking to know that somebody who has stuck with and worked with the criminal justice system for two years, who did everything correctly," said Esser. "And that criminal justice did not prevail with offering her that justice she was seeking."

Esser reflects on the impact the case will have on other victims and stresses the need for more education for authorities tasked with reviewing cases.

"We have to be talking to judges and prosecutors and police officers about what are the effects, what does [rape] look like," said Esser. "Because there isn’t always cut-and-dry evidence as though if you’re at a robbery case and you can dust for fingerprints."

Advocates across the nation have expressed concern about what this one high profile case could have on those who have not yet come forward with their truth.

"A lot of time survivors will start to think: maybe nothing’s going to be done, so why would I come forward anyway," said Esser.

NBC 5 reached out to local prosecutors to speak, in general terms, about what it takes to prosecute rape cases and the challenges that come with the cases.

Out-going Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said in a statement:

"Sexual assault cases can be very difficult to prosecute, however we’ve got to look at each one on a case-by-case basis. We always have the rights of the victim in mind as we try to get justice for them."

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