Butler students protest handling of rape case

INDIANAPOLIS - Is Butler University doing enough to protect and support students who claim they were raped?

No, according to a group of students that gathered Thursday to demand change from campus leaders.

"Hey Butler, victim blaming is not OK!" one student chanted to a crowd of more than 70 people. "Bending over backwards to protect a rapist is despicable."

The students gathered under banners reading "I am Eliza Quincey" -- the pseudonym of a Butler student who claims she was raped in a residence hall.

Quincey says the university never forwarded her case to the prosecutor's office, despite their claims to the contrary. Then her case was thrown out due to lack of evidence, she said.

"It was thrown out. And her rape kit is M.I.A.," said students at the rally. "It's basically like it never happened."

Students said they were tired of the administration dismissing their stories as "fiction and not fact."

Butler President James Danko said he couldn't comment on the case, citing privacy laws.

"We do our best to investigate and appropriately resolve every allegation of sexual assault," Danko said.

On Thursday, Danko released a statement saying he will create a commission this summer of Butler students, faculty and staff to come up with ways to enhance the effort to stop sexual violence at the university.

Students at the rally, however, said that wasn't enough.

"The administration said that this is something that could be dealt with over the summer, which is what they said in the past," said freshman Victoria Overdorf. "Those are days left with people unprotected and without education. That's unacceptable. It has to be dealt with right now. Today."

Students brought to the rally a list of demands they plan to send to university officials, including co-ed classes on consensual and non-consensual sex for both freshman and upperclassmen.

Butler officials released the following statement:

On December 8, 2013, the Butler University Police Department was alerted to an alleged sexual assault of a female student by a male student on December 7, 2013. Butler University takes allegations of sexual assault--and all crimes--very seriously and immediately began an investigation to gather the facts, while also providing support services to the victim.

The case was investigated by a Butler University Police Department (BUPD) detective with 27 years of law enforcement experience, including more than 3 years with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Sex Crimes Unit prior to joining BUPD.

The victim was encouraged to seek medical attention and a sexual assault examination. The Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Agency, which assisted in this investigation, obtained a sexual assault medical evidence kit, which was administered by a trained medical nurse at a local Indianapolis hospital. Sexual assault evidence collection kits are never handled by BUPD or anyone at Butler University.

There has been an allegation that the sexual assault medical evidence kit has been lost; that is not the case. An audit of all cases involving BUPD shows that no kits have been "lost" and all remain in the possession of the Marion County Forensic Services Agency in secured cold storage at the IMPD property room.

Butler University is confident in the way the investigation was conducted and believes that the facts and evidence were fairly and accurately presented to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, which has declined to file charges at this time.

In addition to the criminal process, and in accordance with Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Butler University thoroughly and expeditiously investigates all reports of sexual misconduct to determine whether University policy has been violated. If, by a preponderance of the evidence, it is found that a violation of policy occurred, the University will take appropriate disciplinary action.

In the case of the reported sexual assault on December 7, 2013, I am able to confirm that the investigation and hearing are complete. The accused party is no longer a student at Butler University.

In accordance with federal law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or "FERPA"), and out of respect for the privacy of the individuals involved, Butler will not comment further on any details related to this or any other incidents.

Print this article Back to Top